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!

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