Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fall Program Directory to be Released August 2!

Summer is still upon us, but autumn is slowly approaching. And this means the Park System's fall issue of the Program Directory is headed your way! We've pulled out all the stops this fall packing more than 450 exciting programs into this 88-page issue. From old favorites to new adventures, the Program Directory features arts & crafts, horticulture, nature, performing arts, sports & fitness, equestrian, and golf programs as well as plenty of fun special events.

If you're ready to try something different, this is the issue for you! With over 100 brand new programs, get ready to experience something new. Here is just a sampling of what you'll find in the fall issue of the Program Directory:
  • Fold Forming Metal: What do you get when you combine traditional metalworking techniques with origami like folding? This class will introduce you to a three-dimensional forming technique that uses a heat source to fold, shape and texture metal to create a unique cuff bracelet and earrings.
  • Investigating Paranormal Activity: Have you experienced unseen energies or odd events and don’t know how to explain their presence? Learn how to detect the signs of possible spirits and/or ghosts that might be inhabiting your home. You will be shown how to be free of these unwanted spirits to restore harmony in your life and home.
  • Gifts From the Garden: It’s time to harvest those herbs and turn them into herbal products to lavish on yourself or give as gifts. In these hands-on classes learn the techniques and make some to take home.
  • Ladies Geocaching Series: Join us for this great new way to experience your parks! Geocaching is the world-wide game of hiding and seeking hidden treasure while getting some exercise. We will use GPS (global positioning system) devices which receive signals from satellites that will guide us to hidden geocache treasures. GPS units will be supplied, but feel free to bring your own. Bring some trinkets to trade in the geocaches we find if you’d like. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy after our hike.
  • Fort Monmouth Dodgeball League/Recreation: Can your team dodge, duck, dip, and dive its way through the season to become dodgeball champions? Each team will play one match per night. Each match consists of best of 13 games and no single game can exceed five minutes. Each team will play a minimum of seven matches including playoffs. Program includes six weeks of regular season and two weeks of playoffs. No experience necessary. Team must have a minimum of six players on its roster and a minimum of two women on the court at all times. Top two teams at the end of the season will be recognized.
  • Life on the Farm - Family Day: Enjoy the experience that will take you back in time to the 1890s with your family. Begin your day with morning chores including milking the cow, caring for the farm animals and tending to crops. Prepare your dinner on a wood-burning stove while younger children play old-fashioned games. Enjoy a wagon ride before you sit down to your home cooked meal.
  • Eat the Alphabet: A fun and delicious way to learn the ABC’s. Create a healthy snack with ingredients that begin with that week’s letters. While we nosh, we’ll engage in activities that help us to learn and write them. Due to the nature of this program, special dietary requests cannot be accommodated.
  • Making Magic!: Students become practicing magicians and learn to perform stunning stage feats and dazzling close-up innovations! Each trick is tailored to suit a young magician’s unique talents, because their abilities are as vast as their imaginations. All the tricks they learn are theirs to keep. A materials fee of $25 is payable to the instructor at first class. Taught by instructors from Hobby Quest of NJ.
  • Focus on Fitness & Fun!: Students can have fun, get help with their homework and hang out with friends. We begin in the gym with exercise and fitness activities to help children focus and retain information. Then we break to work on homework and art activities.
  • Messes & Masterpieces: Spark your child’s imagination while exploring colors, textures, paint, glitter, glue and more. Experience seasons and holidays together through stories, music and art. Please wear old clothes or bring a smock.
  • Myrtle Beach & Charleston, SC & Savannah, GA: This Southern hospitality tour highlights sightseeing of Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Savannah. Points of interest include visits to Broadway at the Beach, Barefoot Landing, Waterfront Tour of Savannah, shopping excursions to Myrtle Beach Factory Shops and the restored Cotton Warehouses along the Savannah Riverfront, and one evening at Medieval Times. Price includes round-trip motorcoach transportation, 6 night accommodations, admission to tours/attractions, 6 breakfasts, 4 dinners, taxes, meal gratuities, and Park System volunteer leader. Please Note: There may be some free time for additional sightseeing and meals.
  • Sherlock Holmes Weekend - Cape May, NJ: This Sherlock Holmes themed getaway is set in beautiful Victorian Cape May. Highlights include a chance to solve the mystery of Sherlock Holmes and the Case of Anima Oris, a coffee and dessert reception at the Rose Room at the Inn of Cape May, a meet and greet lunch with Dr. John Watson and Mr. Sherlock Holmes, a self-guided walking tour of area Bed & Breakfast Inns to find clues that will help in solving the mystery, and a performance of “Sherlock Holmes” at the East Lynne Theater Company in the evening. Price includes lodging, round-trip motorcoach transportation, 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners, tours and attractions, meal gratuities and Park System volunteer leader.
This was just a very small taste of the programs the Park System is offering this fall. The Program Directory will be mailed out, available in most County parks, and posted on our website on Friday, August 2. If you are not currently on our mailing list, be sure to call 732-842-4000, ext. 4312, to receive your copy.

Monday, July 15, 2013

39th Annual Monmouth County Fair - July 24-28

There is something magical about entering the Fair gates every summer. The aroma of salty popcorn and sweet funnel cake wafting through the air. The contagious laughter echoing from both young and old as they play games and enjoy amusement rides. The applause as they experience a thrilling show or musical act. And the smiles as they discover something new under a tent.

To some the Monmouth County Fair will be a brand new adventure this year. And for others, attending the Fair is a family tradition offering new experiences to behold every visit. And there's not a doubt that whether it's your first time or your tenth, this year's Fair will offer everyone something fun, exciting, and exceptional.
  • All New Amusement Rides: This year's rides are sure to bring laughter, thrills, and excitement to all ages. Don't miss out on wristband nights! Pay just $20 per wristband (available Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday) and ride as many rides as you'd like!
  • Exciting Entertainment: Ready for some thrills? In the Adventure Zone on Wednesday-Friday you'll get your fill with exciting shows that include E3 Skateboarding Stunt Show, "Hell on Wheels" BMX Stunt Show, and Fere Motorcycle Thrill Show. But that's not all! Step back in time to the days of knights on Thursday-Sunday in Show Ring 2 where you can watch the armor clad knights of Paragon Jousting charge one another with their lances leveled.
  • Delightful Animals: What would an agricultural fair be without animals? Be sure to stop by the 4-H tent to view all of their beautiful animals, from rabbits to goats and roosters to horses. Bwana Jim's Wildlife Show is always a hit for all ages, exhibiting a wide variety of animals including snakes, alligators, owls, and hawks. Stop by Show Ring 1 to check out the Racing Pigs Wednesday-Sunday as well as Sheep Herding Demonstrations Thursday-Sunday. On Saturday pet lovers won't want to miss Pet Zone where you can meet some of the horses of Sunnyside Recreation Area, watch the County Sheriff K-9 Unit Demonstration or Kountry K-9 Show, learn about Seeing Eye Puppy Training, and much more!
  • Jersey Grown Produce: Veggies and fruits and flowers, oh my! Ask any New Jersey native and they'll tell you, there's nothing better than fresh, locally grown Jersey produce! All new this year, the Monmouth County chapter of Future Farmers of America will host a farm stand offering fresh vegetables, fruits, and cut flowers for sale at the Agriculture Tent. They'll also have antique tractors on display and a fun, veggie themed mini-golf game for kids.
  • Plants, Artwork, Crafts & More: If you appreciate gardening, art, or a variety of crafts, be sure to stop by the Home & Garden Tent. Entries to our Home & Garden competitions will be on display as well as demonstrations that include pottery, egg carving, quilting, canning, decorative painting, rug hooking, and more. A schedule of demonstrations and exhibitors can be found in the Fair Schedule Brochure. Interested in entering an item in one of our competitions? Check out the Home & Garden Competition Brochure for details.
  • Learn More About Your Parks: Visit the Park System tent to learn about fun in the parks off the beaten path. Visit the Living History Tent for a step back in time with demonstrations such as butter making, embroidery, knitting, woodworking, and more.
  • Rev Your Engines: The Auto Zone is the place to be on Sunday! You'll get the opportunity to view amazing cars and trucks ranging from antique autos to race cars. Children can get in on some racing action with the Pinewood Derby (buy your derby car in advance at any hobby store or pay $5 at the Monmouth Council Boy Scouts Fair booth). Free kids races and an obstacle course will also be available.
  • Move to the Music: There's nothing better than adding some dancing to your evening. This year's Fair is jam packed with amazing musical acts:
    • Wednesday at 8:15pm & 9:30pm - The Benjamins
    • Thursday at 8:30pm & 9:30pm - Brian Kirk and the Jirks
    • Friday at 8:30pm & 9:30pm - Amish Outlaws
    • Saturday at 8pm & 9pm - DaddyPop
    • Sunday at 12pm & 1:30pm - 1910 Fruit Gum Company
These are just SOME of the exciting things you can include in your visit to this year's Monmouth County Fair. There will also be Opening Night Fireworks (weather permitting), Touch-A-Truck, delicious food, firefighter competition, the Nature Zone, and so much more! Check out our full schedule to plan your visit.

The Monmouth County Fair will take place Wednesday-Sunday, July 24-28 during the following hours: Wednesday-Saturday from 5-11pm and Sunday from 11am-6pm. Tickets are $7 per person; children 12 and under enter free. Seniors and active military members enter free on Sunday, July 28. The Monmouth County Fair is organized and presented by the Monmouth County Park System in cooperation with the Monmouth County 4-H Association. For additional information, visit www.monmouthcountyfair.com or call 732-842-4000, ext. 4312.

Be sure to visit our Facebook page this week and click "Fair Trivia Contest" for your chance to win a Fair prize package. Contest ends July 18, 2013. (You must "like" our page to enter; contest not available on smart phone devices.)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fun and Safe Holiday Weekend!

With the Independence Day holiday weekend at our door, everyone is looking to enjoy outdoor fun with family and friends. But it's important with the summer heat and humidity to keep everyone healthy and safe no matter where you're headed. Here are some important tips to keep in mind this upcoming beautiful weekend:
  • Protect your skin. The summer sun may make it a great time to enjoy swimming, the beach, and other outdoor fun, but protecting yourself from the damage the sun's rays can cause is extremely important.
    • It is recommended to use a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15 and one that clearly says on the label that it is "broad spectrum" and protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to apply sunscreen every 2-3 hours, especially after swimming or if you're sweating a lot.
    • And don't forget your lips, they're sensitive too! Lip balms or creams with SPF should be used as well.
    • Protect your head, neck, ears, eyes and scalp by using a hat with a wide brim.
    • Sunglasses with UV ray protection can prevent eye damage from the sun that may cause cataracts.
    • A tip from WebMD - "The shadow rule: A shadow that is longer than you are means UV exposure is low; a shadow that is shorter than you are means the UV exposure is high."
  • Stay hydrated. Did you know that the average adult loses more than 10 cups of fluids each day? It's important to keep our bodies hydrated so we keep having fun all day long. 
    • Signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, headache, dizziness, weakness and muscle cramps. 
    • You can easily avoid dehydration during this summer heat by drinking plenty of fluids (especially water) and eating foods that have a high fluid content such as watermelon, grapefruit, apples, and lettuce (to name a few). 
    • Some drinks actually work as diuretics, causing your body to lose water. Avoid caffeinated beverages like soda, coffee or tea as well as alcoholic drinks while out in the hot sun.
Now that you're prepared for some fun in the sun this holiday weekend, check out some fun things to do with your Monmouth County parks:
  • Independence Day Celebration at Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel. Join the staff on July 4 from 12-3pm as we celebrate with games and contests. Free.
  • Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness at Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold. Celebrate the Fourth of July in our 1776 setting as you tour the beautiful grounds and try your hand at writing with a quill pen. Free.
  • Hit the beach at Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, Long Branch! Enjoy some fun in the sun at this popular park. Amenities include snack bar, sheltered eating areas, volleyball area, outdoor showers and changing areas, guarded swimming, designated areas for surfing, and Tony's Place (a universally accessible playground for children of all abilities). Guarded swimming hours are from 10am-5pm daily. Weekday admission fees are $7 for individuals 18 years old and over; those 17 and under are free. On weekends and holidays, the fee is $7 for individuals 13 and over; those 12 and under are free. The cost of a daily parking pass is $7. Season beach badges and parking passes are available for purchase.
  • Cool off at the Sprayground nestled within Dorbrook Recreation Area, Colts Neck. This water-enhanced playground is great for children to beat the heat and play with water. The Sprayground opens at 10am on weekends and holidays and 11am on weekdays. The Sprayground closes at 7:30pm.
  • Discover the critters that live in Sandy Hook Bay with our free Summer Seining program at Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth. From 11am-12pm every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through August 23, Park System staffers pull a seine net through the waters of the bay to allow visitors to view what's living there this summer. This program is great fun for families; no groups please. Swimming is not permitted at this beach location.
  • Relax on the calm waters of Marlu Lake this weekend! Canoe rentals will be available at Thompson Park, Lincroft, this Saturday & Sunday, July 6 & 7 from 9am-3pm. Cost is $15 per boat for 1-3 people for 2 hours. Boat rentals (fee) are also available at Manasquan Reservoir, Howell (kayaks and rowboats) as well as Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold (kayaks, canoes and paddleboats). 
These are just some of the fun things you can enjoy in your Monmouth County parks this weekend. Be sure to check out This Weekend in the Parks for additional programs and events. The staff at the Park System wishes everyone a safe and happy Independence Day and summer!