Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Coming Soon: 2014 Summer Program Directory

2014 Summer Program Directory
Summer is in the air as the Monmouth County Park System plans to release this year's Summer Program Directory. Are you ready to start planning your summer with fun, exciting activities in the parks? This summer's Program Directory is filled to the brim with park information, special events, terrific programs and so much more. When you browse the summer issue, be sure to check out some of the following.
  • Park System Spotlight: Do you love the beauty of the beach? Learn more about Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, Long Branch, in this two-page informational article.
  • Summer Facility Profiles: Never been to one of our environmental centers? Discover what the Huber Woods and Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Centers have to offer.
  • Special Events: When the weather is warm the parks have so much to offer! Here are just a few of the events you can learn more about in the Summer Program Directory:
    • Monmouth County Fair  - This year's Fair is quickly approaching on Wednesday-Sunday, July 23-27, and is packed with entertainment, animal shows, amusement rides, tasty food, vendors, and so much more!
    • Eco Elephant Family Flea Market - Looking to sell items you no longer use? Get a table and earn some money as our visitors shop 'til they drop on Saturday, June 21 and Saturday, August 23.
    • Fishing Derbies - One fishing derby isn't enough! So we're doing three! The 2nd Annual Freshwater Fishing Derby takes place at the Manasquan Reservoir, Howell, on Saturday, June 14 and then at Turkey Swamp Park on Sunday, June 15. Plus, if you enjoy surf fishing, don't miss our first ever Bayshore Saltwater Fishing Derby at Bayshore Waterfront Park on Saturday, August 30.
    • Deep Cut Gardens Open House - Learn more about this beautiful 54-acre site with free guided tours, lectures, activities, demonstrations and horticultural advice on Sunday, June 8.
    • Second Annual Sweet Corn Festival - There's nothing better than locally grown, sweet New Jersey corn in the summertime! This festival held at Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold on Saturday, August 16, offers live music, children's crafts and activities, our 25' rock climbing wall and of course delicious sweet corn.
  • Family Campfires: Bring the entire family and spend an evening under the stars. On page 6 you'll find a full listing of campfires held at Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold that offer fun for everyone. The selection includes Are We There Yeti?, Touch-A-Truck at the Campfire!, Create Your Own Concert and more.
  • Adult Programs: Learn something new this summer, or refine your skills in a favorite hobby. From arts & crafts to horticulture to sports & fitness and more, the adults section of this year's Summer Program Directory offers something for everyone. Constant favorites are joined this summer by new programs that include Clay Handbuilding Techniques, Paella Outdoors, Gardening for Butterflies and Other Pollinators, Kayak Birding Expedition, Fat Loss Boot Camp and more!
  • Equestrian Programs: If you love horses, these programs are for you! And don't miss this year's  Student Horse Show featuring our Special People United to Ride (SPUR) equestrians showcasing their talents on Saturday, June 7.
  • Family Programs: Ready to spend some time together as a family? We want to make that time even more special by offering exciting programs like Mess Fest!, Boat and Breakfast, Micro-Safari, Summer Beach Luau Blast and more! 
  • Golf Programs: Looking to learn a new sport? Golf is a fun, popular sport that is easy to learn with the help of the Monmouth County Park System. Beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons are offered for ages 6-adult as well as a variety of clinics and other programs. If you're already an avid golfer, don't miss out on the Park System's summer tournaments; information can be found here.
  • Historic Programs: If you've never been to Historic Longstreet Farm in Holmdel or Historic Walnford in Upper Freehold, we've got some additional reasons to get you there this summer. Historic Longstreet Farm offers a view into the past with free drop-in programs such as Blacksmith Demonstrations, an Independence Day Celebration, and the Potato Harvest. This summer Historic Walnford is offering an array of free drop-ins which include Antique Autos, Roots of Rootbeer, and the returning Sweet Corn Festival to name a few.
  • Kids & Teens Programs: Is your child looking for something new and exciting to experience? We've got plenty of options both you and your children will love! Kids can improve drawing skills with Drawing Intensive, use science and technology during Engineering for Kids, enjoy fitness and fun with Circus Skills Camp, and so much more! Still on the look out for a terrific summer camp for your child? A variety of camps are still available; click here to find and register for summer camps.
  • Parent & Child Programs: Why not learn something new...together! You and your child can enjoy creation OR recreation. Create beautiful ceramic art during Ceramic Family Fun; decorate tea cups and enjoy the outdoors with Tea for Two; or play in the dark during Glo in the Dark Sports Campfire.
  • Special Needs Programs: At the Park System we work hard to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities to participate in Park System programs with their non-disabled peers. Special Needs programs are also offered that bring together special needs children and young adults like Introduction to Golf, Recreational Swim, and Teen Scene. For additional information on programs for those with special needs or on our inclusion services, please email Lauren.
  • Trips: Let's go somewhere new! We're ready to hit the road with a variety of day trips and overnight excursions. Just a few of these locations include Historic Philadelphia, Untermyer Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, and Washington DC. The Park System makes it easy to enjoy a journey to somewhere new.
The above are just some of the fun you can look forward to in this year's Summer Program Directory.  Available this Friday, May 2, you can get your issue by mail, by visiting one of the Park System parks, or view it online. If you're not already on our mailing list, you can join by filling out our Program Directory Request form. Summer program registration begins at 8am on Wednesday, May 7.

See you in the parks!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Earth Day in the Parks

On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated by over 20 million Americans. Today, more than one billion people around the world participate in various Earth Day activities. At the Park System, we believe in the importance of giving residents the opportunity to educate themselves about the environment, nature and the significance of the world around us through exhibits and programs at the Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, Howell, and the Huber Woods Environmental Center, Middletown. But, for Earth Day, we kick things up a notch by offering a variety of free events that are educational and fun for the entire family. Join us for some or all of the following events:

Saturday, April 26
Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, Howell
  • Activities: Pond Study, Pollinator Flower - Find the Scent, and Butterfly Lifecycle
  • Crafts: Grass heads (subject to change), Butterfly Craft, and Pollinator Craft
  • Outdoor Fun: Animal Shows at 12pm, 2pm & 4pm; Pollinator Talk at 1pm & 3pm; Short Eco-Boat Tours
  • Exhibitors: AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador, 4-H Reptile Club, Monmouth County Master Gardeners, New Jersey Water Association, Monmouth County Audubon, Monmouth County Health Department, and New Jersey Mycological Association

Sunday, April 27
  • Celebrate the Shore
    Bayshore Waterfront Park Activity Center, Port Monmouth   
    Discover cool coastal animals such as whales, dolphins, crabs, and even tiny plankton during this interactive show and tell program. Tours will be given of the historic Seabrook-Wilson House, which dates back to the early 1700s. Tours will begin at 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.
  • Spring Plant Walks
    Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown  
    The flowers are back in bloom. Discover the park’s floral beauty, hidden places, and native plants. Find out how to become an earth-friendly gardener and ways to compost. Walks will begin at 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.
  • Nature Walks  
    Holmdel Park Shelter Building, Holmdel   
    Returning birds, emergent buds, and blooming wildflowers are just some of the sights we may enjoy while wandering with the Park System’s Roving Naturalist. Binoculars provided. Walks will begin at 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.
  • Bio-Blitz 2014    
    Huber Woods Environmental Center, Middletown   
    Nature fun for all ages! Nature enthusiasts big and small can take the identification challenge and hardcore naturalists can survey their own Bio-Blitz plot. Take part in a group project to catalogue nature within our park. All equipment provided.
  • Snakes & Reptiles  
    Huber Woods Environmental Center, Middletown  
    This family-oriented show gives you the chance to see live snakes and reptiles found in New Jersey. There will also be freshwater pond creatures on view and a chance to identify animal scat. Shows will begin at 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.
  • Eco-Fashion Fun!     
    Thompson Park Visitor Center, Lincroft   
    Need to spruce up an old outfit? Join us while we help people look fabulous this spring by creating eco-friendly fashion jewelry and accessories from recycled materials.
 Do you have questions about these events? Email us or visit our website for more information.

It's Time for Spring!

This morning's icy start is a reminder of how badly we're ready for spring to arrive (and to stay a while). So let's think of warmer temperatures as we take a look at some of the fun you can have in the parks this spring!
  • Camping: Whether you’re looking for a night away from home or a memorable camping 'stay-cation' with family and friends, the campgrounds at Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold are the place to be. This family-friendly campground features 64 wooded campsites (52 which can be reserved) and a long list of amenities which include electrical and water service, modern restrooms with showers and laundry areas, picnic tables, playgrounds, and much more.
  • Golf: Tee off at one of our eight beautiful golf courses at six locations! With five championship courses, two 18-hole executive courses, and a nine-hole par three course, Park System golf courses accommodate golfers of all skill levels. New to the game? Be sure to take advantage of our golf programs.
  • Playgrounds: Don't spend your days indoors, get into the swing of spring on a playground! Playgrounds provide children a place to play outside and build strong bodies and minds. The Park System offers amazing playgrounds at several parks and recreation areas throughout the county including Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook, Atlantic Highlands; Shark River Park, Wall; and Tatum Park, Middletown. And don't forget the Park System's two universally accessible playgrounds offering fun for children of all abilities: Tony's Place at Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, Long Branch and Challenger Place at Dorbrook Recreation Area, Colts Neck.
  • Fishing: Looking to drop your line and see what bites? The Park System offers a variety of serene locations for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Please Note: Freshwater anglers ages 16-69 must have a NJ State fishing license; saltwater anglers must register with the state's free saltwater fishing online registry.
  • Boating: Warm weather offers the perfect setting for time out on the water. The Manasquan Reservoir, Howell has kayaks, rowboats and electric powered rowboats available for rent. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboats can be rented at Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold. And don't miss canoe rentals on Marlu Lake in Thompson Park, Lincroft on various weekends throughout the spring/summer season. For full details and pricing information, visit our Canoe, Kayak & Boat Rental page.
  • Trails: Take in the beauty of the parks while enjoying some exercise as you walk, run or bike our trails. With over 120 miles of trails, the county parks have trails of all types, surfaces and lengths in many locations throughout the county.
  • Gardens: It's time to stop and smell the flowers! As spring chases away the colder temperatures, the flowers and trees begin to bloom once again. Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown, offers 54 acres of gardens and greenhouses that are planned as a living catalog of cultivated and native plant materials to be observed through the seasons. The beauty of the budding trees at the David C. Shaw Arboretum is a must see. Located within Holmdel Park, Holmdel, the arboretum's 22 acres contain hundreds of species, cultivars and varieties of ornamental trees and shrubs.
There's always something to do and see within your Monmouth County parks! Other ideas include strolling through our amazing historic sites (Historic Longstreet Farm and Historic Walnford); learning about nature during a Park System Naturalist led Boat Tour of the Manasquan Reservoir; dropping by Thompson Park to set out on your own geocaching adventure; or just relaxing with friends and family (or a good book) in the beauty of the outdoors.

Have questions about the parks or the activities mentioned above? Email us or check out our website for information.