Thursday, August 9, 2018

Family Fun in the Parks

August is Family Fun Month and your Monmouth County Park System has plenty of activities that will guarantee a great time for the whole family. The month of August typically signifies the last few weeks of summer before kids return to school. But in between the back to school shopping, families must take the time to enjoy what’s left of summer days (and nights).

It is universally known that parents encourage behaviors in their children. According to a PBS article, “Children are watching their parents’ every move, mirroring their every action; if parents are sedentary, there is a good chance their children will be too.” The article goes on to state: “However, parents who eat healthily and exercise with their children on a regular basis are teaching them many valuable lessons.”

August is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors at any of your Monmouth County parks! The temperatures are still toasty, the days are long, and the kids are ready to enjoy nature as much as they can before going back to school. So what is there for families to do when they want to break free from their routines? Go for a hike, have a picnic at the park, spend the afternoon kayaking, or ride your bikes through new scenery. Enjoy the beautiful summer weather while it lasts and go outdoors for some fresh air. You can even pick an activity and start a new family tradition. It doesn’t matter if your time together is extravagant or simple; it's all about spending quality time together and making lasting family memories. If you’re a selfie taker, use the hashtags #FamilyFunMonth and #MonmouthCountyParks to encourage others to join in the fun!

Check out these family activities that will help you celebrate Family Fun Month:

Superb Summer Saunter on Friday, August 10 from 10-11:30 a.m. With summer rearing to go, our parks are teeming with all sorts of animal and plant life. At the Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, engage your curiosity as you get some fresh air and explore the open trails with a Park System Naturalist  as your guide to teach you about the plants and critters you see along the way.

Starry Night Hike on Saturday, August 25 from 8-9 p.m. On a clear night at Freneau Woods Park get out your telescope and do a little family stargazing! Don’t have a telescope? No problem! Join our Park System Naturalists as you hike the forests, meadows and trails looking for constellations, cloud formations, moon phases, and maybe even a shooting star. You may even hear some bumps in the night, but have no’s probably just a howling coyote, hooting owl, or other nocturnal critter.

Open Shoot Archery on Sunday, August 26 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Take a shot at archery at the Thompson Park Activity Barn! Stop in during open shoot archery to improve your archery skills at our indoor range. This is not an instructional clinic and NOT designed for beginners. Open to ages 10 and up; under 18 with adult. Cost is $10 per person, cash or check only. Questions? Call 732-842-4000, ext. 4312.

Kayak Tours of Swimming River on Tuesday, August 21 from 6-7 p.m. and Wednesday, August 22 from 7-8 p.m. for ages 12 and up (under 18 with adult) at Swimming River Park. Paddle your way down Swimming River during these nature kayak tours. Novice paddlers are welcome. All equipment is provided; both single and tandem kayaks will be available. Program is limited to 12 participants; first come, first served. Cost is $20 per person, cash or check only.

Boat Tours of the Manasquan Reservoir are both fun and educational as well as a great way for families to explore local nature. These 45-minute tours are led by Park System Naturalists and offer a terrific view of the local wildlife, which may include turtles, herons, egrets and our resident Bald Eagles. Tours take place on weekends through September 3 at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. as well as on Wednesdays through August 29 at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Life jackets are required. The cost is $6 per adult and $4 per child 12 and under. Please note that tours are both weather and water level dependent. To confirm boat tour schedule, call 732-751-9453. Boats and kayaks are also available to rent at the Manasquan Reservoir for those who wish to explore on their own.

Safari Backpacks: The Park System offers Safari Backpacks at several of locations: Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown; Huber Woods Environmental Center, Middletown; and Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, Howell. Backpacks contain all your family will need to fill your self-guidance nature walk with adventure and exploration. Safari Backpacks are perfect for exploring the parks in a brand new way.

We look forward to your visit as you explore the parks together this August!