Monday, August 20, 2012

Turtles, Snakes, and Eagles, Oh My!

"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." - Aristotle

Ever wanted to see just how big some of our local snakes are? Or see our national bird in its natural environment? Or learn about Native Americans who once lived in our area? There is so much to learn within the walls of the Monmouth County Park System's two environmental centers.

Huber Woods Environmental Center

Huber Woods Environmental Center

25 Brown's Dock Road, Locust
(732) 872-2670
Hours: Weekdays from 10am-4pm; Weekends from 10am-5pm

Once the estate of Hans and Catherine Huber, the Huber Woods Environmental Center overlooks the beautiful hills and meadows of Huber Woods Park. It is a place for visitors to come and explore the wonders of nature through hands-on displays featuring plants and animals, programs offered throughout the year, and educational activities offered for schools and community groups.

The most unique display at the Huber Woods Environmental Center teaches visitors about the Native Americans that once lived in our area. Learn more about Native Americans through trying instruments, viewing recordings of dancing and singing, trying your hands at basket weaving, playing games, and discovering archaeology that has brought their past into our present.

Huber Woods Environmental Center Hands-On Exhibits
Nature takes center stage with kids as they learn more about the environment at the Junior Naturalist Station. And the most popular exhibit at the Huber Woods Environmental Center? The reptile house where live turtles and snakes await our visitors to give them an up close and personal chance to experience these wonderful creatures.

Plus, don't miss out on a great opportunity to discover nature as a family. Borrow one of our Safari Backpacks for a day of discovery. Each backpack contains all you need to make your self-guided nature walk filled with adventure and exploration. Visitors can pick one of the following packs: Pre-K, Forest, Meadow, or Pond. Use of the backpacks are free, but a valid NJ drivers license must be left with the docent before heading out for adventure.

Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center

Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center

331 Georgia Tavern Road, Howell
(732) 751-9453
Hours: 10am-4:30pm (open on Fridays until 8:30pm from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend)

One of our most popular locations, the Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center is dedicated to teaching visitors about wetlands ecology and wildlife and habitat protection. Through interactive exhibits, multi-media presentations, educational activities for schools and community groups, and wildlife observation areas, visitors gain an understanding of the importance of water in our world.

Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center Exhibit
Each exhibit in the Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center shows the connect of water into our lives. One exhibit features fish found in the Reservoir right outside. Another traces the journey of a raindrop as it travels through the watershed to the Manasquan River and, eventually, to the ocean. Some exhibits reveal what is not readily visible, such as nocturnal animals that call the Reservoir home. And another compares the effects of a town with unmanaged growth to one that has chosen to protect the environment.

This location is also well-known for the chance to take a glimpse at the Reservoir's resident Bald Eagles. From a television set up in the hallway, visitors can view exactly what's happening in the nest right at that moment. You may even get a glimpse of newly hatched babies depending on the time of year (normally sometime toward the end of April or early May).

There's always something happening at the Manasquan Reservoir! Be sure to check out the many programs held at this location as well as frequent weekend drop-in programs that are great for families!

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