Public Info

Union County’s Wild Earth Fest Event at Trailside Nature & Science Center on April 28th

The Union County Board of County Commissioners invites residents and visitors of all ages to celebrate wildlife and learn about environmental conservation at Wild Earth Fest, hosted by the Trailside Nature and Science Center on Sunday, April 28, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., rain or shine. Trailside is located in Union County’s scenic 2,000-plus acre Watchung Reservation, at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside.

“This unique event combines fun activities for all ages with opportunities to learn about conservation and the environment,” said Commissioner Chairwoman Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded. “Wild Earth Fest raises awareness about the importance of conservation and environmental stewardship here in the Union County community and throughout the state.”

Admission to Wild Earth Fest is $5.00 per person seven years and older. Children six years old and younger are free. No pre-registration is required. Pets are not permitted.

Wild Earth Fest 2024, features special presentations with music, magic and live animals. There will be many ongoing activities for children, crafts, music, food and educational table displays throughout the event. 

Highlights include a sea creature touch tank from Jenkinson’s Aquarium, a petting zoo from Swift Farms, live music by the group Acoustic NRG, Trash to Treasure Recycled Art, Trailside’s outreach van with a touch table and giveaways, and an obstacle course from Child’s Play Challenge Courses with “course crusher” challenges for all ages.  Sustainable, green-themed art and gifts will also be available for purchase.

New this year, Wild Earth Fest welcomes the NJ Fish and Wildlife Mobile Education Trailer. The Mobile Education Trailer (MET) is an exhibit on wheels.  The trailer is an inclusive experience that includes interactive exhibits, educational videos and informative displays. The exhibits focus on wildlife work and success within the agency and takes a close look at the important partnerships that aid wildlife conservation in the state. 

On site this year, will be an electric vehicle display from the nonprofit organization, New Jersey Electrical Vehicle Association. Members of the group will share their EV experiences and answer any questions. 

In celebration of Arbor Day, take part in Trailside’s Wild Earth Fest Community Art Project throughout the day. Visitors can create a leaf to hang on Trailside’s EnvironmenTREE.  Help us upcycle over 300 plastic bottles to create a new and colorful piece of recycled art.  

Wild Earth Fest includes an exciting schedule of special presentations:

Eyes of the Wild (11:30 a.m.): Learn about some of the most interesting animals from all over the world and meet live reptiles, mammals, birds and insects up close.

Kids in Motion (12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m.): Join DJ Jo Jo Russell for interactive fun with his music and dance moves.

Science of Magic (1:30 p.m.): Join Science Magician Mr. Fish for “a fun and engaging magic show.

Skyhunters in Flight (12:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.): Meet live birds of prey, learn about the sport of falconry, and see an aw-inspiring flight display courtesy of Falconer Brian Bradley and his amazing birds.

Trashaganza (2:00 p.m.): Enjoy a performance by the Bash the Trash Band with musical instruments made from recycled materials. Try your hand at making instruments, and join the Trashaganza Musical Parade through Wild Earth Fest. Trashaganza is sponsored by Union County Clean Communities to raise awareness about the importance of Reuse, Reduce & Recycle.

Other activities include; a rock wall climb, a giant inflatable slide, and an Earth Day Play area with skee-ball, hoops, volleyball and other games made from ordinary recyclable items and prizes.  Attendees are also welcome to plant a take-home flower and make a colorful Gyotaku fish print.

Vendors and exhibitors include; Woodland Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey Electric Vehicle Association, Toadshade Wildflower Farm, Friends of the Great Swamp, Native Plant Society of NJ, Union County Bureau of Recycling & Planning, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ, Wild Birds Unlimited, NY/NJ Trail Conference, Hartshorn Arboretum, Labo Refillery, Oats & Soaks, Lee’s Bees, Planet B, Union County Master Gardeners, 4-H Master Tree Stewards, the NJ Mycological Society and more.

For more information about Wild Earth Fest and other upcoming programs and events at Trailside, call 908-789-3670 or visit

The Trailside Nature and Science Center is a service of the Union County Board of County Commissioners in the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation. For more recreation programs and activities visit or call 908-527-4900. For quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities supported by the Commissioner Board, visit The Green Connection,