Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Summer Directory Filled with Fun for the Whole Family!

The flowers are blooming, the temperatures are beginning to climb, and the Park System is in the midst of some amazing spring programs. But this also means that it's time to start planning for summer fun. This means checking out all of the great programs and special events we have to offer in the months of June, July and August!

With over 400 programs and special events listed in our Summer Program Directory, it may be hard to choose what to enjoy. Be sure to check out some of our brand new programs like Jump Start Your Day, Evening Kayak Paddle, Aqua Boot Camp, Dinosaurs of New Jersey, Family Adventure DayTeen Fantasy Football, Peach Festival & Sidewalk Sale and so much more! Be sure to get a spot in your favorite programs. Registration begins at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 6. Registration can be done online (24/7), by phone (732-842-4000, ext. 1, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.), in person at the Thompson Park Headquarters building (Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.), and by mail using the form on page 83.

Plus, there are tons of drop-in programs and special events happening this summer! Don't miss out on this year's Monmouth County Fair (pages 38-39)! And the Program Directory isn't just about programs anymore. Learn all about our county golf courses on pages 2-3 (plus a special coupon!), get information about summer fun at Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park on page 12, explore what the gardens have to offer at beautiful Deep Cut Gardens, and discover camping close to home at Turkey Swamp Park on page 27.

This summer, let the Monmouth County parks guide your family toward fun. It's where you want to be!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Learn Something New at the Creative Arts Center

The Creative Arts Center in Thompson Park features pottery & ceramics studios, as well as classrooms for painting, drawing, and other craft activities. At just under 12,000 square feet, the Creative Arts Center serves as an artistic outlet for county residents. Amenities include:
  • Four open studio spaces (handicap accessible)
  • Talented, highly trained instructors
  • 20 pottery wheels
  • 12 electric kilns and two Raku kilns
  • Glaze mixing facility
  • Greenware room and slip casting facility
  • Between 2,000-3,000 ceramic molds
With about 2/3 of its space devoted to pottery and ceramics, the Creative Arts Center hosts several sessions of classes each year for all levels of students.  Instructors provide guidance according to each student’s ability. Classes include Beginner’s Wheel Pottery, Open Pottery Workshop, Handbuilding, and Raku Pottery. Classes are also held in ceramics, with students choosing from an inventory of pre-cast items. Check out our pottery/ceramic classes for children and our classes for adults. Many works of art created by students and instructors can be viewed in display cases that line the entrance of the building.

Reflecting the diverse interests of county residents, the Center also offers a rich array of craft classes for adults & children as well as drawing, painting, knitting, crocheting, origami, jewelry-making, basket-making, holiday crafts, and more.Youngsters can enjoy drawing, cartooning, painting, holiday-themed programs & summer camps. Activities have also been specially designed for home-schooled children and there are also a variety of birthday parties for youngsters.

Ready to learn something new and have fun? Check out these upcoming programs happening at the Creative Arts Center:
  • Creative Clay Time on Tuesdays from April 14-May 5 for ages 4-6, with adult. You and your child will have a blast learning about ceramic arts while creating real pottery. Each week you'll work on a new work of art from clay. Pre-registration and fee required.
  • KidzArt Imagine & Explore on Thursdays from April 16-May 21 for ages 6-11. Kids who enjoy drawing will love this art class that encourages problem solving, creative thinking and self-confidence. While sharpening our drawing skills we'll also experiment with watercolor, acrylic paint, air-dry clay, and pastel. Pre-registration and fee required.
  • TeenzArt on Thursdays, April 16-May 21 for ages 12-16. Teens will enjoy challenging design projects that push their creative potential to the max during this drawing based class that also delves into watercolor, collage, pastel, and acrylic painting. Pre-registration and fee required.
  • Basic Drawing on Wednesdays, April 22-May 27 for adults. This beginners level class will teach you the primary elements of drawing through various techniques with pencil and charcoal. Pre-registration and fee required.
And don't miss out on this brand new exciting event coming this May! 
(Click on the photo for more details.)


Monday, March 23, 2015

Walk Down the Aisle in a Park

Thompson Park, Lincroft
Every couple wants their wedding to be the picture of perfection. Gorgeous attire, great weather, happy guests, and of course the perfect wedding location. Did you know that some of the most picturesque wedding ceremony locations can be found right in your Monmouth County parks?

Many of your favorite park sites are available to host your romantic day. Looking for a wedding on the sands of the Jersey Shore? Perhaps surrounded by the serenity of a wooded backdrop? Or would you prefer the backdrop of a beautiful rose garden? There's no shortage of amazing park locations for you to celebrate your very special day. From the sandy shores of Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park to the garden backdrop of Deep Cut Gardens, the Park System wants to be a part of the wedding of your dreams. Already have your wedding location picked out? Park locations are also available to use for your wedding photograph sessions as well. For more information on make the parks part of your perfect day, call 732-842-4000, ext. 4382.

Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, Long Branch
Are you currently planning your dream wedding? We want to make one couple's dreams come true this year during our "Say 'I Do' in the Parks" Facebook contest. All you have to do is submit a photo of you and your sweetheart within one of our Monmouth County parks and tell us a little about yourselves. Submissions are due by no later that 12 p.m. on Monday, April 13. Starting Tuesday, April 14, we'll let our Facebook followers choose the winner. The winning couple will receive the opportunity to host their wedding ceremony at one of our select county parks.
Last year's "Say 'I Do' in the Parks" winners

Have you enjoyed your wedding ceremony in one of our beautiful parks? Show everyone your perfect park wedding day by posting your photo on our Facebook page.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Final February Night Hike

It was February 27, the final Friday of the month and temperatures were unseasonably cold, in the 20s, with a fresh cover of snow and ice on the ground. Yet, a group of excited participants joined one of our Park System Naturalists for a lantern-lit night hike through the Rocky Point section of Hartshorne Woods Park, Highlands. The sky was clear, making it easy to spot numerous bright stars and planets. We told stories about plants and animals that call this park home. Best of all, the haunting hoot sound of a great horned owl could be heard not far from the group along the Bunker Loop trail. 

Nature walks are always popular with Park System visitors and are offered at different parks throughout the year. Check out some of our upcoming spring nature walk programs:

  • Nature Night Hike on April 3 at Holmdel Park, Holmdel, invites ages 8 and up (under 18 with adult) on a moonlit hike as we look and listen for the nocturnal animals that call the park home.
  • Evening Frog Walk on April 11 at the Manasquan Reservoir, Howell, is fun for all ages as we enjoy a nighttime hike with the sounds of frogs and other nocturnal animals around us.
  • Spring Nature Walk on April 13 at Holmdel Park, Holmdel, explores the beauty of springtime as we enjoy a little fresh air and exercise.
  • Sunset Wetland Walk: Mummichogs and Marsh Critters on April 24 at Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth, brings ages 7 and up (under 18 with adult) on a guided adventure in the wetlands near Sandy Hook Bay to check out the marsh fish (mummichogs) and look for the many migrating and resident birds.
  • Half Day Hike and Paddle on April 25 at Huber Woods Park, Middletown. Adults will love this challenging experience that combines hiking and kayaking. We'll first walk a mile through the park to Claypit Creek while discussing the plants and animals that reside in the park. Then we'll use sit-on-top kayaks to paddle the Navesink River and observe birds and other critters that depend on our local waterways.
All of the above named programs required pre-registration, so be sure to reserve your spot soon! For additional upcoming nature programs, please check out our current Spring Program Directory. And be sure not to miss out on one of our excellent (and free!) Roving Park System Naturalist nature walks which bring you to different parks to explore nature. For a list of upcoming Roving Naturalist walks, click here.

For more information about any of the Park System's parks and programs, call us at 732-842-4000, ext. 4312, or send us an email.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Our Camp/Swim Program Directory is Here!

Make the Monmouth County Park System a part of your child's summer excitement! No matter what your child's interests are, there's sure to be a summer camp that will bring them friendship and memories for years to come. Filled to the brim with a wide variety of camps, this special edition Program Directory includes offerings of arts & crafts, equestrian, living history, horticulture, nature, science, odyssey adventures, performing arts and more! Looking to keep your child safe in the water? Be sure to check out our swim lessons which are available for many different age groups and skill levels.

Need to plan your child's summer activities around a busy schedule? Be sure to check out the Camp Calendar Index at the back of the book where you'll see the camps available for each week of the summer as well as which park locations and age groups they are available for. It's never been easier to find the right camps for your family!

Registration begins at 12 p.m. on Sunday, March 8. You may register:
  • Online (24/7)
  • By phone at 732-842-4000, ext. 1; phone registration will be available on March 8 from 12-2 p.m., after that you may register by phone Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • In person starting on March 9 at the Thompson Park Headquarters building, Newman Springs Road, Lincroft on Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • By mail using the Registration Form at the back of the Program Directory
Please Note: You may register family members ONLY.

Once registered for your selected camps, make sure to fill out the appropriate camp forms which can be found on our website under Activities -> Summer Camp Forms (available after registration begins).

Don't miss your chance to give your child a summer they'll remember for years to come! Check out the Camp/Swim Program Directory today! Want a copy mailed to your home? Be sure to call 732-842-4000, ext. 4312, or email info@monmouthcountyparks.com.