Special Events at Trailside

Saturday Outdoor Adventures

Families with children of all ages are invited to take part in weekly theme hikes/nature related talks. Programs last about 45 minutes. Dress appropriately for the program and the weather. For scout pro-grams, please see our group brochure. Donations appreciated. Programs meet at 2:00 p.m. at the Trailside Visitor Center

Apr. 18  Make Every Day Earth Day – We know about recycling, now learn about reducing and reusing. See how you can make a difference for the environment. Enjoy the day and enhance the park by participating in a trash pick up to beautify the Watchung Reservation. Gloves provided.

May 9 Spring Hike – Take advantage of the beauty of spring by hiking one of our nature trails. Along the way look for wildflowers, bird nests and animal babies.

May 16 Trees of Trailside – Discover the variety of trees growing in the Watchung Reservation. Find out how to use leaves, bark and branches to identify some common trees. Learn which trees Native Americans used for food, shelter and medicines.

May 23 Backyard Habitats – Discover the components of a successful backyard wildlife habitat. Take a walk to look for animals using near-by wildlife management areas and visit Trailside’s Backyard Habitat exhibit to learn simple steps to make your home more wildlife friendly.

May 30 Salamander Search – Hike to near-by wetland areas to search for these elusive amphibians under rocks and logs. Learn how to catch, identify and release northern two- lined, redback and slimy salamanders.


Dusk to Dark Evening Family Programs

Pre-registration is required, walk-ins will be accommodated as space permits. Programs are recommended for adults with children ages 5 and older. Fee: IC – $6/person, OC – $7/person

NIGHT OWLS – Friday, May 8 – 7:00 – 8:00 PM – Find out whooo is waking up as you are getting ready for sleep. Learn about the owls that inhabit New Jersey, what they eat and where they live. Practice the calls of the barred, great horned and eastern screech owls.

THE SILENT MAJORITY – MOTHS OF NJ Thursday, May 14 – 7:00-8:30 PM For adults & families with children ages 8 and older With 110,000 species of moth worldwide and approximately 2,000 in the Garden State, moths can indicate whether a habitat is healthy or compromised. Join naturalist/biologist Blaine Rothauser as he shares his extensive knowledge and enthusiasm for these winged beauties through an in-door photo-rich presentation followed by an out-door hands-on demonstration. FREE. Sponsored by the Trailside Museum Association. For information on Union County’s 11th Annual Bio-Blitz visit https://ucnj.org/bio-blitz

DUSK HIKE – Friday, May 29 – 7:30 – 8:30 PM Use your “owl eyes” to look for homes and hideouts of the local wild-life. Search for tree houses, burrows and nests as we explore fields and forests. If we’re lucky, we may see some crepuscular or nocturnal animal neighbors.


National Trails Day

June 6 Trail users across the country will be celebrating National Trails Day on June 6 and so can you! Take a guided na-ture walk along a hiking trail and/or work on a trail maintenance or repair project. A continental break-fast and beverage will be provided. Pre-registration required. To register or for more information, please email bkelly@ucnj.org. 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM. FREE.


Annual Union County Bio-Blitz

June 12-13 Beginning Friday, June 12 at 5 PM through Saturday, June 13 to 5 PM, naturalists, nature enthusiasts and scientists are invited to take part in this 24-hour survey for plants and animals living in the Watchung Reservation. The results of this study will provide a “snapshot” of the parks’ biodiversity. Enjoy FREE interactive activities, live animal and plant displays and nature-related programs. Join a team and help sample, sort and identify spe-cies. For more information or to register as a team scientist/naturalist go to: ucnj.org/bio-blitz.