click for contact information and hours of operation


seasonal feature

New Butterfly Garden
Trailside's New Butterfly Garden

All the plants in this garden have been selected to provide a food source for butterflies and caterpillars.

Attracting butterflies involves using plants that serve the needs of all life stages of the butterfly.

The insects need places to lay eggs, food plants for caterpillars, a place for the chrysalis to form and nectar sources for adults.  Additional information on butterfly gardening can be found in the Visitor Center. View more photos.

upcomnig event

Rock, Gem & Jewelry Show
Saturday & Sunday, November 7th & 8th, 12:00pm – 5:00 pm | Rain or Shine

Explore the fascinating world of rocks, minerals, fossils and gems at Trailside Nature & Science Center. This event will host more than 20 vendors selling minerals, rocks, gemstones, jewelry, sea shells and fossils from around the world. Geologists young and old will be mesmerized by the variety of specimens on display and for sale. Children’s activities will include fossil rubbings, puzzles and a touch table. Admission is free.

about trailside

Trailside Nature & Science Center is Union County’s Environmental Education Center, located in the Watchung Reservation, a 2,065-acre preserve containing woodlands, fields, lakes, streams and more than 13 miles of hiking trails.

This serene setting provides the perfect classroom to have fun while learning about the natural world. Renovated in September 2006, the Center houses 4,500 square feet of interactive, state-of-the art exhibits, including a towering 34-foot American beech tree exhibit that fills the building’s atrium.

This jewel, secluded in the Watchungs, also features classrooms that look out on the Reservation, a multipurpose room, a library, children’s discovery room and a 250-seat auditorium.


452 New Providence Road, Mountainside, NJ  |  908-789-3670  |  Map


Noon to 5 p.m.; Seven Days a Week

Thanksgiving, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day, New Years Eve/Day, Fourth of July and Easter

find us

Enter your starting address: