Saturday, July 9, 2016

Summer Bucket List

Summer is here and it's the perfect season to spend time together as a family, having fun and making memories you'll treasure for years to come. At the Monmouth County Park System we work hard to give local families a place to enjoy a variety of activities. Add the parks to your summer attractions with this summertime in the parks bucket list:

  1. Hit the beach! The Jersey shore is known to be a great place for summertime fun in the sun. Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park in Long Branch is the perfect sandy spot for the entire family. During the summer months, this 38-acre park offers a snack bar, sheltered eating areas, volleyball area, outdoor showers and changing areas, guarded swimming and designated areas for surfing. Plus, there's a universally accessible playground as well as a skateplex. For full details on summer park access fees, click here.
  2. Discover the creatures that live in Sandy Hook Bay during our free, drop-in Summer Seining. Held at two locations this summer, families get a hands-on glimpse at the fish, crabs and other critters that live near the edge of the bay. Seining takes place from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at Bayshore Waterfront Park through August 26. New this summer, you can also enjoy this popular free program at the Popamora Point section of the Henry Hudson Trail from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. on July 19, July 21, August 2, August 4, August 23 and August 25. 
  3. Experience the excitement of our annual Monmouth County Fair from July 27-31. The Fair features thrilling rides, animal shows & exhibits, entertainment, 4-H shows and exhibits, home & garden demonstrations and competitions, Park System displays, FFA Farm Stand, Made in Monmouth tent, musical acts, crafters and commercial vendors, delicious food and so much more! 
  4. Go on a self-guided nature adventure with our Safari Backpacks! Available at three Park System locations, this is a terrific way to explore the park. Safari Backpacks are available at the Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, Huber Woods Environmental Center and Deep Cut Gardens. Safari Backpacks are free to use, but you must leave a valid NJ driver's license with the docent.
  5. Go for a paddle! Put on your life jacket, grab some paddles, and hit the water. Boats are available at three Park System locations. At the Manasquan Reservoir you can rent a rowboat or kayak through the summer, as well as sailboats (pre-registration required). Kayaks, canoes and paddleboats are available at Turkey Swamp Park. And on select weekends visitors can rent canoes at Thompson Park; upcoming weekends include July 16 & 17 and July 30 & 31. For full details and pricing, click here
  6. Explore the nature of Fisherman's Cove Conservation Area with a Park System Naturalist on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. through August 30. During Tidal Tuesdays, families will learn exciting things about nature and our coastal habitats through exciting free activities such as meeting creatures that live in the water or creating crafts from found materials. 
  7. Experience the world of golf as you try a variety of non-traditional golf activities at Bel-Aire Golf Course. From 4-7 p.m. on July 17 and August 19, enjoy free fun during Golf Fore Fun by playing FootGolf, Snag Golf, putting games and more!
  8. Summer is the perfect time of year to spot the various types of butterflies that frequent our area. Go on a free Butterfly Walk with a Park System Naturalist to identify the butterflies found in our many fields. Click here for upcoming dates, times and locations. 
  9. Spend a night under the stars while camping at Turkey Swamp Park. With 64 campsites and three cabins, Turkey Swamp is the perfect place to enjoy a staycation the whole family will love. Campground amenities include wooded campsites, electrical service, water service, modern restrooms, fire rings for charcoal cooking and campfires, picnic tables, playgrounds and more. Make your reservation by calling 732-462-7286 after 11 a.m. daily.
  10. Step back in time with a visit to our two historic sites. Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel, is a living historical farm that allows visitors to experience life as it was in rural Monmouth County during the 1890s. Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold, is the perfect place to appreciate over 200 years of social, industrial and agricultural history as its reflected through five generations of the Waln family.
  11. Earn nature patches with our Nature Adventures Patch Collectors program. Once registered, you'll receive monthly emails (or letters) informing you of which upcoming programs you can attend and the ways to earn the eight mini patches. For full details, click here
  12. Cool off by taking a swim at the Fort Monmouth Recreation Area's large outdoor swimming pool. Open Swim times are available throughout the summer for families to come and relax; check out the July calendar. Daily rates are $7 per person or $20 per family of up to four people. Season passes are also available (click here). 
  13. Experience the beauty and nature of the Manasquan Reservoir with a Park System Naturalist led Boat Tour where you might spot turtles, egrets, herons, ospreys and perhaps a bald eagle. Cost is $6 per adult and $4 per child (12 and under). Tours are available this summer on weekends and holidays at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.; Wednesdays at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.; and on the first Friday of August and September. For full details, click here
We hope you'll join us for these great activities in the parks this summer! Of course, this is a just a short list of so many things you can enjoy in your Monmouth County parks. Tell us what your favorite activity in the parks is in the comment section below.