mcps climbing wallPHOTO:  Try the Park System’s climbing wall.

MIDDLETOWN —  This August look for shooting stars, taste history, go on a kayak tour of the Swimming River, and more!  These are just some of the family-friendly activities that the Monmouth County Park System has planned for the month.  Here’s the schedule:


Seining Along Sandy Hook Bay

Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays, August 1-24 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth

Discover a variety of fish, crabs, and other sea creatures as Park System Naturalists pull a seine net through the calm waters of Sandy Hook Bay. Closed-toe shoes are required. Meet on the beach near the park entrance. Parents or guardians are required to stay with and supervise their children. No swimming during the event. Weather permitting. FREE!    

Boat Tours of the Manasquan Reservoir

Wednesdays, August 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. & 4 p.m.
Friday, August 3 at 6:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays & Sundays, August 4 & 5, 11 & 12, 18 & 19 and 25 & 26 at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. & 5 p.m.
Manasquan Reservoir, Howell

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 732-751-9453 to confirm schedule as tours are both weather and water level dependent. All tours leave from the Visitor Center.

Historic Battery Lewis Tours

Thursday-Sunday, August 2-31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hartshorne Woods Park, Highlands - Rocky Point section

Tour the newly restored Historic Battery Lewis and learn about the history of this important former coastal defense site. Tours start on the hour. Last tour begins at 3 p.m. FREE!   

Drop-In Kayak Tour of Swimming River

Thursday, August 2 from 1-2 p.m.
Tuesday, August 21 from 6-7 p.m.
Wednesday, August 22 from 7-8 p.m.
Swimming River Park, Middletown

Paddle down the river during these kayak nature tours. Novice paddlers welcome. All equipment is provided; both single and tandem kayaks available. First come, first served. All tours depart on time. Program limited to twelve participants. Wear appropriate clothing that can get wet. The cost is $20 per person; cash or check only. Open to ages 12 and up; under 18 with adult.


Thursday, August 2 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.   
Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth - Meet at the picnic tables by the Bay House. 
Thursday, August 9 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.    
Thompson Park, Lincroft - Meet at the Old Orchard Picnic Shelter.
Thursday, August 16 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.    
Tatum Park, Middletown - Meet in the Red Hill Activity Center parking lot.
Thursday, August 23 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.    
Shark River Park, Wall - Meet at the Shelter Building.
Thursday, August 30 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.   
Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold - Meet at the Oak Point Picnic Shelter.

Follow the Enviro-Quest signs to where the Park System Naturalist is waiting. Once there, join in nature-related activities, crafts or games for 30–60 minutes of nature fun. FREE!   

Roving Naturalist 

Saturday, August 4 at 9 a.m.
Big Brook Park, Marlboro  -  Meet in the Route 520 parking area.

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! 

Penny Rug Demonstration

Saturday, August 4 from 1-3 p.m.
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

See the art of penny rug making in action. FREE!   


Thompson Park Canoe Rentals

Saturdays & Sundays, August 4 & 5 and 18 & 19 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. All rentals must be returned by 3 p.m. The cost is $15 per boat for 1-3 people for two hours; cash or check only.

Mill Demonstration

Saturdays & Sundays, August 4 & 5, 11 & 12, 18 & 19 and 25 & 26 from 1-4 p.m.
Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold

See the 19th century gristmill in action. FREE!   

Look! I’m Sailing!

Sunday, August 5 - Sailboats leave from the Visitor Center dock between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.  
Manasquan Reservoir, Howell 

We'll provide the captain, you provide the crew. Limited number of boats; maximum three people per boat. Open to ages 5 and up, under 18 with adult. The cost per boat is $25 for 30 minutes; $40 for 1 hour; cash or check only.

Climb Time

Sunday, August 5 from 12-4 p.m.
Thompson Park, Lincroft

Try the Park System’s 25’ portable climbing wall. Climbers must be 42” or taller and age 8 or older; under 18 with adult. FREE!    


Open Ceramics

Sunday, August 5 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.

A Taste of History – Ice Cream

Sunday, August 5 at 3 p.m.
Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold

Help crank, and then consume, several ice cream batches made from historic recipes. FREE!   

Seabrook-Wilson House Open

Sundays, August 5, 12, 19 & 26 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!   

Tidal Tuesdays

Tuesdays, August 7, 14, 21 & 28 at 11 a.m.
Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area, Manasquan

Join a Park System Naturalist to discover exciting things about nature and our coastal habitats. Each week take part in a different activity such as meeting creatures living in the water that we find in our seine net or creating crafts from natural materials found along the shore. Programs run for about 30-60 minutes. For details on the activity for the week, please call 732-751-9453. FREE!  

Superb Summer Saunter

Friday, August 10 from 10-11:30 a.m.      
Manasquan Reservoir, Howell - Meet in the Environmental Center parking lot.
Friday, August 17 from 10-11:30 a.m.   
Perrineville Lake Park, Millstone - Meet in the Agress Road parking lot.

Engage your curiosity as you explore the trails with a Park System Naturalist. FREE!   

Cookstove Demonstration

Saturdays, August 11 & 25 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.   
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

Visit the summer kitchen and see what's cooking on the woodstove. FREE!   

Blacksmith Demonstration

Sunday, August 12 from 1-3 p.m.
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

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

Eco-Elephant Family Flea Market

Saturday, August 18 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Dorbrook Recreation Area, Colts Neck

Browse vendors at this outdoor market for the one-of-a-kind item you did not even think you needed. Admission and parking are free.

Accordion Melodies of the 1890s  

Saturday, August 18 from 1-3 p.m.

Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel
Hear music from yesteryear played on an accordion. FREE!  


Potato Harvest

Saturday & Sunday, August 18 & 19 from 12-2 p.m.
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

Help the staff bring in the potato crop. Stop by the summer kitchen for some 19th century inspiration on how to prepare them. FREE!     

The Casual Birder

Thursday, August 23 at 9 a.m.
Manasquan Reservoir, Howell - Meet in the Environmental Center parking lot.

Join a Park System Naturalist for this laid-back morning bird walk. 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 11 and up; under 16 with adult. FREE!   

Nature Lecture Series - Striped Bass: Scales and Tales of a Favorite Fish

Thursday, August 23 from 7-8 p.m.
Bayshore Waterfront Park Activity Center, Port Monmouth

Join a Park System Naturalist for an enlightening and fun-filled program on striped bass, the myths surrounding them, and their importance to our local aquatic environment. FREE!   

Starry Night Hike

Saturday, August 25 from 8-9 p.m.
Freneau Woods Park, Aberdeen - Meet in the parking lot located near the Visitor Center.

Look for constellations, cloud formations, moon phases, and maybe even a shooting star during this night hike with a Park System Naturalist. Please bring a flashlight and dress for the weather.  Open to ages 8 and up; under 18 with adult. FREE!     

Open Shoot Archery

Sunday, August 26 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Thompson Park Activity Barn, Lincroft

All equipment is provided. No outside equipment permitted. This is not an instructional clinic and NOT designed for beginners. Open to ages 10 and up; under 18 with adult. The cost is $10 per person; cash or check only.

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.