rock wall climbLINCROFT — Now that April showers have brought May flowers, it’s the perfect time to enjoy a county park.  From The Casual Birder to the Decoration Day Celebration, the Monmouth County Park System is bursting with activity.  Here’s what is planned:


The Legacy of Hartshorne Woods in the Highlands

Thursday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Thompson Park Visitor Center, Lincroft

Come learn how Hartshorne Woods Park was born and how the park has preserved one of Monmouth County’s greatest natural and historical legacies during this lecture by Gail L. Hunton. FREE!    


The Casual Birder

Thursday, May 4 at 9 a.m.
Manasquan Reservoir in Howell - Meet in front of the Visitor Center's bait shop.
Thursday, May 18 at 9 a.m.
Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold

Join a Park System Naturalist for this laid-back morning bird walk. We’ll meander for about an hour and see what birds we can find. No need to be an expert at identifying birds to enjoy this walk. A limited number of binoculars will be available to borrow if needed. Open to ages 8 and up. FREE!      

Roving Naturalist 

Saturday, May 6 at  9 a.m.
Dorbrook Recreation Area, Colts Neck - Meet in the soccer fields’ parking lot.
Saturday, May 20 at 9 a.m.
Charleston Springs Golf Course, Millstone - Meet in the Stone Bridge Trail parking lot.

Join our Roving Naturalist for a walk and discuss seasonal points of interest, search for signs of wildlife, and identify a bird or two. This is a 1.5-2 hour program, but feel free to join in or drop out at any point. Dress for the weather as light rain is not a deterrent. FREE!       

Surprise Story Time

Saturday, May 6 from 11-11:45 a.m.
Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown

Join us for a reading from a nature or garden-related book. If the weather is nice, look for the clue at the Horticultural Center's entrance that leads to the secret spot. If it’s rainy or cold, we’ll be inside. Recommended for ages 4-7. FREE!          

Seashore Scientist

Saturday, May 6 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park Activity Center, Long Branch

Explore different aspects of oceanography through interactive discussions and hands-on experiments. FREE!        

Mill Demonstrations 

Saturdays & Sundays, May 6 & 7, 13 & 14, 20 & 21 and 27 & 28 from 1-4 p.m.
Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold

See the 19th century gristmill in action. FREE!          

Creative Arts & Music Festival

Saturday, May 6 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Thompson Park, Lincroft

See the works of fine artists from all mediums including pottery, jewelry, photography and painting.  The festival will also feature food and music.  Admission and parking are free.

A Quilting Bee

Saturday, May 6 from 1-4 p.m.
Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold

Share stories and needlework tips during this gathering. All levels welcome. FREE!          

Bayshore Fishing Derby

Saturday, May 6 from 3-6 p.m.
Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth

Bring your fishing poles, tackle and bait to compete in this derby.  Prizes are awarded for the longest fish caught in three different age categories. Only fishing from the beach is allowed. The cost is $8 per person; $4 per additional person; cash or check only.

Boat Tours of the Manasquan Reservoir  

Saturday & Sunday, May 6 & 7, 13 & 14 and 20 & 21 at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. & 5 p.m.
Saturday-Monday, May 27-29 at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. & 5 p.m.
Manasquan Reservoir, Howell - Tours leave from the Visitor Center.

These 45-minute tours are narrated by Park System Naturalists and include opportunities to view local wildlife. The cost is $6 per adult and $4 per child, age 12 and under. Please call to confirm schedule as tours are both weather and water level dependent.

Open Ceramics  

Sunday, May 7 from 12:30-4:30 p.m.
Thompson Park Creative Arts Center, Lincroft

Choose from a large selection of bisque fired pottery pieces to glaze and make your own. Children age 12 and under are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult. The cost is $6 per hour plus price of bisque ware; cash or check only. Pieces will be fired in about a week.

Seabrook-Wilson House Tours  

Sundays, May 7, 14, 21 & 28 from 1-4 p.m.
Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth

Visit this house, which dates back to the early 1700s, and see displays on the ecology of the bay and local history. FREE!         

National Public Gardens Day  

Friday, May 12 from 2-8 p.m.
Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown
The Park System is pleased to join this nationwide celebration with free activities. Enjoy a guided tour or explore the gardens on your own, get answers to your garden/landscape questions and earth-friendly garden tips, sit in on a raised bed gardening demo, try your hand at a scavenger hunt, and pick up some seeds to plant at home. Open to all ages, under 18 with adult. FREE!      

Spring Livestock Expo 

Saturday, May 13 from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. 
Thompson Park, Lincroft     

Hosted in conjunction with Monmouth County 4-H Livestock Club, this annual event features animals, games and crafts. FREE! 

Felting Demonstration 

Saturday, May 13 from 1-3 p.m. 
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

Learn about the process of felting wool during this demonstration. FREE!           

Blacksmith Demonstration

Sunday, May 14 from 1-3 p.m.
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

Come see what the Blacksmith is making in his workshop. FREE!      

Climb Time

Sunday, May 14 from 12-4 p.m.  
Dorbrook Recreation Area, Colts Neck
Try our 25’ portable climbing wall. This is a great opportunity to experience the sport of rock climbing close to home. Climbers must be 42” or taller and age 8 or older (under 18 with adult). Weather permitting. FREE!       

Butterfly Walk

Wednesday, May 17 at 10:30 a.m.  
Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown   
Wednesday, May 31 at 10:30 a.m.
Clayton Park, Upper Freehold

Join a Park System Naturalist for a walk to identify butterflies. Walk may be a mile or more. Open to ages 7 and up, under 18 with adult. FREE!      

Nature Lecture Series: Sea Turtle Recovery Along the Jersey Shore  

Thursday, May 18 from 7-8 p.m. 
Bayshore Waterfront Park Activity Center, Port Monmouth

Find out which sea turtles call the Jersey Shore home and ways to help these endangered and threatened pelagic animals during this talk by staff from Sea Turtle Recovery, a new non-profit group in South Jersey dedicated to the rehabilitation, preservation and conservation of these creatures. FREE!          

Embroidery Demonstration

Saturday, May 20 from 1-3 p.m.
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

See this delicate craft demonstrated. FREE!          

Accordion Melodies of the 1890s

Saturday, May 20 from 1-3 p.m.

Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

Hear music from yesteryear played on an accordion.  FREE!

Cookstove Demonstration

Saturday, May 20 from 12:30-3 p.m.
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

Watch the farm staff fire up the cookstove and prepare a dish as it would have been done in the 1890s. FREE!        

7 Prez SK8 Jam  

Saturday, May 20 at 10 a.m.
Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, Long Branch  

Join us for this amateur skateboarding contest at the park’s Skateplex. Local skateboard and food vendors will be on hand.

Open Shoot Archery  

Saturday, May 20 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Thompson Park Activity Barn, Lincroft
Join us for this open shoot. All equipment is provided. No outside equipment permitted. This offering is designed for experienced archers. Open to ages 10 and up (under 18 with adult). Cost is $10 per person; cash or check only.

Walnford Day   

Sunday, May 21 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold

Join us for this annual celebration featuring milling demonstrations, hands-on activities, games, exhibits and displays. FREE!      

Celebrate Biodiversity Day 

Monday, May 22 from 7-8 p.m.
Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth

Join Park System Naturalists and explore the tidal shores and wetlands of the park. Please dress to get dirty and wear old shoes; no flip flops. FREE!

Thompson Park Canoe Rentals 

Saturday & Sunday, May 27 & 28 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Thompson Park, Lincroft

Canoes will be available for rent on Marlu Lake. All equipment provided; limited number of canoes available. Open to ages 3 and up, under 18 with adult. The cost is $15 per boat for 1-3 people for two hours; cash or check only.

Decoration Day Celebration

Monday, May 29 from 12-3 p.m.
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

Join in the celebration as the farm staff enjoys an old-fashioned Decoration Day. FREE!

To learn more about these Park System activities, please visit or call the Park System at 732-842-4000. For persons with hearing impairment, the Park System TTY/TDD number is 711. The Monmouth County Park System, created in 1960 by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, is Monmouth County’s Open Space, Parks and Recreation agency.