Public Info

Get “Back to Nature” This Fall with New Family Series at Trailside Nature and Science Center in Mountainside

Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Department of Parks and Recreation are pleased to announce that online registration for fall workshops at Trailside Nature and Science Center is now open. Beginning Saturdays this fall, a new program series, Back to Nature, is open to families with children of all ages with a different nature or science theme each week.  Trailside’s location in the scenic Watchung Reservation provides the perfect outdoor classroom.

“Trailside’s new Back to Nature series is a wonderful way for families to spend time together in the great outdoors and enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Watchung Reservation,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “These fall programs provide the perfect opportunity for adults and children of all ages to have fun while learning about the natural world around them.”

The Back to Nature programs encourage nature discovery through hikes and indoor/outdoor activities. This new series is offered on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  Families can explore a rainbow of colors on a fall hike, learn how to identify different animal tracks, experience the life of the Lenape Native Americans and take part in a scavenger hunt on Union County’s award winning Sensory Trail. There is a maximum of four participants per family.

Parents with young children up to age three can enjoy Toddler Time. This popular series is offered on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Families will learn about animals such as squirrels and turkeys and participate in an autumn tyke hike.  There is a maximum of four participants per family.

Trailside offers Two of Us for parents with children ages three and four. This workshop series meets on Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. or Wednesdays from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Among the many topics explored this autumn are: fall fun in the outdoors, animal adaptations and snakes and turtles.

Small Fry Days is a drop-off program for children ages four to six. This program is offered on Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Participants will enjoy a fall walk, investigate slithering snakes, spinning spiders and acrobatic bats on the Halloween hike and learn about the Watchung Reservation’s largest year-round residents, the white-tailed deer.

Trailside is offering a drop off program called Kids Explorations for older children ages seven to 10 on Saturday mornings. Activities include a salamander search, birding for beginners, nature’s detectives and a hike to the lake to discover the colors of fall.  This series meets on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Trailside’s fall programs begin October 1 and continue through December 7. Pre-registration is required. The fee per class is $10.00 per child for Union County residents and $12.00 per child for out-of-county residents. For detailed program descriptions and registration visit

For more information about Trailside’s new family workshops, upcoming programs or special events, please call 908-789-3670 or visit 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 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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