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February Festivities Planned For Trailside

Adults and children enjoyed warming up around a campfire, toasting marshmallows and sipping hot chocolate as part of Trailside Nature and Science Center’s February Festivities programs.

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders presents special programs for families during the Presidents’ Day Holiday.  Programs are recommended for families with children ages five and up.  

“February Festivities at Trailside offers educational and imaginative programs to delight people of all ages,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “Have fun and be entertained while learning about maple sugaring, recycling, our Earth, kindling kits and our animal neighbors of the Watchung Reservation.” 

A new online registration system designed to make access to our Parks and Recreation services easy and convenient has been adopted.  Register online at to create an account and password.

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Highlighting Presidents’ Day on Monday, February 20 at 1:30 p.m. is a matinee entitled Professor W.’s Earth Science Circus presented by the Grand Falloons and sponsored by Union County Clean Communities.  Adults and children will enjoy magic, juggling and exciting circus fun with an abundance of audience participation as Professor W. takes them on a unique and lively exploration of “our earth.”   The program is recommended for children four and up.  Space is limited and tickets go on sale at 1:00 p.m. Monday, February 20 at the Visitor Service Desk.  No strollers please.  The fee is $5.00 per person and $4.00 for seniors. 

On February 20, visitors will have the opportunity to meet “Curby,” Union County’s new, fun and interactive Recycling Robot from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. in Trailside’s lobby.  Curby is a fully animated robot that moves, speaks, listens and plays music!  Enjoy learning how you and your family can become more environmentally aware and help to prevent litter.

The Journey of Sap to Syrup meets 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 18 or Monday, February 20.  Learn the process of how 100% real maple syrup is made from the sap of the sugar maple tree.   Find out what equipment is needed to collect sap and take a walk to see a tapped sugar maple tree.  Take part in a taste test to see if you can identify the real thing. 

Animal Clue Winter Walk and Campfire, is offered 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 18 or Monday, February 20.  Have fun learning to identify birds and other animals at the Backyard Wildlife Habitat feeders.  Challenge your natural history skills on a winter walk in search of animal tracks, nibbled twigs and other signs that tell us our animal neighbors have visited.  Conclude your outdoor investigation around a warm campfire with hot chocolate and marshmallows.

Featured on Saturday, February 18 from 1:30 2:30 p.m. is a Kindling Kit workshop. Keeping warm by an open fire has a lot of appeal, but getting the blaze going can be tough.  Participants will learn how to start a fire blazing with tinder and kindling.  Work with your family to gather sticks, twigs, holly, evergreen sprigs and pine cones to create a kit that is both decorative and useful to get a fire started. 

The fee for The Journey of Sap to Syrup, Animal Clue Winter Walk and Kindling Kits is $5/person for residents of Union County and $6/person for out-of-county residents.  For additional information about programs offered during February Festivities, winter workshops and special events, please call 908-789-3670 or visit Trailside Nature and Science Center is located at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside and is a service of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

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