Public Info

Register for Summer Camps and Family Fun at Trailside; Lottery Drawing for Registration Begins Feb. 11

Mountainside, NJ – Families enjoyed making big bubbles, little bubbles and bubble bunches at the “Bubblemania” class last year as part of Trailside Nature & Science Center’s Friday Family summer series of programs. Family and evening programs provide an excellent opportunity for parents with children of all ages to enjoy the scenic Watchung Reservation. Evening theme hikes, campfires with sing-alongs, and scavenger hunts are just a sample of the numerous activities that families can look forward to this summer at Trailside. Half and full-day camps are offered for children in the pre-first through ninth grade. Registration for residents of Union County for summer camps and family programs will be held on Saturday, March 3. In order to register, a lottery ticket must be drawn between Feb. 11-24; proof of residency is required. Please call Trailside at 908-789-3670 or visit us online at for more information.  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.


MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Department of Parks and Community Renewal are pleased to announce a new and exciting season of summer camps and family programs at Trailside Nature & Science Center in Mountainside.

“Trailside summer programs offer adults and children a great opportunity to explore the outdoors while learning about nature,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “Each Trailside camp and family program is filled with hands-on, educational activities that encourage a child’s natural curiosity. Theme hikes, games and crafts are all part of the Trailside experience.”


Due to the popularity of Trailside’s summer programs, a lottery system will be used beginning Saturday, February 11, and continuing through Friday, February 24, or until all numbers have been drawn. Union County residents may visit Trailside to draw a lottery number from noon to 5:00 p.m. daily. There are more than 500 numbers. Proof of residency, such as a driver’s license, will be required to draw a number. Only one number may be drawn per family/address.

Registrants must pick their own lottery ticket for their family and each registrant’s name, address, lottery number and arrival time will be recorded when the lottery number is chosen.  The number drawn in the lottery will indicate the registrant’s position on line and time of arrival for registration day, scheduled for Saturday, March 3.

Summer Registration will begin at 8 a.m. on March 3 for Union County residents who have drawn a lottery ticket.  Registrants must bring their ticket with them to register and must be present when their number is called or their position in line will be forfeited. Each ticket holder may only register their child/family. If a registrant arrives after their number is called, but within their designated registration hour indicated on their lottery ticket, they may register at the end of the one-hour time block. If the registrant misses their one hour time block entirely, they may return at 4:30 p.m. to register. No exceptions will be made.

Registration for out-of-county residents will begin Monday, March 5, from noon – 4:45 p.m. Lottery tickets will not be required and registration will continue until all programs are filled.

Children, ages 4-5 can investigate popular topics like dinosaurs, Native Americans, turtles, birds and kitchen chemistry in several half-day camp programs. Half and full-day camps are offered to children entering the first through ninth grades. Children entering first and second grades will delight to travel “Around the World in Five Days” to learn about wildlife inhabiting five different continents or they can use their imaginations to find out about “Mythical Creatures of Fields and Forests.”  The “Junior Naturalist “ program allows children entering the third and fourth grades an opportunity to learn about wetlands; while “Trailside Treks” will teach them to navigate the many hiking trails in the Watchung Reservation with a map and compass.

Visiting Sandy Hook to collect and identify fish, crabs, snails and other ocean creatures is a highlight of the “Ocean Wonders” camp for children entering fifth and sixth grades. Children entering seventh through ninth grades will have fun learning about various natural habitats in the Watchung Reservation in “Nature Treks.”

For a description of Trailside’s 2012 Summer Camps, including registration procedures, please call Trailside at 908-789-3670 or visit us on the web at Summer brochures and registration cards will be distributed during the February lottery. Trailside Nature & Science Center is located at 452 New Providence Road (at Coles Ave.) in Mountainside and is a service of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.


For more information on any Union County press release, please contact Sebastian D’Elia, Communications Director for the County of Union, or a designee listed at the top of this press release. Please join the County of Union online at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter at .