Public Info

Summer Camp Openings & Family Activities at Trailside Nature & Science Center

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Department of Parks and Community Renewal are pleased to announce that there are openings available for several popular summer camp programs for preschoolers and children entering 5th – 9th grades as well as for some of the educational nature-related, fun-filled family programs at Trailside Nature & Science Center in Mountainside.

“We would like to encourage children and families to participate in the exceptional programs and camp opportunities that await them at our beautiful Nature Center this summer,” said Freeholder Daniel Sullivan, liaison to the Union County Parks & Recreation Advisory Board. “Visitors have a unique opportunity to experience nature through exciting, interactive, fun activities in the beautiful Watchung Reservation.”

From July 5-8, there are several camp openings available for 4 and 5 year-olds. Each camp session, which runs from 1:15 – 3:45 p.m., will take a child’s imagination on a magical journey.

“Animal Crackers/Turtle Time” will allow children to become animal detectives. They’ll search for camouflaged critters, animal homes and foot prints, and also discover the unique adaptations turtles have that allow them to live in the woods, lakes, oceans and deserts around the world. Children will meet live turtles from Trailside’s reptile collection.

Two additional exciting camp opportunities beckon 4 and 5 year-olds: “Going Buggy/Under the Sea” and “Geotykes/Living Lenape.” These camps will introduce children to insects, oceans, the world of rocks and the Lenape Native Americans.

From August 8-12, students entering 5th and 6th grades can spend the morning learning about wildlife in “All about Animals” or the afternoon learning about our environment in “Kids for Conservation.”

“All about Animals,” which meets from 9 a.m. – 12 noon, will have students take an in-depth look into the animal kingdom. Students will meet live animals, currently in the care of the Trailside staff, including snakes, turtles, frogs and fish and take a hike to different areas of the Watchung Reservation to identify the variety of wildlife that live here.

“Kids for Conservation,” which meets from 1 – 4 p.m., will have students explore the ways that we depend on nature everyday. Students will experiment with solutions to clean up our waterways, hike to Lake Surprise to take water samples, and participate in other fun-filled activities that demonstrate the importance of conservation.

From August 1 – 5, students entering 7th – 9th grades can participate in “Nature Treks,” a full-day camp, which runs from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Through engaging activities and opportunistic hikes, participants will have fun learning how to identify trees, plants, wildlife and rocks while investigating the pristine 2,060-acre Watchung Reservation. Students will take a shuttle to seldom visited areas of the Reservation and sample wildlife around Hermits Pond, walk parts of the ten-mile Sierra Trail and visit the old pine forest.

Summer programs and activities are plentiful for families as well. “Friday Family Programs” are for all ages with an adult; however, infants should be in backpacks. From hiking, scavenger hunts, learning about the Lenape Native Americans, or taking a stroll through a stream, there is a program to suit everyone’s interest and entertain even the youngest member of the family. Friday Family Programs are available on various dates throughout the summer and run at 10:00 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. Fees do apply for all Friday Family Programs and pre-registration is required.

For information on Summer Camp or Friday Family Programs or any other upcoming events at Trailside, please call 908-789-3670 or visit us online at Nature & Science Center is located at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside and is a service of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Families and children will enjoy exceptional programs and summer camp opportunities at Trailside Nature & Science Center in Mountainside, including hikes to Lake Surprise, Hermits Pond, the Sierra Trail and other areas of the beautiful Watchung Reservation, Union County’s largest park. For information about summer camps, Friday Family Programs or other events at Trailside, please call 908-789-3670 or visit online at Trailside Nature & Science Center is located at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside and is a service of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.


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