June 14, 2014 at 7:42 AM
As the summer vacation season begins, Union County is once again offering a full slate of warm-weather activities for children and adults in our parks, so you can enjoy a relaxing getaway without the hassle of travel and traffic.
This year there are several new additions, all with the goal of making our recreation facilities as accessible and enjoyable as possible.
At the Watchung Reservation in Mountainside, a major overhaul of the Loop playground has been completed. The largest playground in Union County, the Loop has a cooling “mister” water feature and a shaded pavilion along with new play equipment.
The Loop also includes picnic areas and wide open grassy spaces for group play, and it is handy to miles of hiking trails in the forest.
For a wet-weather activity, our Trailside Nature and Science Center is a short walk across from the Loop, with free admission daily and special programs all year.
In another newly completed project, parking access has been significantly improved at the Glenside Avenue soccer field in Summit, thanks to a joint effort by the public works departments of Summit and Union County.
Renovation of the playground at Warinanco Park in the Roselle/Elizabeth/Linden area is also nearing completion. This nicely shaded playground features spray-play, and it is just a short walk away from a lake and paddle boat concession.
At the other end of Warinanco Park you can catch a glimpse of the future. Construction has started on a new facility that will restore the park to one of its original uses as a gathering spot for stadium sports events.
Plans are well under way for additional athletic field improvements at other County parks, too, as well as restoration of the historic Briant Park in Summit.
This summer will also mark the first season for a pilot program designed to bring free Internet connectivity to our parks.
We are kicking the program off with free Wi-Fi at our Wheeler Pool in Linden and our Ulrich Pool at the Rahway River Park in Rahway. We will make an announcement as soon as the Wi-Fi goes “live,” which we expect shortly, as the pools open for the season.
Free Wi-Fi will also be coming to the playground area at Nomahegan Park in Cranford, the Trailside Nature and Science Center, and the Skating Center at Warinanco Park. We’ll keep you up to date on that progress, too.
As for our traditional Union County summertime favorites, we have put the finishing touches on the lineup for our Summer Arts Festival and Family Flix series of free outdoor concerts and movies, both of which start in July.
I’d also like to draw your attention to our growing roster of programs for children and adults with disabilities, and to the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, which offers live performances and film in climate controlled comfort in our beautifully restored 1920’s-era theater.
For all the latest events, activities and updates, visit us at ucnj.org/parks, call 908-527-4900, or follow Union County on Facebook.
Please note: The level of Lake Surprise in Watchung Reservation has been temporarily lowered in order to reconstruct the 1845-era dam and bring it up to federal safety standards. Please visit ucnj.org/parks for a complete list of other County parks where fishing and boating are permitted.
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