mcps bayshore wind sea

mcps bayshore wind seaWind & Sea Festival at Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth

LINCROFT, NJ —  From meeting a turtle to an old-fashioned harvest celebration, September is filled with family-friendly activities thanks to the Monmouth County Park System.   Here’s what is planned:

Meet a Turtle

Saturday & Sunday, September 1 & 2 at 1 p.m.
Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, Howell

Meet one of the Reservoir’s resident turtles and learn about these fascinating creatures. FREE!   

Historic Battery Lewis Tours


We treat each of our patients as part of the family at Atlantic Highlands Animal Hospital. We offer top-quality surgical and dental treatments for cats and dogs. For the best pet care in the Atlantic Highlands, NJ, call us at (732) 291-4400.

Thursday-Sunday, September 1-30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hartshorne Woods Park, Highlands – Rocky Point section
Tour the newly restored battery and learn about the history of this important former coastal defense site. Tours start on the hour. Last tour begins at 3 p.m. The site is open for tours Thursday-Sunday through October. FREE!     

Open Swim at the Fort

Saturday-Monday, September 1-3 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Fort Monmouth Recreation Area, Tinton Falls 
End the summer with a splash by keeping cool in the pool. The cost is $10 per person; $30 per family (up to four). Costs are per day; cash or check only.

Thompson Park Canoe Rentals

Saturday & Sunday, September 1 & 2 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. Fee is $15 per boat for 1-3 people for two hours; cash or check only.

Mill Demonstration

Saturday-Monday, September 1-3 from 1-4 p.m.
Saturdays & Sundays, September 8 & 9, 15 & 16, 22 & 23 and 29 & 30 from 1-4 p.m. 
Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold

See the 19th century gristmill in action. Demonstrations run through November. FREE!    

Boat Tours of the Manasquan Reservoir

Saturday-Monday, September 1-3 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 to confirm schedule as tours are both weather and water level dependent. All tours leave from the Visitor Center.

Fun and Games

Sunday & Monday, September 2 & 3 from 1-4 p.m.
Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold

End summer by playing some family-friendly historical games. FREE!  

Seabrook-Wilson House Open

Sundays, September 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 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!   

Awesome Autumn Amble

Wednesday, September 5 from 10-11:30 a.m.
Clayton Park, Upper Freehold
Wednesday, September 12 from 10-11:30 a.m.
Freneau Woods Park, Aberdeen

Explore the trails with a Park System Naturalist and discuss all manners of plant and animal phenomenon. Open to all ages; under 18 with adult. FREE!    

The Casual Birder

Thursday, September 6 at 9 a.m.
Crosswicks Creek Park, Upper Freehold

Join a Park System Naturalist for this laid-back morning bird walk and meander for about an hour. 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; under 18 with adult. FREE!    

Butterfly and Pollinator Garden Tour

Thursdays, September 6, 13, 20 & 27 at 11 a.m.
Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, Howell

Tour this special garden that is designed to provide habitat for wildlife. Tour is approximately 30 minutes and is offered weather permitting. FREE!    

Monarch Butterfly Tagging Demo

Saturdays, September 8 & 22 at 12 p.m.
Wednesdays, September 12 & September 26 at 12 p.m.  
Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, Howell

See how scientists attach small tags to Monarch butterflies’ wings and learn about their epic migration to Mexico. If you’re lucky, you may get to release a monarch on its way. Please Note: Releases are dependent on weather and availability of butterflies. Call 732-751-9453 for more information. FREE!    

Meet a Snake

Saturday & Sunday, September 8 & 9 at 1 p.m.
Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, Howell 

Meet one of the Reservoir’s resident snakes up close and learn about these creatures. FREE!    

Cookstove Demonstration

Saturdays, September 8 & 22 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

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

Bonsai Day

Sunday, September 9 from 12-4 p.m.
Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown

The Park System presents this event with the Deep Cut Bonsai Society. Experience this intricate and ancient art through demonstrations and displays, with experts on hand to answer your questions. Admission and parking are free.


Open Ceramics

Sunday, September 9 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.


Blacksmith Demonstration

Sunday, September 9 from 1-3 p.m.
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

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

9/11 Memorial Ceremony

Tuesday, September 11 at 8 a.m.
Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook, Atlantic Highlands

Join us for this remembrance ceremony.  All are welcome to attend.

Roving Naturalist

Saturday, September 15 at 9 a.m.
Huber Woods Park, Middletown
Saturday, September 29 at 9 a.m.
Thompson Park, Lincroft – Meet in the Marlu Lake 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!    

Wind & Sea Festival

Saturday, September 15 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth

Celebrate all things water-related such as kayaking, fishing, kite flying, volleyball, sandcastle building, and so much more during this family-friendly festival.  Admission and parking are free.  Some activities may have a fee.  Parking at the Belford Ferry Terminal.

Jersey Shore Rose Society Show

Saturday, September 15 from 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown

See entries for the Jersey Shore Rose Society’s Annual Rose Show. Free garden tours will be offered and consulting rosarians will be available to answer questions. FREE!    


Accordion Melodies of the 1890s

Saturday, September 15 from 1-3 p.m.
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

Hear music from yesteryear played on an accordion. FREE!    

Open House Barn Dance

Friday, September 21 from 7-9:30 p.m.
Thompson Park Activity Barn, Lincroft

Give square dancing a try during this fun, family-friendly barn dance. Open to ages 12 and up; under 18 with adult. FREE!     

Great Fall Perennial Plant Swap

Saturday, September 22 – Plant intake from 8:30-10 a.m. & Plant selection from 10-11:30 a.m.
Tatum Park, Middletown – Use Red Hill Road entrance.

Bring perennials in one-quart, one-gallon or two-gallon containers and take home the same size and number of plants. Please label all plants. Houseplants may also be exchanged, but no annuals please. FREE!   

Open Shoot Archery

Saturday, September 22 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Thompson Park Activity Barn, Lincroft

All equipment is provided for this open shoot. 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. Cost is $10 per person; cash or check only.

Climb Time

Sunday, September 23 from 1-5 p.m.
Freneau Woods Park, Aberdeen

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!   


Cornbread Contest

Sunday, September 23 at 1 p.m.
Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold

Bring a 9” x 13” pan of cornbread and a typed copy of your recipe at 1 p.m. Visitors will be able to taste and vote on their favorites at 1:30 p.m. Ribbons will be awarded at 3 p.m. FREE!               

Corny Joke Contest 

Sunday, September 23 at 2 p.m.
Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold

Tell your best family friendly jokes during this contest. FREE!       

Eek-O-Fabulous Costume Swap

Drop Off: Monday-Friday, September 24-28 from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. & Saturday, September 29 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Costume Swap:  Sunday, September 30 from 12-2 p.m.
Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Tinton Falls

Upcycle gently used kids’, adults’, and even pet costumes for a spooktacular new-to-you ensemble.  Costumes must be dropped off in advance at one of the following locations: Dorbrook Recreation Area Visitor Center, Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Huber Woods Environmental Center, Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center or Thompson Park Visitor Center.  For each costume you bring, receive a token entitling you to a “new” costume the day of the swap. FREE!     

Harvest Home Festival

Sunday, September 30 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

This old-fashioned fair is reminiscent of the 1890s. Visitors can enjoy wagon rides, games and live entertainment. There are also ongoing crafts demonstrations and a Home & Garden competition. Admission and parking are 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.

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...