County parks offer fun for all

FREEHOLD, NJ – There is a whole lot to enjoy in the great outdoors this winter and the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds residents that with or without snow, they should visit and enjoy their county parks.

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“Layer your clothes, put on your hat and gloves and some sturdy walking shoes and head out to a county park this winter,” Freeholder Lillian G. Burry said. “There is so much to do and see and we want residents to enjoy their parks all year long.”

With all of the snow that has fallen this winter, the Holmdel Park sledding hill has been a busy place. As long as there’s more than two inches of snow on the hill, it is open for business Sunday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Or, get out your cross-country skis and hit the park fields and trails. Hone your cross-country skills at Clayton, Hartshorne Woods, Holmdel, Huber Woods, Shark River, Tatum, Thompson, and Turkey Swamp parks. Be sure to stay on the designated and marked trails. Cross-country skiing is available during regular park hours of 8 a.m. to dusk.

When it’s been cold enough for long enough, ice skating is available on park ponds at Holmdel,  Shark River, and Turkey Swamp parks. When the ice measures more than five inches of uniform thickness, the ice is considered safe for skating. Hours at these parks are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Manasquan Reservoir also offers ice skating when the ice reaches five inches of thickness; the hours are 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily.

For the information about all these winter activities call 732-842-4000, extension 36. For persons with hearing impairment, the TTY/TDD number is 711.

Remember, just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you have to stay in. There are plenty of things to do – bird watch, visit a playground, hike, in-line skate or bike. Kids love bundling up for a winter’s nature hike. Create a list for a scavenger hunt to hold their interest. Youngsters may enjoy bringing a magnifying glass along and taking a closer look at pine cones and stones. Layer your clothes, don your hat and gloves and enjoy the fresh air.

The Monmouth County Park System, created by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, is Monmouth County’s open space, parks, and recreation agency.