Public Info

Spring has Sprung at Trailside

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Department of Parks and Recreation are pleased to announce an exciting season of spring programs offered at Trailside nature and Science Center.

“Now that Spring has arrived it is time to go outside and have some fun,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “Trailside’s location in the scenic Watchung Reservation provides the perfect outdoor classroom for learning about the environment and the natural world around us.”

Register now for spring workshops on line at

Parents with children up to age three are invited to join the Toddler Time series of workshops that meet weekly on Thursdays, Fridays and now Saturdays from 10:00-11:00 a.m. These classes incorporate sensory hikes, stories, crafts and activities to acquaint adults and children with the natural world. This spring out Toddler Time families will investigate the water cycle while traveling through hands-on water stations, celebrate Earth Day by marking a craft with recycled materials, visit Australia on an imaginary journey to see koalas, kangaroos and kookaburras and 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 is offered on Tuesdays from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. or Wednesdays from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Participants can learn about the secret life of bees, investigate the life of a caterpillar and use their imagination to dive into the ocean to visit clams, sharks, clownfish and whales.

Small Fry Days, a drop-off program for children ages 4-6, is offered on Tuesdays, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. This workshop series is designed to foster an awareness and appreciation of the natural world through hikes, explorations and nature related activities. Participants in this interesting and educational workshop series will learn how and why birds build nests, find out ways to keep our Earth clean and green and learn some f-ant-astic facts about ants.

Children in the first and second grades can take park in Afterschool Explorations, a drop-off program designed to acquaint children with nature explorations, hikes and outdoor activities. Children enrolled in this workshop series meet on Thursdays at 3:30-4:45 p.m. Learn how to use binoculars to identify some migratory and backyard birds, investigate the diversity of life found in a stream, make your own field notebook from upcycled materials and find out how and why animals communicate. Let your ears lead you on a spring walk in search of spring sounds.

Trailside’s spring workshops begin in April and continue through mid-June. Registrants can sign up for the series or choose only topics of interest. Pre-registration is required and the fee is $10.00 per class for Union County residents and $12.00 per class for out-of-county residents. Walk-ins can be accommodated if space permits.

For additional information about spring workshops, family programs, teacher training, special events and Trailside Talks for adults and high school students, please call 908-789-3670 or visit 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.