Public Info

Discover Animal Homes & Hideouts during Trailside’s Virtual Summer Camp Series

Nature enthusiasts can visit Union County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center website every week to participate in a “virtual summer camp” experience that includes original nature videos, activities, crafts and more. The program is part of a series of online activities offered by Trailside during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The Freeholder Board knows how much children and families enjoy the summer programs and activities at Trailside,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “We are proud to offer this virtual summer camp opportunity and encourage residents of all ages to explore the natural world right in their own backyards and surrounding areas, including Union County parks.”

The series features videos filmed around the Watchung Reservation and nearby locations, as well as activities and craft ideas selected by Trailside’s team of professional naturalists. Each week, campers can “meet” Trailside’s naturalists and follow along as they explore different nature-themed topics.

In the latest video, Animal Homes and Hideouts, viewers discover what types of environments make ideal homes for different types of animals and learn to identify them in their own backyards.  Go in search of animal hide-outs such as bird nests, chipmunk burrows and discover life under a log.  Campers can have fun with an animal scavenger hunt in their own backyard and build an animal home using natural materials.

Other topics include Turtle Time, Pond and Stream, Terrific Trees and Bugs & Beyond.  Check in over the final weeks of summer for Birds of a Feather and Pollinator Power.  All virtual content can be viewed on the Trailside website,

For more information about virtual summer camp and many other free nature programs available online during the COVID-19 outbreak, call Trailside at 908-789-3670 or visit

Organized activities in Union County Parks are limited during the COVID-19 outbreak in accordance with statewide public health guidelines, and Trailside is closed to the public until further notice.

All visitors to Union County parks must observe social distance guidelines in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Masks are strongly recommended. For more information and updates on permitted activities in Union County parks, visit online at

Trailside Nature and Science Center is located in the Watchung Reservation, at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside, and is a service of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including guidance for using the Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University, visit

For general information about COVID-19 and phone contacts for 24/7 assistance with questions, visit the New Jersey Department of Health at  



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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