Friday, August 25, 2017

Special Rooms at Huber Woods Environmental Center

The Environmental Center at Huber Woods Park has a lot to offer park visitors. You can stop in to learn about and explore the building itself, which was once home to the Huber family, or enjoy family-fun in special activity rooms.

The Forest Room is painted to resemble many layers of life in the forest, from birds in the treetops to the underground tunnels of moles. Challenge yourself to find all the painted animals (ask the docent for a copy of the forest room wall guide). There are books, puzzles, toys and costumes for kids; live toads and turtles in tanks along the walls; and a large bay window for bird-watching.
The Lenape Room features exhibits dedicated to the history, life and culture of the Lenape, a Native American tribe which lived in areas of Monmouth County. There are activities such as basket weaving, a junior archaeologist's station, a revolving maize game, and a place to listen to recordings of Native American musicians and dancers. When the kids need a quiet moment to relax, the Lenape room has a small alcove painted to resemble the inside of an Indian longhouse. Here, you can sit and read one of the many books about Native Americans that are shelved throughout the room.

Looking to explore the park on your visit as well? As the docent to borrow one of our Safari Backpacks. Each backpack contains all you need to make your self-guided nature walk filled with adventure and exploration. Backpacks offer themes for Pre-K, Forest, or Meadow. Use of the backpack is free, but you must leave a valid NJ drivers license with the docent.

The Huber Woods Environmental Center is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekends. For more details about the facility, visit our website.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Picturesque Views and Plentiful Fish

The fishing pier pictured above is located at the Monmouth County Park System's Bayshore Waterfront Park in Port Monmouth, which is only a 20 minute drive up Highway 36 from Sandy Hook. Many visitors to this picturesque park located along Sandy Hook Bay come to fish, relax and take in the panoramic view of the New York City skyline. Here are a few interesting facts you may not know:
  • The pier was rebuilt in 2013 following Hurricane Sandy. Formerly 300 feet, it now reaches almost 500 feet into Raritan Bay.
  • Anglers catch striped bass in the spring and fall. In the summer, bluefish and summer flounder are common.
  • Bait cutting platforms are available and there are cutouts along the pier for handicap access. 
  • During the day you can see directly across the bay to Manhattan. On your left, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island to the city. On your right is Sandy Hook. At night, the skyline is spectacularly lit, reflecting beautifully off the water.
  • The pier allows access to both sides of the beach and is open all year round during park hours (7 a.m. to dusk; see our website for exact hours). 
Anglers age 16 and up, be sure to register online with the NJ Saltwater Angler Registry (free), and please adhere to posted catch and size limits.

For more information about Bayshore Waterfront Park, visit us online

Friday, August 4, 2017

Visit the Huber Woods Reptile House Before Renovations Begin

The Monmouth County Park System has more than 40 parks for the public to enjoy, yet Huber Woods Park in Middletown is the only one with a reptile house. Visitors can get an up close view of our resident snakes, turtles, frogs and more, all native to Monmouth County. Here’s an introduction to some of our reptilian and amphibian friends on display.
    Eastern Box Turtle
  • Eastern box turtles have hinged shells so they can pull their bodies into their shells and close them completely as protection from predators such as foxes, birds, raccoons and other mammals. Next time you visit the reptile house, look for our Eastern box turtle ‘Scooter’.
  • Corn snakes (also called rat snakes) and king snakes are non-venomous constrictors that like to eat rodents, birds, lizards and eggs. In the wild, corn and king snakes can be found in grassy fields, forests and barns. 
  • Green Frog
  • Amphibious green frogs spend most of their lives in water, such as freshwater streams, brooks, ponds and swamps. Although they will come to relax upon the shore every now and then, they prefer a nice swim. Our green frog at Huber Woods is always splashing around!
The Reptile House at Huber Woods Park is free and open to the public from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on weekdays and until 5 p.m. on weekends. Be sure to visit soon, renovation is scheduled to begin in September which will close the building for approximately 6-8 months. (During that time, visitors may wish to visit the live reptiles and amphibians on display at the Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center in Howell).

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Here Comes the Fair!

Whether it's a family tradition or your first time visiting, the Monmouth County Fair is filled with fun for every age. Held on Wednesday-Sunday, July 26-30 at East Freehold Showgrounds in Freehold, this is a highly anticipated County event. With thrilling rides, exciting entertainment, delicious food, and more, you won't want to miss this annual agricultural Fair.

Thrilling Rides
This year's rides are once again provided by Reithoffer Shows. Two rides areas will once again be available, one for smaller children's rides and another for the thrill seekers in your family. This year wristbands will be available every night at a cost of $25 on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and $30 on Friday and Saturday. Single ride tickets will also be available for purchase. Ride wristbands are also available for early-bird purchase on the Reithoffer website for $25 each.

There's so much to experience when you visit the Monmouth County Fair. Returning Fair favorites include Robinson's Racing Pigs, Bwana Jim Wildlife Show, Mutts Gone Nuts and Hell on Wheels - BMX Stunt Show. Newcomers World of Wonders & Escape Explosions will bring the thrills of sword swallowing, knife throwing, fire eaters, escape artists and more.

Local Artist Nicole Atkins
And you certainly don't want to miss the musical entertainment hitting our Main Stage. The Moroccan Sheepherders kick things off on Wednesday night, performing a mix of classic rock covers and original music at 8:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. On Thursday night experience the indie folk band Jackson Pines, led by singer-songwriter Joe Makoviecki, at 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The young musicians from Lakehouse Music Acadmeny will astound as they hit the stage on Friday at 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday night will get your feet moving as local artist Nicole Atkins brings a blend of orchestrated pop and modern indie-rock at 8:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. And The Chuck Lambert Band will bring the Fair to a close on Sunday with their eclectic blues sounds at 12 p.m. and 1:45 p.m.

FFA Farm Stand Featuring Jersey Fresh Produce
From shopping to eating, there are plenty of vendors to visit during the Monmouth County Fair. Some of this year's vendors include Country Candles, Kitchen Magic, Pete Airbrush, Scentsy, Tastefully Simple, The Tooth Fairy, and so many more. Be sure not to miss the Made in Monmouth booth where you'll find a variety of goods while supporting local Monmouth County businesses. And if you're craving Jersey Fresh fruits and veggies, be sure to stop by the FFA Farm Stand to purchase some of the freshest, local produce in the area. Plus, if you need a bite to eat, there will be more than 25 food vendors to choose from, including Empanada Guy, Delicious Orchards, Sweet Carolina BBQ, Tasty Trolley, and Freehold Jersey Freeze.

So Much More
Home & Garden Competitions & Exhibits
There are countless things to see and do while visiting this year's Monmouth County Fair. Other highlights include a variety of Monmouth County 4-H exhibits and events such as animal shows, contests, demonstrations, and entertainment. The Home & Garden Tent features entries in a variety of competitions from photography to painting, fruits and vegetables to baking, and so more, plus daily demonstrations that may spark your interest in learning something new.

The Monmouth County Park System tent will feature a "Land Escapes" theme while the Living History Tent will transport you to the late 1800s with butter making demonstrations, cow milking demonstrations, music from yesteryear and more.

The only way to experience all the excitement is to join us in the fun. The Fair gates will be open from 5-11 p.m. on Wednesday-Friday, July 26-28; 3-11 p.m. on Saturday, July 29; and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday, July 30. Cost to enter is $8 per person; children 12 and under enter for free.

For more information on the Monmouth County Fair, visit our website.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Pergola "Echo" at Deep Cut Gardens

Beneath the Pergola at Deep Cut Gardens
At the far end of Deep Cut Garden’s parterre (rose garden) stands an elegant pergola. Pergolas, like gazebos, are outdoor structures used for entertainment or leisure. They are typically square or rectangular, although the one at Deep Cut is round. 

Built in 1935 by then-owner Vito Genovese, the pergola and parterre are fashioned in a style evocative of Genovese’s native Italy. Both are constructed out of local peanut stone.

The atypical shape and local stone make this pergola a special place in our parks, but it has another unique feature: an echo! If you stand in the center of the pergola, directly underneath where the crossbeams of the roof meet, you can hear an echo of your voice. You may have to adjust your feet if your first attempt is unsuccessful. Only when you are perfectly positioned in the center of the pergola will this trick work. But here’s the catch: No one else in the pergola will be able to hear the echo. Next time you visit the park with a friend or a group, try it for yourself.

For more information about beautiful Deep Cut Gardens, located on Red Hill Road in Middletown, visit our website

Deep Cut Gardens in Middletown