Public Info

Register Online now for Fall Programs at Trailside

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Department of Parks and Recreation are pleased to announce an exciting array of fall programs being offered at Trailside Nature & Science Center. 

“Autumn is the perfect time to get outside and appreciate the colors of the season and all that nature has to offer,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen, “Trailside Nature and Science Center provides the perfect opportunity for adults and children of all ages to get outdoors in the fresh air and have fun learning about the natural world.”

Workshops are offered weekly from October through December.  Registrants sign up for the entire series or choose only the topics that interest them.  Visit to view the fall brochure and register online.

Parents with children up to age three can enjoy Toddler Time, a series of workshops that incorporate sensory hikes, stories, crafts and activities to acquaint adults and children with the natural world.  This popular series is offered weekly on Thursdays and Fridays from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Families will learn about bears, dinosaurs, owls, snowflakes and much more. 

For children, ages 3 or 4, with an adult, Trailside offers Two Of Us, an interactive program that encourages nature discovery through hikes and other indoor/outdoor activities with a parent. This program, offered on Tuesdays from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. or Wednesdays from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.  Among the many topics explored this autumn are creepy crawlies, turkeys, fall fun, discovering dinosaurs and prowling for owls. 

Small Fry DayS, a drop-off program for children ages 4-6, is designed to foster awareness and appreciation of the natural world through nature hikes, explorations and related activities.  Participants in this interesting and educational workshop series will learn how animals like chipmunks, grasshoppers and deer prepare for the winter as well as have fun searching for slugs, millipedes, beetles and other bugs under the rocks and logs of the forest.  On one of the many hikes, youngsters will search for buck rubs, animal tracks and other signs of our animal neighbors.  This program is offered on Tuesdays, from 9:45 to 11:00 a.m. or Wednesdays at 1:15 to 2:30 p.m.

Children in the 1st and 3rd grades can take part in Afterschool Explorations, a drop-off program series designed to acquaint children with nature explorations, hikes and outdoor activities.  Children involved in this workshop series meet on Thursdays at 3:30-4:45 p.m. This fall the group will have the opportunity to get their feet wet while searching for salamanders and investigating the stream for other aquatic animals. First to third graders can learn how to read a trail map and trail blazer, discover fascinating facts about the white-tailed deer and get a behind the scenes look at how the Trailside staff cares for the many fish, turtles, snakes and insects that live at Trailside.

Trailside’s fall programming begins the first week of October and continues through December 19; however, no workshops will be conducted during the Thanksgiving week.  Pre-registration is required and the fee per class is $10.00 per child for Union County residents and $12.00 per class for out-of-county residents.  For additional information about any of these children’s programs or about other upcoming programs and special events, please call 908-789-3670 or visit us on the web 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.