The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders presents special programs for families during the Presidents’ Day Holiday on Saturday, Febr. 17, and Monday, Feb. 19. 

“February Festivities at Trailside offers educational and imaginative programs to delight people of all ages,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “This year we are excited to welcome Mad Science of New Jersey with their entertaining, engaging and hands-on workshops.”   

Highlighting Presidents’ Day on Monday, Feb. 19, is Mad Science of New Jersey.  Children ages 8-12 are invited to join a professional teacher from the Mad Science team to discover how much fun science can be.

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Through hands-on demonstrations, unique equipment and animated instructors, children will enjoy investigating chemical reactions in Chem in a Flash offered at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Chem in a Flash permits young scientists to perform instantaneous experiments and witness split second reactions.

Children can also explore the farthest reaches of the solar system, create a lunar eclipse and build and take home Kepler’s Cube, a fun and educational 3-D Solar System puzzle during Planets and Moons also offered at 1 and 2 p.m. on February 19. You can enroll your child in back to back sessions for an exciting, super science filled afternoon.

Longer days and patterns of freezing and thawing signal the beginning of another maple sugaring season. Each year for a period of only four to six weeks the sap of the sugar maple tree is collected and turned into syrup. This year, Trailside celebrates The Journey of Sap to Syrup on Saturday, Feb. 17 and Monday, Feb. 19 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Learn how 100 percent 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. 

Outrageous Owls, offered on Saturday, Feb. 17 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., investigates the habits and habitat of these secretive, nocturnal animals. Listen to calls of the screech, great horned and barred owls.  Learn about the special adaptations these birds have that make them successful hunters.

Families are invited to work together and challenge their 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. Animal Clue Winter Walk and Campfire is offered 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17. 

Trailside is offering a special arts and crafts workshop Winter Art Extravaganza for all ages on Monday, Feb. 19 any time between 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Parents and their children are invited to drop in and use their artistic abilities to celebrate the season. Winter and snow will be the inspiration for this afternoon’s craft session. 

Pre-registration is required for programs as space is limited. Walk-ins will be accommodated as space permits. The fee for Chem in a Flash and Planets and Moons is $10/ child for residents of Union County and $12/child for out-of-county residents.The fee for The Journey of Sap to Syrup, Animal Clue Winter Walk & Campfire and Outrageous Owls is $5/person for residents of Union County and $6/person for out-of-county residents. The fee for the Winter Art & Crafts Extravaganza is $5/child for residents of Union County and $6/child 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 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.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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