MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Department of Parks and Recreation invite visitors of all ages to meet live animals, celebrate wildlife, learn about environmental conservation and try some outdoor skills at the annual Wild Earth Fest.     You won’t want to miss this exciting and educational event hosted by Trailside Nature and Science Center in Mountainside on Sunday, April 29 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine.

“The Wild Earth Fest event is an entertaining way for visitors to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados, “There is something for everyone at this special event in Union County’s largest park, the Watchung Reservation.”

New this year, the Atlantic City Aquarium will bring their spectacular traveling touch tank exhibit.  Sea and touch a variety of sea life, including, starfish, sea urchins, stingrays, horseshoe crabs and more!  Visitors are invited to learn about outdoor skills including camping, canoeing, hiking, archery, birding and nature photography.  Participants can try the 24’ rock climbing wall or go on a hike with Tri-State Ramblers at 2:00 p.m.  Swift Farms Petting Zoo will join us this year with a miniature pony, lambs, goats, baby chickens, rabbits and more.

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The performance lineup includes “Rizzo’s Reptile Discovery,” featured at noon and 3:30 p.m.  Prepare to laugh out loud as you experience the excitement of the reptile world.   Live mammals from around the world are introduced in “Mammal Mania” at 1:30 p.m.  The Wallaby Tales Traveling Zoo uses the life stories of each unique animal, their often humorous personality, fun facts and anecdotes to focus on animal behaviors and adaptations.  Vinnie Reo and his live wolf from Wolf Visions, will dispel the myths of the “Big Bad Wolf” and explain their role in keeping a balanced ecosystem at 1:00 & 2:30 p.m.  Throughout the afternoon, Magician Bill Kerwood will perform “Strolling Comedy and Magic” to entertain and delight young and old.  This unique and engaging variety show, sponsored by Union County Clean Communities, takes a magical look at the importance of recycling.

Live music performed by NRG Acoustic will highlight this year’s event.  Performing a mix of classic rock, pop, blues and country from the 1960’s to today, this popular band has been on the New Jersey cover scene since the 1980’s.  Throughout the day, food trucks, snacks and beverages will be available. Recycling Olympics, Eco-Art and face painting will round out this year’s children’s activities. 

Exhibitors include NJ Audubon Society, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ, Rizzo’s Wildlife World, USDA Wildlife Services, NJ Forestry Association, Toadshade Wildflower Farm,

NJ State Park Service, NJ Native Plant Society, Wild Birds Unlimited, Tri-state Ramblers, Hidden Pastures Alpaca Farm, NJ Forest Fire Service, Friends of the Great Swamp, Union County Master Gardeners, 4-H Master Tree Stewards, American Chestnut Foundation, NJ Department of Agriculture and more.

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Trailside Museum Association will recognize and honor the environmental heroes in our community when they announce the winners of the Environmental Hero Awards at 2:00 p.m.  

Admission is $5 per person; children 6 years and younger are free. Admission includes entrance to the “Touch A Truck” event being held concurrently in the Watchung Reservation lower loop parking lot.  No pets will be permitted to these events.

For more information about “Wild Earth Fest” or upcoming programs and events, please call 908-789-3670 or visit www.ucnj.org/trailside. 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.