Public Info

Spring into Action at Union County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center

people examining flora in a park

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all programs will be conducted outdoors in small groups, with masks and social distance.

Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Commissioners invites residents to enjoy nature programs hosted by the Trailside Nature and Science Center in Mountainside for a fun season of outdoor spring activities.

“Now that spring has officially arrived, Trailside’s programs provide visitors of all ages the perfect opportunity to spend time outdoors while exploring our natural heritage in the scenic Watchung Reservation,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Alexander Mirabella.

Pre-registration is required for all programs and can be completed online at (use the “Online Registration” link in the left-hand column).

Masks are required to be worn by all participants. Programs will be held in small groups in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Adults with children ages four to six are invited to participate in Tyke Hikes, a new series offered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Participants will look for animal homes and hideouts, learn to identify birds by color and sound, take part in a scavenger hunt and search for all the colors of the rainbow on a nature walk. The fee is $10 per class for Union County residents and $12 per class for non-county residents.

Two moonlight walks will be offered this spring for adults with children ages six and older. A Pink Moon Hike will take place on April 27 and a Flower Moon Hike will take place on May 26, from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Registrants will have the opportunity to explore the Watchung Reservation by the light of the full moon. Learn about the wildlife that comes out after dark.  The fee per person per program is $5.00 for Union County residents and $6.00 for non-county residents.

Due to popular demand, additional senior walks have been added. This spring, senior walks take place on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and continue through May 27. This series is free and open to participants ages 55 and older.  Each walk is led by a Trailside naturalist and highlights a different topic. Participants will discover how to make their home more wildlife friendly, learn to identify common tree species, search for migrating birds at the Deserted Village and find out how to recognize common wild edible plants.

Residents should save the date for Saturday, April 24, when Trailside will offer a variety of outdoor activities in honor of Earth Day.  Participants can take part in guided nature walks and live animal talks. Preregistration is required. There will also be a recycled art wildlife walk along the sensory friendly trail.  Check the trailside website for updates on this event.

For more information about upcoming activities for seniors, families and children at Trailside, please visit or call 908-789-3670.

In-person 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.

For quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities, including the Falcon Cam and other online resources during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit The Green Connection,

For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University, the Mobile Test Unit walk-up sites, vaccination information, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit General information about COVID-19 is available through 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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