STATE PARKS SYSTEM OFFER SLATE OF FAMILY FRIENDLY NATURE ACTIVITIES, HISTORY PROGRAMS IN JANUARY, FEBRUARY
HIKES, TOURS AND NATURE EXPLORATION HIGHLIGHT WINTER CALENDAR
(18/P006) TRENTON – Several state parks are offering a variety of outdoor events through February for children and adults that promote nature, exercise and New Jersey’s rich history with George Washington.
The wide-ranging activities showcase the diverse programming offered at parks across the state.
During January and February, families can choose from outdoor hikes to children-focused nature exploration programs and more. Several parks also have activities planned during Presidents’ Week to mark Washington’s 286th birthday, and the significant contributions he made while fighting the British in New Jersey during the American Revolution.
Plenty of winter activities are planned at parks throughout the state, with multiple programs scheduled at High Point and Kittatinny Valley state parks, both in Sussex County. Call (973) 875-1471 to register for High Point programs. Call (973) 786-6445 to register for Kittatinny programs.
HIGH POINT STATE PARK
Fledgling Naturalists: Hands-on activities will give children ages 2 to 5, with an adult partner, an opportunity to explore nature through games, stories and crafts. For the afternoon sessions, arrive between 1 and 1:30 p.m. for free play and coffee, which will be provided. Each adult is limited to a maximum of two children (infants not included; exceptions may be made for parents of multiples). Registration is required by 4 p.m. the day before the program.
Jan. 25 and Feb. 8: 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Jan. 26 and Feb. 9: 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Fee: $5 per adult/child pair; $2 for additional siblings ages 2 to 5.
Nature in Winter Walk: A guide and participants will look for tracks and evidence of wintering wildlife, as well as dormant trees, plants, insects and more. A limited number of snowshoes in child and adult sizes are available, and must be reserved by 4 p.m. the Friday before each walk. Locations will vary.
Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24: 10:30 a.m. to noon
Fee: $2 per person for the walk; $5 per person to borrow snowshoes.
KITTATINNY VALLEY STATE PARK
16th Annual Hot Chocolate Hike/Snowshoe: Go on a brisk hike or snowshoe for adults in the winter woods of Kittatinny, then warm up with a cup of hot chocolate and cookies at the visitor center.
Jan. 27: 10 a.m. to noon
Fee: $5. Preregistration is required.
Winter Wonders: Stories, finger plays and crafts are used during this indoor program to help youngsters develop an awareness and appreciation of nature. For children ages 4 and 5, with adult caregivers. Preregistration is required.
Feb. 3: 11 a.m. to noon
Fee: $5 for adults; free for children younger than 6
Owls, Hunters of the Night: A slideshow featuring plenty of details about owls, followed by a short outdoor “Owl Prowl.” For adults and children ages 6 and older. Preregistration is required.
Feb. 3: 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Fee: $5 for adults and children age 12 and older; $3 for children ages 6 to 11.
Backyard Bird Feeding: Adults and children ages 6 and older will learn to identify winter birds and how to attract them to a home yard through an activity to make a pine cone and peanut butter bird feeder.
Feb. 10: 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Fee: $10 through preregistration; $15 day-of/walk-in.
Other events at state parks include:
Groundhog’s Day Celebration: Funny books and hands-on activities will be used to teach children ages 3 to 9 about hibernation and how wildlife survives during cold months. Preregistration is required for the free event. Call (609) 397-2949.
Feb. 3: 1 p.m., Bull’s Island Recreation Area, Park Office, Hunterdon County.
Jack Frost Hike: A hike along the Cushetunk Trail at Round Valley Recreation Area in Hunterdon County is set for children and adults to learn the do’s and don’ts of hiking. Bring snowshoes if the ground is snow-covered.
Feb. 3: 10 a.m. to noon. Meet at the South Park Lot. Call (908) 236-6355.
Fee: $3 for children ages 12 and older; $1 for children ages 6 to 11.
Nature Craft Saturday Animal Tracks: Learn to identify some common animal tracks at Spruce Run Recreation Area in Hunterdon County, while the group makes a tracking booklet. Prints will be made with paint on paper, or participants may bring a plain T-shirt or pillow case on which to make prints. Space is limited and preregistration is required. Call (908) 638-8572 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Feb. 10: 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Spruce Run Recreation Area Park Office.
Fee: $3 per person plus materials fee. Payment required by 2 p.m. Feb. 9 at the park office.
In addition to its slate of winter activities, the state parks system will honor George Washington through several educational programs and events to celebrate the nation’s Founding Father for Presidents’ Day.
This year, the state and federal holiday, observed the third Monday in February, is Feb. 19.
Monmouth Battlefield State Park in Monmouth County will present “George Washington at Monmouth” at 2 p.m. on Feb. 11 at the Visitor Center Auditorium. Call (732) 462-9616.
On Feb. 17, a free video biography, “George Washington: Founding Father,” will be presented at 2 p.m. in the Visitor Center Museum at Washington Crossing State Park in Mercer County. Call (609) 737-0623.
The park on Feb. 18 will host a birthday celebration from 1 to 4 p.m., featuring music, baking, quill pen writing, colonial toys and games, woodshop skills and more at the Johnson Ferry House. Call (609) 737-2515.
Allaire State Park in Monmouth County will host a free program from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 18 in the chapel at the Historic Allaire Village to celebrate Washington’s birthday. Call (732) 919-3500.
D&R Canal State Park will host a birthday party for Washington from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 24 at the park’s Rockingham State Historic Site in Somerset County. Tours of the historic house will include timeline facts of Washington’s life. Cake, punch and a birthday toast will be offered. A $5 donation is suggested, and preregistration is required. Call (609) 683-7132.
To view the full State Parks calendar for January and February, visit: http://nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/calendar/index.html
To learn more about New Jersey’s Parks, Forests and Historic Sites, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/
Like the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/newjerseystateparks
Follow the New Jersey State Park Service on Instagram @newjerseystateparks
Visitors can sign up for a monthly email digest of state park events and programs here: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/NJDEP/subscriber/new