Public Info

Enjoy Activities for All Ages — Indoors and Out — at Trailside Nature and Science Center

Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents of all ages to enjoy events and activities all winter at the Trailside Nature and Science Center in Mountainside. Programs for toddlers and young children continue each week throughout the month of February, along with a special “February Festivities” series of programs for adults and families with older children age five and up during Presidents Day weekend.

“As the gateway to Watchung Reservation, Trailside helps to provide Union County residents and visitors of all ages with a deeper appreciation for our natural heritage and our responsibilities as environmental stewards all year long,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “Our February activities provide an enjoyable break from the winter routine and an educational experience, too.”

For toddlers and children up to age three (with adult), Trailside offers the Toddler Time series. Children ages three and four (with adult) are invited to join the Two of Us series, and children ages four to six can participate in the Small Fry Days drop-off series.

All three programs feature hands-on exploration, crafts and other fun activities, with a focus on local flora and fauna in the 

Watchung Reservation.

Kicking off the February Festivities series is George Washington Remembers New Jersey on Friday, February 15 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Attendees will join General Washington as he reminisces about the war years that earned New Jersey its reputation as the “Cockpit of the Revolution.” This presentation is made possible by support from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. Admission is free.

February Festivities continues on Saturday and Monday with the following programs for children age five and up accompanied by an adult (pre-registration is required and a modest fee applies):

  • Saturday, February 16, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. — Hoo-Hoo Eats Who. Meet some neighborhood owls and learn how to dissect and study owl pellets.


  • Saturday, February 16, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — The Journey of Sap to Syrup. See how real maple syrup is made from the sap of a real sugar maple tree (admission to this event is free).


  • Saturday, February 16, 1:30 p.m. 2:15 p.m. – Meet Live Birds Of Prey. Learn about eagles, falcons and other birds of prey, featuring live birds, demonstrations and hands-on artifacts.


  • Saturday, February 16, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. — Animal Clue Winter Walk. Search for signs that animal neighbors have visited and enjoy a campfire with hot chocolate and toast marshmallows.


  • Monday, February 18 – Hoo-Hoo Eats Who returns from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.


  • Monday, February 18 – The Journey of Sap to Syrup returns from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


  • Monday, February 18 – Matinee Magic with Joe Fischer, featuring a magic, audience participation, and comedy for children ages five and with parent (space is limited for this program).

For more details and pre-registration information for all Trailside programs, visit online at, call 908-789-3670 or email

Trailside Nature and 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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For all Union County programs and services visit, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email or use the online Contact Form.

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