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Outdoor Education Centers heading

new jersey state parks
New Jersey State Parks offer a variety of interpetive programs, hikes, bike, canoe and kayak trips at different parks all year.. Visit the calendar online, sign up to receive events via email or contact the specific park of interest for their most current schedule. Event updates are also posted on the State Parks facebook page.

new jersey state parks app
New Jersey's official State Parks app by Pocket Ranger is available free from the App Store or Google Play.

new jersey state environmental education directory
Visit the SEEDS (State Environmental Education Directory) website for an online catalog of resources available through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Classroom materials, field trips and outreach programs for schools, groups, families and organizations are available.

Camden Children’s Garden
3 Riverside Dr., Camden, 856-365-8733
    Spring-fall: Wed.-Fri. 10-3, Sat. & Sun. 10-4. Closed Jan.-late March. Admission $9, 1 and under free. Modest fee for train ride and carousel.
    Four-acre interactive garden includes a butterfly garden, railroad garden, dinosaur garden, maze, picnic garden, treehouse, amphitheater, carousel and storybook gardens. Visitors can enter the Butterfly House to observe 200 Monarch and Swallowtail butterflies in a lush tropical environment. School programs; girl scout workshops; party packages; gift shop; weekend festivals include seasonal crafts, games and activities.

Cora Hartshorn Arboretum & Bird Sanctuary
324 Forest Dr. S., Short Hills, 973-376-3587
       Stone House Nature Center: Mon.-Fri. 9-4:30, Sat. 9-4, Sun. 10-4. Summer: Mon.-Fri. 8-4, closed Sat. Grounds open daylight hours year round (no dogs).
          16 acres of woodland with 3 miles of walking trails. Adult programs, day trips and hikes; parent/child, youth and family nature programs; after-school clubs; summer and vacation camps; scouting programs; birthday parties; school field trips and classroom programs for grades K-5.
Ongoing
          Turtle Tots, drop off program for ages 3-5; Arboretum Sprouts, education program for ages 1-2 with caregiver.
          Monthly Guided Hikes, for families. 11, 1 and 3pm. $10/$5.

Duke Farms
1112 Duke Parkway West, Hillsborough, 908-722-3700
    Nov.-mid-March: Thurs.-Tues. 8:30-4:30. April-Oct.: Thurs.-Tues. 8:30-6, closed Wed. Free admission. Note: Parking areas are closed temporarily when full (most likely to happen on Sundays and holidays during nice weather). Parking updates are posted on twitter @dfparking. Off peak hours are early morning or later in the afternoon.
    2,740 acre estate and wildlife sanctuary was developed by tobacco and hydropower magnate James Buchanan Duke beginning in 1893. The estate is now a learning center and model of environmental stewardship. The New Jersey Audubon Society, Raritan Piedmont Wildlife Habitat Partnership, and the Rutgers University School of Biological and Environ­mental Sciences and Office of Continuing Education offer environmental programs for adults, families, children, educators and professionals.
    Stop in the LEED Platinum Orientation Center, housed in the 1906 Farm Barn, for displays, interactive exhibits, maps, entrance tickets and refreshments. Borrow an Eco-kit with binoculars, compass, note pad and field guide. Then board the tram (10-5 April 1-Dec. 1) to explore the core of the property across Duke Parkway West including the orchid conservatory, Great Meadow, old foundation of the planned Duke family mansion and over 18 miles of trails.
    Agriculture programs; orchid and other horticulture classes; community garden; birding and nature programs for adults and children; environmental stewards program; self-guided bike and walking tours are offered. Consult website for current schedule and registration.
Ongoing
       
GeoTrail, bring your GPS to find 11 caches located on the property.
        Hike or Bike, over 18 miles of trails. Four miles of paved paths are wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly.
        Field Guide to Duke Farms, available to borrow at the Orientation Center, read online or print from home.
       Community Garden, plots awarded through lottery to people who live and/or work in Somerset County. Email cg@dukefarms.org.
        Bikeshare Service, 80 adult-sized bicycles are available first come first served, 9am-4:30pm, for $5 per ride, 2 hr. maximum.
May-Nov
       
Farm to Table Market, local farmers market on Thursdays 3-8pm.
Nov-Mar
        Farm to Table Indoor Winter Market, Sundays 11am-4pm.
Register
       Junior Ornithologists, Junior Naturalists, registration open for four seasonal mini-series per year, designed for families.
       Nature Storytime for Sprouts, 90-min. nature themed monthly program for ages 3-6 with caregiver. Individual classes or series.
Annual Events
All ages, free admission. Advance registration requested.
Mid-Mar
          Sugar Maple Celebration, indoor/outdoor event celebrates the maple sugaring process.
Early Jul
          Firefly Festival, grab a flashlight and meandor along 1.5 miles of trails.
Late Oct
          Creature Fest, visit with some "scary" plants and wildlife along a 1.5 mile trail.

Essex County Environmental Center
West Essex Park, 621 Eagle Rock Ave., Roseland, 973-228-8776
    Trails open daily dawn to dusk. Environmental Center open Mon.-Fri. 9-5, Sat. 10-2, closed holidays. Situated in a wooded wetland habitat with access to the Passaic River, the environmental center serves as central headquarters for most of the environmental groups in Essex County including Master Gardeners, 4-H Club (973-353-1338 x103), Essex County Beekeepers Society, New Jersey Woodturners Association and New Jersey Audubon Society. Library; ­natural history and fine art exhibits; nature and horticulture programs for toddlers to adults; center-based and outreach programs; teacher workshops; scout programs; birthday parties; school vacation and summer nature camps.
Ongoing
       
 Little Explorers Nature Program, class for ages 2-5 and their caregiver explores nature through stories, walks and crafts.
         Nature and Outdoor Programs, Themed Clubs, 4-H Clubs & Environmental Clubs, a variety of special interest clubs for children grades K-10.
         Hatfield Swamp Guided Hikes, are scheduled upon request for two or more adults. Free.
         New Jersey Audubon Society Birding Field Trips, for beginners to experts, adults and ages 12 and older. Call 908-766-5787 for upcoming dates and to register.
         Yoga Series for Adults, beginner to advanced.
         Rutgers Essex County Master Gardeners Free Helpline, Mon.-Fri. 10-2, 973-228-2210.
Jun-Aug
          Summer Camps grades PreK to 8.

Frelinghuysen Arboretum
353 E. Hanover Ave., Morris Township, 973-326-7601
    Haggerty Education Center: Mon.-Sun. 9-4:30. Grounds: 8am-dusk. Matilda's Cafe: Fri.-Sun. April-Oct.
    Beautifully maintained estate known for its rose garden, lilac collection and ideal setting for informal picnics. Self-guided trail booklets and children's walking tour map available in the Mansion, headquarters for the Morris County Park Commission. Horticulture programs for adults, children, schools, scouts and home schooled students, 973-326-7603; indoor and outdoor dining at Matilda's Cafe.
Friends of Frelinghuysen Arboretum
Volunteer organization sponsors adult and children's programs, plant sales and other events. Advance registration required for all programs, 973-326-7603. For program information, call 973-631-5004.
Ongoing
          Branching Out, spring and summer sessions for ages 5-13 to learn about gardening, botany, horticulture. Call 973-631-5004 for more information.
          Sprouts and Seedlings, series introduces children ages 2-3 (Sprouts) and ages 4-5 (Seedlings) with adult to plants and nature through walks, stories and activities. $5 per session. Pre-registration preferred, but walk-ins welcome.
          Home School Days, nature and horticulture programs for ages 6-12. 1-2:30pm. $8.
          Scout Programs, workshops for all girl scout levels, cub scouts and boy scouts. 973-631-5004.
          Junior Master Gardeners, school-year-long gardening and horticulture science program for grades 3-5. Call 973-631-5004 for information.
Tues
          Art at the Arboretum, art and nature series for ages 8-12 on select Tuesdays. 4-5:30. $8.
1st Sun
          Garden Tours, first Sun. April-Oct. at 2pm. $3.
Sat-Sun
          Family Photo Scavenger Hunt, grab a camera or phone for a scavenger hunt with a new theme each month. Take a photo of every item and receive a prize. Anytime 9-3:30 daily in summer, weekends year round. $10/family.

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Helen S. Fenske Visitor Center
32 Pleasant Plains Rd., Harding Twp., 973-425-9510
    North Gate bridge is open during visitor center hours, daily 10-4. Trails open sunrise to sunset. Stop in the Visitor Center for maps, information and to visit the interactive exhibits, Discovery Den for children and gift shop. Friends of Great Swamp offers public and members-only programs, special events, group tours for schools, scouts, youth and adult organizations, and outreach speakers (908-647-1321). See listing under Hiking & More for additional info.
Ongoing
         Junior Refuge Manager Activity Book is available at the Visitor Center or can be downloaded online under "Visit–Wildlife Observation Center." Complete and earn a certificate and badge.
         Nature Detective Trail, short loop path with 11 interpretive stops along the way, is designed especially for young children.
         Refuge Readers, adult book group meets monthly on the third Fri. New members always welcome.
         Volunteer Opportunities, many volunteer opportunities available to help with invasive species control, garden work and staffing centers.
2nd Sun
          Second Sunday…with Friends, may include guest speakers, nature program, film, walk, 1:30-3:00pm. Registration not required. Visit website for scheduled activity.
Monthly Events
          
Junior Refuge Manager–Earn Your Badge Day. Volunteers are on hand to help ages 5-13 complete an Activity Guide and earn their Junior Refuge Manager Badge. Wildlife Observation Center, 220 Long Hill R.d, Harding Twp. 10am-3pm.
          
Refuge Ramble, informal guided walk with Hispanic Access Foundation intern Dan Correa and Friends. A different topic each month. Bilingual.1:30-3pm.

Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center
247 Southern Blvd., Chatham Township, 973-635-6629
    Visitor Center open daily 9-4:30. Interactive exhibit area and library. Pick up a self-guiding trail booklet for the two miles of trails and boardwalks leading through wooded and swamp habitats. Weekend family programs, environmental programs for toddlers to adults, guided trail walks, Baby & Me Hikes, scout and school programs, homeschool programs and teacher training workshops are offered.
Mon
          Toddlers 'n Tikes, morning walk and story for ages 2-5 with adult. 10-11am. $5/child, advance registration required.
          Awesome Animal Artists, indoor/outdoor after school art program for ages 5-9. Parents are welcome to participate. 4-5pm. $5.
Tues
          Baby & Me Hikes, weekly hikes for parents, grandparents or caretakers and infant children to discover nature at different park locations. All babies must be in front- or backpack; no siblings or strollers. 9:30-11. $2, registration required.
          Junior Naturalists, series for ages 6-9. 3:30-4:30.
Wed
          Homeschool Adventures, monthly themed programs designed for homeschool families, all ages. 1-2:30pm. $8 per child 5 and over.
Thurs
          Nature's Little Explorers, 6 week nature program for ages 2 and 3 with adult includes walks, activities and crafts.
          Puddle Jumpers, 6 week series for ages 4 and 5 with adult includes walks, activities and crafts.
Fri
          Outdoor Skills, monthly series for ages 10-15 to learn wilderness and survival skills. Fridays at 4:30pm, Saturdays at 10am.
Sat
          Weekend Family Walk, all ages. 10-11am monthly. $2 per person ages 3 and up.
          Outdoor Skills, monthly series for ages 10-15 to learn wilderness and survival skills. Saturdays at 10am, also Fridays at 4:30pm.

Hunterdon County Parks & Recreation
Office: 1020 Rt. 31N, Lebanon Twp., 908-782-1158
    Surrounding park headquarters are two miles of nature trails winding through display gardens including a children's ­garden and picnic area. Over 7,000 acres of public open space at parks and preserves are maintained throughout the county. Parks staff lead a wide selection of daytime and evening nature, sports, art and crafts programs for children, families, adults and school/community groups. Programs on nature, camping and outdoor skills are ­available to groups both on and off-site. Popular offerings include summer day camps, after-school nature programs, canoe trips, birding trips and walks and an annual free summer concert series.
Ongoing

         Basketry, art and craft workshops and classes, for children and adults, beginner to advanced.
         Adult morning/afternoon bird walks and field trips, open to interested birders at all levels of ability. See current schedule online.
         River Trips, canoe/kayak trips with experienced leaders. Open to ages 8-adult.
Sep- May
          Nature Club for Kids, seasonal children's series for ages 3-5 & grades K-3 includes hikes at Echo Hill or Mountain Farm and hands-on activities.
         Tot Walks, one-hour nature program includes walk, story and craft for ages 2-3 with adult.
         Blooming Young Artists, six-week art series for ages 6-10; Studio Time for Artists-in-Training, series for ages 11-17.
         Home School Environmental Series, home school programs on second Wed. of month Sept.-May, new topic each month.
         Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Therapy), tranquil, guided walk monthly, ages 12-adult. $5.
Jun-Aug
          Summer Camps for Grades K-12, weekly camp themes include nature, art, craft, theatre, music, garden, sports and canoe.

Kay Environmental Center
200 Pottersville Rd., Chester Twp., 973-635-6629
    Former 400-acre estate is now Morris County parkland offering hiking trails through fields, forest and along the Black River. If you follow the red trail blazes to the river, a left before the bridge will take you to a beautiful ­hemlock gorge, short waterfalls and to the stone ruins of an old summer house and dam.
The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey
200 Pottersville Rd., Chester, 908-879-7262
    Headquartered in New Jersey at Kay Environmental Center, The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization whose mission is to protect ­ecologically important open spaces, primarily through acquisition. Field trips, programs and volunteer opportunities are available for members and the public. Special events and trips are planned at Kay Center and at Conservancy preserves in Warren, Sussex, Cumberland and Cape May Counties. Visit website for public events and field trips.
Late May
      Horseshoe Crab & Shorebird Phenomenon, caravan through the Delaware Bayshores and see the ancient ritual between horseshoe crabs and the red knot, one of the longest distance migrants in the animal kingdom.

Kittatinny Valley State Park
Goodale Rd. (off Rt. 206N), Andover, 973-786-6445
    Park open daily sunrise to sunset. Office: Daily 9-4. Featuring glacial lakes, limestone outcroppings and access to the Paulinskill Valley and Sussex Branch rail trails, this State Park offers challenging mountain biking, easy family biking, hiking, fishing, boating and kayaking, 3 group campsites as well as cross country skiing and ice fishing in winter. Interpretive programs are scheduled year round, each weekend during the spring and summer, with less frequency during fall and winter. Visit website for current schedule.
Ongoing
          Junior Naturalist Workbook & Program for ages 7-12. Stop by the park visitor center for info.
          Geocaching, over 200 geocaches are waiting to be discovered in the park. To participate, create an account on the official Geocaching website. To learn about geocaching in New Jersey, visit the website for Northern New Jersey Cachers or attend a "Geocaching for Beginners" workshop offered monthly at the park.

Lakota Wolf Preserve
89 Mt. Pleasant Rd., Columbia, 908-496-9244
    60-75 minute wolf watch programs are presented twice every day except Monday. Fall & winter: 10:30 and 3. Summer: 10:30 and 4. Registration begins half hour before tour start times; an appointment is required for weekday watches and groups of 10 or more. In winter, call ahead to make sure weather permits opening. Adults $15, ages 2-11 $7, no credit cards.
    Enjoy a scenic walk to an observation area in the center of four packs of Tundra, Timber and Arctic wolves. Learn about them through informal talks with caretakers and direct observation.

Liberty State Park Interpretive Center
200 Morris Pesin Dr., Jersey City, 201-915-3400 x202
    In addition to being a launching point to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Liberty State Park is a scenic natural area featuring bike/walking paths, a giant playground and an interpretive center with nature trail and exhibits, offering environmental programs, outreach programs and professional development workshops for educators. Visit Park facebook page for the most up-to-date news. Also see listing under Historic Sites.
Hurricane Sandy Update
           Interpretive Center remains closed due to Hurricane Sandy. Interpretive programs are being offered at other locations within the park. Call or visit website for scheduled events and reopening date.
Jun-Aug
           Kayak Eco-Tours, adults and ages 16 and up explore the salt marsh and beach habitats from the water. Call to be placed on mailing list, 201-915-3400 x202. Free, pre-registration required.

Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center
331 Georgia Tavern Rd. (GSP exit 98), Howell, 732-751-9453
    Daily 10-4:30. Memorial Day to Labor Day: Sat.-Thurs. 10-5, Fri. 10-8:30. Visitors learn about the importance of water, wetlands ecology, wildlife and habitat protection through interactive exhibits, multi-media presentations and wildlife observation areas. Free nature programs are offered most weekends. School, scout and group programs available. Monmouth County Parks offers extensive programming for children, teens, families and adults at parks throughout the county. Complete guides are published seasonally.
Sat & Sun
         Free Nature Programs, most weekends. Call 732-751-9453 for info.
Ongoing
         Safari Backpacks, all you need for a self-guided nature walk exploring Manasquan Reservoir. Contents change seasonally. Free.

Meadowlands Environment Center
2 DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst, 201-777-2431
Administrative Office: 201-460-1700
    Trails open daily 8am-dusk. Environment Center open Mon. 9-4; Tues.-Fri. 9-2; closed Sat. and Sun. Interactive learning center and observatory, built to LEED standards, is ­situated in a portion of Richard W. DeKorte Park, an area of several hundred acres of reclaimed landfills and revitalized wetlands along the Hackensack River and an annual migratory stop for thousands of waterfowl and shorebirds. Barrier-free trails with bird and photo blinds; environmental and astronomy education programs; interactive exhibits trace the environmental history of the Meadowlands; nature walks; teacher development workshops; school programs; outreach programs; scout programs; gift shop.
   From April-Oct. canoe and kayak rentals are available at Hackensack Riverkeeper Paddling Center in Laurel Hill County Park, Secaucus. Paddlers can explore the marshlands of the Sawmill Creek Wildlife Management Area. Guided paddles, bird walks, eco-cruises, river clean-up days and group outreach programs are offered. For info, call 201-968-0808 or visit website.
Ongoing
       
William D. McDowell Observatory, free open viewing Wed. evenings, weather permitting, 201-460-8300.
        Guided Nature Walks with NJMC & the Bergen County Audubon Society, check Meadow Blog for dates. Free, registration recommended.
May- Oct
        Eco-Cruises, Canoe & Kayak Rentals, Guided Paddles, visit Hackensack River Keeper website.
Jun-Sep
        NJMC Canoe Tours, three-hour tour of salt marsh;
        NJMC Pontoon Boat Tours, two-hour tour departs from River Barge Park, Carlstadt. Ages 10 and up. For schedule and info, call 201-460-4677 or visit website.
1st Sun, 3rd Tues
      Bergen County Audubon Society Nature Walk, two-hour walks on the first Sunday of the month and third Tuesday of the month. Free. For info, 201-230-4983.

Merrill Creek Reservoir
34 Merrill Creek Rd., Washington, NJ, 908-454-1213
    Open daily daylight hours. Visitors Center: weekdays 8:30-4:30, weekends 10-4. 290-acre environmental preserve surrounds this reservoir that was developed by seven electric utility companies to store water for release to the Delaware River during periods of low flow. A bald eagle nesting area can be observed from the Inlet/Outlet Tower parking lot off Fox Farm Rd. (take care not to disturb the eagles, walk or boat within 300 yards of the nesting area). Visitors Center features hands-on exhibits, dioramas and displays. Emphasis is on low-impact activities—hiking trails, wildlife observation blind, cross-country skiing. Swim­ming, camping and picnicking are prohibited. The stocked reservoir is popular for fishing and boating (canoes, sailboats and fishing boats, electric motors only). Naturalist-led environmental education programs are available for all organized non-profit groups, ages pre-K to adult.

New Jersey Audubon Society

    Independent, membership-supported organization has the mission to foster environmental awareness and a conservation ethic among citizens, protect New Jersey's birds and other animals and plants, and promote preservation of New Jersey's natural habitats. The organization maintains stewardship of 34 sanctuaries and conducts adult, family and children's programs at seven staffed and partner facilities.
• Cape May Bird Observatory
  Center for Research & Education: 600 Rt. 47 N., Cape May Court House, 609-861-0700.
  Nature Center of Cape May: 1600 Delaware Ave., Cape May, 609-898-8848.
  Northwood Center: 701 E. Lake Dr., Cape May Point, 609-884-2736.
• Duke Farms
  80 Rt. 206S, Hillsborough, 908-837-9341 (NJAS partner site). See separate listing.
• Essex County Environmental Center
  621 Eagle Rock Ave., Roseland, 973-228-8776 (NJAS partner site). See separate listing.
• Hawk Rise Sanctuary
  End of Range Rd. (GPS 1811 Lower Rd.), Linden. Public programs are listed under Scherman-Hoffman Sanctuary.
• Lorrimer Sanctuary
  790 Ewing Ave., Franklin Lakes, 201-891-2185.
• Plainsboro Preserve
  80 Scotts Corner Rd., Cranbury, 609-897-9400. See separate listing.
• Scherman-Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary–headquarters
  11 Hardscrabble Rd., Bernardsville, 908-766-5787. See separate listing.
• Wattles Stewardship Center
  1024 Anderson Rd., Port Murray, 908-837-9571.
Selected Special Events
May-Aug
      Harbor Safari Seining, Family Birding Cruise, Tidal Marsh Tour by Kayak, Beachcombing, Scavenger Hunt, Storywalk, and more. Contact Nature Center of Cape May for info.

New Weis Center for Education, Arts & Recreation
150 Snake Den Rd., Ringwood
    Grounds and parking lot close at dusk. The New Weis Center, with 24 miles of hiking trails and the undisturbed forest and rugged terrain of Norvin Green State Forest as its outdoor classroom, reopened in summer 2016. The developing schedule includes seasonal family activities, scout programs, guided hikes, theater productions, art exhibits, and school field trips.

Pequest Trout Hatchery & Natural Resource Education Center
Rt. 46, 605 Pequest Rd., Oxford, 908-637-4125
    Trails open daily dawn to dusk. Interpretive Center: April-Oct.: Daily 9-4; Nov.-March: Mon.-Fri. 9-4 and for special events. Free.
    700,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout are raised here annually to stock over 200 public waters. The best time to see the hatchery is Oct.-May when all areas are in operation. From May-Sept. the nursery building is not in use. Self-guided tours, videos, exhibit hall, 3.9 miles of hiking trails and picnic grounds. Children and adult workshops related to wildlife and natural resources are offered select weekends spring to fall. Check website for monthly listings. Group programs.
Selected Family Events
Mar 2019 TBA
          Pequest Annual Open House & Sportsmen's Flea Market, environmental and conservation exhibits, historical reenactors, wildlife artists, carvers, fishing for kids, food vendors and more. 10-4. Free.

Plainsboro Preserve
80 Scotts Corner Rd., Cranbury, 609-897-9400
    Tues.-Sat. 9-5, Sun. 12-5. Hiking trails open daily dawn to dusk. A joint effort of the Township of Plainsboro, County of Middlesex and New Jersey Audubon Society, the preserve includes a nature center with exhibits, reference library, nature store and over five miles of trails through mature beech woods, wet meadows, and along the shoreline of McCormack Lake. Family nature programs; field trips and programs for adults and teens; preschool programs; scout programs; school field trip and outreach; school vacation and summer camps for ages 6-12; birthday parties.
Ongoing
          Kids & Critters Preschool Program, new topics each session for ages 2-4. 11-11:45am. $7.
Jun-Sep
          Summer Naure Camps, 9am-4pm for grades 1-9. Sign up for one week or the whole summer.
Sat
          Saturday Family Adventures, Saturdays from 2-3:30pm. Designed for young naturalists ages 7+ and their families. $7, $5 members, unless noted. Pre-registration is required, 609-427-3052.

Pyramid Mountain
472 Boonton Ave., Boonton Twp., 973-334-3130
    Park open year round dawn to dusk. Visitors Center Wed.-Sun. 10-4:30. Call for winter hours. Trail guide available online and at Visitors Center for wooded trails to Tripod Rock, a 180-ton boulder balanced atop three smaller rocks, Bear Rock, and to the top of Pyramid Mountain for outstanding views of the New York City skyline. Nature programs; guided hikes; preschool walks; homeschool and school programs; scout badge programs; birthday parties.
All programs require advance registration.
Tues
          Baby & Me Hikes, seasonally for parents, grandparents or caretakers and infant children to discover nature. All babies must be in front- or backpack; no registration. 9:30-11. $2.
          Nature Tots & Tykes, ages 2-5 with an adult learn about nature with stories, games and crafts on a new topic each month. 10-11am.
Wed
          Nature's Little Explorers, 6-week nature program for parent and toddlers age 2-3.
         Awesome Animal Artists, for ages 5-9. Monthly indoor/outdoor program features a different animal each session. 4-5pm. $5.
         Puddle Jumpers, for ages 4-5. 6-week nature series for ages 4-5 with adult. 1-1:45. $55.
Winter
          Snowshoe Sundays, guided snowshoeing for ages 10 and up on select Sundays. Adult and children sized snow shoe rentals available for one day rental and use on site.

The Raptor Trust
1452 White Bridge Rd., Millington, 908-647-2353
    Education Center, 908-647-1091. Open year round 7 days during daylight hours from 9am. Suggested donation $2. Avian rehabilitation center supplies care, diet and housing for distressed wild birds with the goal of returning healthy, self-sufficient birds to the wild. Outdoor display area for unreleasable hawks, eagles, falcons and owls is open to the public. Group outreach, on-site programs, and telephone advisory service for wild bird related problems; gift shop. Check website for upcoming special events.

Reeves Reed Arboretum
165 Hobart Ave., Summit, 908-273-8787
    Grounds open daily April-Oct. 7am-7pm, Nov.-March 9am-4pm. Wisner House Gallery: Tues.-Fri. 10-4. Free admission, non-member suggested donation $5. Entrance gate opens automatically.
    Listed on both the State and National Register of Historic Places, the Arboretum is a serene place for a walk through woodland trails, formal gardens, perennial, rose, daylily, herb and daffodil gardens. Pets are prohibited. Summer camps for ages 4-13; children, adult and family workshops and special events; group tours; scout programs; nature birthday parties; summer concert series; site rentals. Teens and up are welcome to volunteer.
Jan & Feb
          Tapping Trees, Maple Sugaring & Birding.
Mar-Nov
          Discovery Saturdays, Education Center is open 9am-1pm most Saturdays Mar.-Nov. for hands-on activities tailored for children ages 4-10 accompanied by an adult. $5 per child, drop-in; free for members; program is also in Spanish. Borrow a backpack to explore outdoors.
Apr
          Oaks & Acorns, preschool nature classes begin.
          Annual Daffodil Day Celebration, see over 40,000 in bloom.
May-Oct
          Free Saturday Garden Tours, 10:30am and 1:30pm Saturdays from May through Oct. No registration required, meet at Visitors Center.
Jun-Aug
          Butterfly & Rose Gardens in bloom; Summer Camps, ages 4-13; Sounds of a Summer Night Concert Series.
Sep
          Oaks & Acorns, preschool nature classes begin.
Oct
          Goats on Site and Annual Celebrate Fall Festival.
Dec
          Cookies & Cocoa (and Photo) with Santa.
Ongoing
          Square Foot Gardening & Cooking Workshops.

Rizzo's Wildlife World
1 Gold Mine Rd., Roxbury, 973-586-0444
    Tues.-Sun. 10-6, call to confirm open hours. Admission $10, 2 and under free.
        Families learn about conservation and habitat preservation at indoor nature center housing New Jersey native North American wood turtles, Northern pine snakes and other reptiles, amphibians and mammals in naturalistic habitats. School, scout, camp programs; birthday parties.

Scherman-Hoffman Sanctuaries
11 Hardscrabble Rd., Bernardsville, 908-766-5787
    Trails open 7 days to 5pm, Hoffman building open Tues.-Sat. 9-5, Sun. noon-5. 276-acre wildlife sanctuary belongs to the New Jersey Audubon Society. The Hoffman Center for Conservation and Environmental Education features an environmental learning center, observation deck, exhibits, ­book and gift shop. 3.2 miles of trails lead through ­woodland, field and floodplain habitats. Patriot's Path can be reached from the Scherman parking lot. Birding field trips; adult and family programs; summer natural history day camp for ages 4-grade 6; overnight camps for grades 6-10; teacher workshops; digital photography workshops; birthday parties. School, scout and group programs by reservation; teacher programs; outreach lectures and slide programs available for club meetings and special events.
Ongoing
          Adult birding trips; wildlife & environmental workshops & lectures; nature-infused yoga; Friday & Saturday morning walks, 8am; digital photography workshops. See website for schedule.
          Birdseed for sale, buy locally grown birdseed, mixes and suet.
          Geocache Trail, bring your GPS for a two-hour trail walk through fields, woodlands and along the Passaic River.
Fri & Sat
          Morning Walks, 8-9am, Fri. and Sat. mornings. Free.
Jun-Aug
          Summer Camps, day camps for preschoolers to grade 6; overnight camps for grades 6-10.
Hawk Rise Sanctuary Urban Oasis Programs
End of Range Rd. (GPS 1811 Lower Rd.), Linden, 908-396-6386. Visit website link for current calendar.

Schiff Nature Preserve
339 Pleasant Valley Rd., Mendham, 973-543-6004
    Schiff Natural Lands Trust, a nonprofit corporation, owns and operates the 423-acre Schiff Nature Preserve as public open space. Ten miles of trails are open daylight hours for hiking, biking, horseback riding or nature study. Ongoing programs include nature programs for children and adults; homeschooler program; summer day camps; scout programs; school field trips; birthday parties; and environmental book club, yoga, and fitness hikes for adults.
Sep-May
          Hike Mendham, visit Hike Mendham website for local hiking trail maps.
Mon
          Environmental Book Club,
adults only. Free.
Jun-Aug
          Summer Nature Programs, week-long adventures for ages 5-13.

Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center
190 Lord Stirling Rd., Basking Ridge, 908-766-2489
    Trails open dawn to dusk. Education Center open daily 9am-5pm. No admission. Home to a host of classes, lectures, walks, and other environmental education programs. 430 acres bordering the Great Swamp and Passaic River feature 8.5 miles of walking trails with 8,000 ft. boardwalk and special boardwalk for individuals with disabilities, bird blind and frog ponds. Year-round nature and discovery programs are offered for children ages infant–5 with parent, preschoolers to age 12, families and adults; canoe and kayak trips; bird walks; field trips; summer camps; teacher workshops; outreach to Somerset County schools; cross country skiing in winter. For a full listing of programs for toddlers through adults, call 908-766-2489 or access website.
Sat-Sun
          Family Nature Walks, hour-long naturalist-led interpretive walk for all ages, no registration necessary (not designed for organized groups). 12-1pm selected Sun., 10:30-11:30am selected Sat. Free.
Ongoing
          
Tot Trek, stroller walk for ages infant-5 with parent. 10:30-11:30 monthly spring to fall. Free.
          Parent & Child Nature Programs, infants to age 5 with adult explore nature through themed walks, crafts and stories.
          Camera Naturalists Photo Club, dedicated to art of nature and scenic photography. Meetings generally 2nd Thurs. of the month, 7:30-9:30pm.
          Adult Field Trips, Workshops, Bird Walks and Hikes, consult website link for calendar.
School Year Programs
Visit online link for complete schedule of programs for ­children, teens, families and adults.
Mon
          The Young Explorers Club, series for ages infant to 5 with parent. 10:30-11:30am.
          KinderNats, after school series for ages 5-7.
Tues or Thurs
          Tree House Gang, 4-week series for ages 3-5 features new theme each month. 12:45-3:15.
Thurs
          Swamp Kids, afterschool series for ages 8-10.
Sat
          The Green Team, ages 12-15 contribute their talents to special events and educational projects. 1-4pm. Free.
          Story Hour, ages infant-5 with parent. 10:30-11:30am. Free.
          River Rats, themed monthly series for ages 5-8. 10:30-11:30am. $36 for 4-session series.
Jun 1-Sep 30
          Environmental Science Summer Programs, registration begins May 16. See Camps for summer nature programs for ages 4-16.
Aug 18
          The County Caper Accelerated!, one day game takes adults on an interactive tour of Somerset County parks and facilities. 8-4. $20 per team.
Aug 19
          The County Caper, one day game for families and friends to tour Somerset County parks and facilities. 8-5. $20 per team.
Oct 1-Jan 31
          Environmental Science Fall Programs, registration begins Sept. 12.
Oct 7
          1770's Festival, exhibitors and militias recreate colonial life on the site of Lord Stirling's Manor. 11:30-4:30. $5.
Oct 12
          By the Light of the Moon, all ages. 6:30-7:30. $6.
Oct 14
          Live Animal Show, all ages. 1-2pm. $5.
Dec 1-28
          41st Festival of Trees, indoor exhibit of decorated trees. Live music on select Sat. and Sun; Snowflake Cafe on weekends. 9-4.

Somerset County Park Commission Junior Ranger Program
Colonial Park: Franklin Twp., 908-231-0802 x21
Duke Island Park: Old York Rd., Bridgewater
    Junior Ranger activity book is available for ages 6-12 to learn about the environment and its inhabitants. After ­completion, a Park Ranger will review work, present an official Junior Ranger badge and send info about special Junior Ranger programs and events.

Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association
31 Titus Mill Rd., Pennington, 609-737-7592
    Reserve open dawn to dusk. Nature Center open Mon.-Fri. 9-5, Sat. 10-4. Butterfly House open dawn to dusk daily June-Oct. Member supported non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of the natural environment drained by Stony Brook and the Millstone River offers education programs for children, adults and families, summer camp, high school academy, teacher workshops, homeschool classes, school, scout and group on-site and outreach programs. The 930-acre reserve features 10 miles of hiking trails, pond, open-air Butterfly House, and LEED Platinum Watershed Center which houses exhibit halls with hands-on activities, laboratory, computer learning center, classrooms and nature shop. Birthday parties.
Ongoing
          Geocaching, use a GPS-enabled device to locate 12 permanent geocaches.
Sep-Jun
          Preschool Nature Class, series for ages 3-5. Register for individual classes or entire series.
          Watershed Academy, week-long environmental investigation for motivated high school students grades 10-12. 609-737-3735 x17.
Mon
          Tiny Tots Walks, walk, art activities and story for adult and toddler, ages 18 mos.-3 yrs. 10:30-11:30am. $15/$10.
Jul-Aug
          Watershed Nature Camp, ages 5-16.

Tenafly Nature Center
313 Hudson Ave., Tenafly, 201-568-6093
    Visitors Center open daily 11-4. Trails open dawn to dusk. Free admission. 400-acre nature preserve features seven miles of trails, pond, backyard wildlife habitat and a visitors center with live ­animals, interactive displays and library. Afterschool programs, parent/child programs, weekend family programs, scout and school programs, homeschool programs, seasonal activities, adult programs, professional development, birthday parties and vacation day camps are offered.
Ongoing
          Adventures in Reading StoryWalk Outdoor Exhibit, read a nature-themed story while walking in the woods. A new story is posted each season.
          Seasonal Scavenger Hunt, for adults and children ages 4 and up on the 2nd Sat. Arrive between 2 and 3. $5, $30 family max.
Sep-Jun
          Knee-High Naturalists, 8-week themed nature exploration for ages 1 1⁄2-3 with adult includes discovery stations, songs and outdoor activities. Sign up for series or single session.
Jun-Aug
           Summer Nature Day Camps, weekly nature and science themes, preK to 8th grade. CIT program for ages 14-18.

Trailside Nature and Science Center
Watchung Reservation, 452 New Providence Rd., Mountainside, 908-789-3670
         Visitor Center: Daily 12-5pm. Free. Located within the 2000-acre Watchung Reservation with 13+ miles of marked trails, the Trailside Museum and Visitor Center features many hands-on exhibits, ideal for for young children, and taxidermy exhibits of local wildlife. Live reptiles and fish live in ponds at the base of a 34-foot-tall beech tree inside the Visitor Center. Interactive exhibits explain local plants, geology, Lenape Native American history and conservation. Weekly nature and exploration programs for children include adult/child interactive programs for toddlers and ages 3-4, drop-off programs for ages 4-6, after-school ­programs for grades 1-5, weekend ­family programs and summer day camps for preschoolers to grade 9. Scout badge and group programs; outreach programs; birthday parties; adult programs, too. Visit website for new programs and self-guided trail guides.
Ongoing
          Self-Guided Geology and History Trails, download Geo-Trail Guide and Trail Map online.
Sep-Jun
          Saturday Outdoor Adventures, 45-min. weekly themed hike and nature-related talks for families with children of all ages most Sat. during the school year.
          Children, Family & Adult Workshops–Toddler Time, Two of Us, Small Fry Days, afterschool grade school programs, adult workshops, teacher training. Visit website link for current schedule.
Sat & Sun
          Story Time, entertaining stories of the season 3pm Sat. Donations appreciated.
Jun- Aug
          Summer Camps, for preschool-grade 9 (online registration begins in March), Friday Family Programs, Tuesday Evening Programs, Wednesday Matinees, family campfires and beginner overnight campouts.
Jul- Aug
          Wednesday Matinees, kid-friendly entertainment 1:30pm on Wed. afternoons for ages 4 and up with adult in July and Aug. Tickets go on sale at 1pm on day of show.
Selected Special Events
Visit website link for complete program schedule.
Feb
          February Festivities, President's Day workshops.
Apr 2019 TBA
          Wild Earth Fest and Touch-A-Truck, 11-5, Trailside Nature & Science Center and the Loop area in Watchung Reservation.
Jul 11-Aug 22 Wednesdays
          Summer Arts Festival, outdoor concert series. Wednesday evenings at 7:30pm. July concerts at Echo Lake Park, Mountainside; August concerts at Oak Ridge Park, Clark. Yoga at 6:30pm.
Jul 17-Aug 14 Tuesdays
          Family Fun & Flix, movies and family activities on Tuesdays at 7:30pm, movie at dusk in Warinanco Park, Elizabeth. Aug. 7: National Night Out activities and film at Meisel Park, Springfield.
Aug 7
          National Night Out Family Fun & Flix, Meisel Park, Springfield.
Sep 4
          Hayrides and Campfire Tickets go on sale.
Sep 18
          Haunted Hayride Tickets, go on sale.
Sep 30
          Fall Festival, 11am-5pm.
Oct 2
          Pumpkin Sail Tickets, go on sale.
Oct 5-19
          Hayrides and Campfires, in the Reservation Fridays and Sundays in October, 6:30-9:30pm. Oct. 5 hayride in Warinanco Park, 3:30-6:30.
Oct 6, 27, 28
          Haunted Hayride, through Deserted Village. 6:30-9:30pm. Advance tickets required.
Oct 20-21
          Four Centuries in a Weekend, open house weekend for Union County's historic homes and sites. Walking tours of Deserted Village.
Nov 1
          Pumpkin Sail, music, campfire, bring your pumpkin to illuminate Echo Lake.
Dec 2
          Celebrate the Season, 3-7pm, Warinanco Sports Center.

Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge
4 Sawmill Rd, Medford, NJ 08055, 856-983-3329
         Nature Center: Mon.-Fri. 9-5, Sat. and Sun. 10-4. Adults $5, ages 4-12 $3, 3 and under free.
          A 171-acre wildlife refuge with trails, wildlife rehabilitation hospital and nature center is an ideal outing with preschoolers. Kids can explore the hands-on discovery room, reptile room, easy nature trails surrounding Cedar Run Lake that lead to an outdoor wildlife area housing over 60 residents including hawks, owls, fox, and more. School and scout programs, naturalist hikes, homeschool classes, preschool programs, mommy and me programs, summer camps and birthday parties are offered. Visit website for a schedule of events.