Public Info

Summer Camps Open for Science, Art, and Nature Fun at Union County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center

Union County, NJ – Summer camp openings are still available for preschool children ages 4 and 5, and students entering grades 1-6, at Union County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center.

Located in the heart of the Watchung Reservation, Trailside summer camps offer both indoor and outdoor educational fun.

“The Freeholder Board is proud to support this opportunity for young people in our community to enjoy the out-of-doors and explore new skills, while learning about our natural heritage here in Union County and beyond,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski.

Preschool children ages 4 and 5 can attend short afternoon camps, from 1:15-3:45 p.m. All sessions include colorful crafts, nature walks, hands on activities and a snack break (must be 4 years old by June 1, 2019):

  • June 24-27 (Monday through Thursday): Seasonal Surprise & Dinomite features seasonal activities and explores the world of dinosaurs.
  • July 1- 3 (Monday through Wednesday): Wacky Weather & Natural Beginnings introduces our weather systems and the food chain, featuring fun bug hunts and animal searches.
  • August 5-8 (Monday through Thursday): Animal Adventures & Nature in a Nutshell explores Africa, Australia, Antarctica and the tropical rainforests of the world, along with the numbers and patterns that help plants and animals survive.

Students entering first and second grade can attend half-day camps, afternoons or mornings, five days a week:

  • July 8 -12 (1:00 – 4:00 p.m.): Seasonally Artistic enables children to have fun exploring how nature influences art with hands-on activities including nature collages, watercolor, and solar printing.
  • July 22-26 (1:00 – 4:00 p.m.): Tropical Treasures explores the unique treasure of tropical rain forests and enables children to learn how to preserve and protect valuable resource.
  • August 5-9 (9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.): Branching Out opens up the fascinating world of trees, plants and shrubs through games, hikes and art projects.

Students entering third and fourth grade can attend half-day camps, five days a week. Campers can also combine morning and afternoon sessions for a full day of activity:

  • July 8-12 (9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.): Bugs & Beyond explores the diversity of insect life as you visit stream, pond, meadow and forest habitats to learn about lifecycles of these amazing creatures.
  • July 8-12 (1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.): Junior Naturalist investigates wetlands in the Watchung Reservation and the diverse plants and animals found in these areas.
  • July 22-26 (1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.): Birds of a Feather introduces the world of birds and the characteristics that make them different from one another while learning the finer points of bird identification.

Students entering fifth and sixth grade can attend half-day camps or combination camp, five days a week:

  • July 8-12 (9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.): Behind the Scenes takes campers behind the scenes at Trailside to learn how the Naturalists care for the reptiles and fish living in the museum. 
  • July 8-12 (1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.): Green Team features fun activities that demonstrate the importance of living greener with a solar cooker, energy games and recycle and redesign your T-shirt.

For complete details on all summer camp programming for all grades including hours and participation fees, visit Trailside online at and view the Summer 2019 brochure.

In addition to summer camps, Trailside also offers family programs, evening programs and weekly Wednesday Matinees during the summer months.

For more details and to register for all Trailside programs, visit, 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.

For quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities visit The Green Connection,

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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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