mcps woods walk

mcps woods walkphoto:  Explore the great outdoors during a nature walk this January.

LINCROFT – Resolve to spend more time in the parks this year!  It’s never been easier thanks to all the great family-friendly activities the Monmouth County Park System has planned for the month.   Here’s the schedule:

Roving Naturalist

Saturday, January 4 at 9 a.m. 
Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold – Meet in the main parking lot.  

Join our Roving Naturalist for a leisurely 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 and snow are not deterrents. FREE!   

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Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean in residency at Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park
Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean at Langosta


Yarn Bee

Saturday, January 4 from 12-2:30 p.m.
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

Whether starting a new hobby or working on an old project, all are welcome to this gathering. Knit or crochet at your own pace, and farm staff will be on hand to assist those learning. Bring your own supplies or borrow ours for the session. Open to ages 10 and up; under 18 with adult. The cost is $5 per person; cash or check only.


Open Ceramics

Sunday, January 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.


Wondrous Winter Walk

Wednesday, January 8 from 10-11:30 a.m.   
Big Brook Park, Marlboro – Meet in the parking lot.
Wednesday, January 22 from 10-11:30 a.m.  
Thompson Park, Lincroft – Meet in the Old Orchard parking lot.  

Toss on your winter gear and tag along with a Park System Naturalist as you explore nature in the wintertime. Open to all ages; under 18 with adult. Please note that sturdy footwear recommended; trails used may have inclines or tree roots to step over. FREE!   

Winter Beach Walk

Wednesday, January 8 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. 
Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area, Manasquan

Take a guided walk with a Park System Naturalist along the beach while collecting and identifying some of the ocean’s natural treasures. Make sure you dress in warm clothing and bring along something to carry shells. FREE!   


The Casual Birder

Thursday, January 9 at 9 a.m. 

Manasquan Reservoir, Howell – Meet in the Environmental Center parking lot.
Thursday, January 23 at 9 a.m. 
Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, Long Branch – Meet at the Pavilion.  

Join a Park System Naturalist for a laid-back morning bird walk. We’ll meander through the park for about an hour and a half to 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. We will go even with light rain or snow, so please come dressed for the weather. FREE!   


Cutting, Splitting and Hewing

Saturday, January 11 from 12-2:30 p.m.
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

See the farm staff prepare firewood and learn about the tools they use. Open to adults. FREE!  


Seashore Open House

Sunday, January 12 from 1-4 p.m.  
Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park Activity Center, Long Branch

Enjoy seashore fun, light refreshments, and hands-on activities that will entertain and educate you and your family about the shore and the sea. Speak with a Park System Naturalist about your own shell collection or the aquatic animals on display. You can even create a beach keepsake to take with you. FREE!   


Presentation: An Introduction to Lenape People

Thursday, January 16 from 7-8 p.m. 
Freneau Woods Park Visitor Center, Aberdeen   

Learn via a PowerPoint presentation about local native people. Discover the daily life, beliefs and history of a people that once lived in New Jersey, southeastern New York, eastern Pennsylvania, and northern Delaware at the time of European exploration and colonization.  Open to adults. FREE!  


Cookstove Demonstration

Saturday, January 18 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

See what’s cooking on the woodstove and discover how recipes, cooking techniques and kitchens have changed since the 1890s. FREE!   


Open Shoot Archery

Sunday, January 19 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Thompson Park Activity Barn, Lincroft

All equipment is provided for this open shoot. 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. 


School’s Out Drop-In Day

Monday, January 20 from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Tinton Falls

Enjoy Science Exploration Stations, Take Home Kids Creations and Building Fun during this self-guided program open to ages 5-10 with adult. The cost is $5 per child; cash or check only.


Parlor Games for Wintry Weather

Saturday, January 25 from 12-2:30 p.m.
Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

Play forgotten 1890s games like Halma and Basilinda, or old-time favorites like Backgammon, Checkers and Reversi. Open to ages 6 and up. 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...