Perhaps the loveliest month of the year, May is the perfect time to enjoy your county parks. From nature walks to the Decoration Day Celebration, the Monmouth County Park System fills the month with fun. Here’s what’s planned:
Spring Migration Madness Birding Walk
Thursday, May 4 from 9-10 a.m. and Wednesday, May 10 from 9-10 a.m. Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth
Search the woodland edges and beachfront to see what avian gems we can find during this exciting time of year. No need to be an expert. A limited number of binoculars will be available to borrow. Please dress for the weather and wear closed-toe shoes. Open to adults. FREE!
Spring Native Plant Swap
Saturday, May 6, Plant intake from 8:30-10 a.m. Plant selection starts at 10 a.m. Tatum Park, Middletown – Use Red Hill Road entrance.
Calling all native plant enthusiasts! Bring established plants in one-quart, one-gallon or two-gallon containers to exchange for plants in like sizes. Only plants native to the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States will be accepted. Please label all plants. FREE!
Saturday, May 6 from 1-3 p.m. Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel
View the lost art of applying decorative designs with a needle and thread. Be inspired by the various stitches and embellishments to create a beautiful piece of clothing or decoration for the home. FREE!
Historic Battery Lewis Tours
Saturday, May 6 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday, May 7 from 12-5 p.m. Historic Battery Lewis – Rocky Point section of Hartshorne Woods Park, Highlands
Tour the restored Historic Battery Lewis and learn about the history of this important former coastal defense site. FREE!
Saturday & Sunday, May 6 & 7 from 12-4:30 p.m. Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel
Explore some of our favorite “hands-on” items at the farm. Some of the unique items in our collections will also be on display for close-up, visual inspection only. FREE!
Historic Portland Place Tours
Saturday & Sunday, May 6 & 7 at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays, May 10-14, 17-21 and 24-28 at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. & 2:30 p.m.
Portland Place, Hartshorne Woods Park, Locust
Tour this beautifully restored 18th century house with exhibits that help tell the story of the region’s history and the Hartshorne family legacy in Monmouth County. Tours are limited to 10 persons and may be suspended during inclement weather. Register on site at the Portland Place Visitor Center day of tour. FREE!
Saturdays & Sundays, May 6 & 7, 13 & 14, 20 & 21 and 27 & 28 at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold
See the 19th century gristmill in action. Each demonstration lasts approximately 15 minutes. FREE!
Boat Tours of the Manasquan Reservoir
Saturdays & Sundays, May 6 & 7, 13 & 14, 20 & 21, 27 & 28 and Monday, May 29 at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. & 5 p.m. Manasquan Reservoir, Howell
These 45-minute tours are narrated by Park System Naturalists and include opportunities to view local wildlife. The cost is $6 per adult and $4 per child, age 12 and under. Please call to confirm schedule as tours are both weather and water level dependent. All tours leave from the Visitor Center. Life-jackets required. Tickets can be purchased on day of tour only.
Splendid Spring Stroll
Thursday, May 11 from 10-11:30 a.m. Huber Woods Park, Middletown – Meet in the Environmental Center parking lot.
Join a Park System Naturalist on a peaceful trail walk through the park. Sturdy footwear is recommended as trails used may have inclines or tree roots to step over. FREE! Creative Arts Festival Saturday, May 13 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thompson Park, Lincroft See the works of artists and fine crafters from all mediums including pottery, jewelry and painting. Admission and parking are free.
Saturdays, May 13 & 27 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!
Sunday, May 14 from 12-3 p.m. Freneau Woods Park, Aberdeen Thursday, May 18 from 3-6 p.m. Clayton Park Activity Center, Upper Freehold. Bring the grandkids to try the Park System’s 25’ portable climbing wall. You must be 42” or taller to climb. Open to ages 8 and up; under 18 with adult. FREE!
Shark River Family Hike
Tuesday, May 16 from 5-7 p.m. Shark River Park, Wall – Meet in the Schoolhouse Road parking lot.
Explore a moderate hiking trail while learning about the park and how to interpret trail maps. Dress for the weather and wear sturdy hiking shoes. Weather permitting. The cost is $5 per person; cash or check.
Tuesday, May 16 at 9 a.m. Hartshorne Woods Park – Meet in the Rocky Point parking lot in Highlands.
Tuesday, May 23 at 9 a.m. Manasquan Reservoir, Howell – Meet in the Visitor Center parking lot.
Join a Park System Naturalist for a laid-back morning bird walk and meander through the park for about an hour and a half to see what birds we can find. Participants should expect to be walking a few miles (2-4) on sometimes uneven or muddy terrain. No need to be an expert at identifying birds to enjoy. A limited number of binoculars will be available to borrow if needed. FREE!
Nature Lecture Series: Horseshoe Crabs Trying to Survive in a Modern World
Thursday, May 18 from 7-8 p.m. Bayshore Waterfront Park Activity Center, Port Monmouth
Discover why the population of horseshoe crabs is declining, what people are doing to protect the crab through research, and what you can do to help. FREE!
19th Century Woodworking Demonstration
Saturday, May 20 from 12-3 p.m. Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel
See how a woodworker studies his materials, plies his tools, and crafts beautiful and functional items. FREE! Accordion Melodies of the 1890s Saturday, May 20 from 1-3 p.m. Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel Hear melodies of the 1890s played on the accordion. FREE!
Sunday, May 21 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold
Spend a day celebrating 200 years of Waln history with demonstrations, music and wagon rides. FREE!
Plant a Sunflower
Sunday, May 21 from 12-2:30 p.m. Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel
Help the staff plant this year’s sunflower field. Then return in the fall and harvest one to bring home. FREE!
Thompson Park Canoe Rentals
Saturday & Sunday, May 27 & 28 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Thompson Park, Lincroft
Canoes will be available for rent on Marlu Lake. All equipment provided; limited number of canoes available. Open to all ages; under 18 with adult. All rentals must be returned by 3 p.m. Fee is $15 per boat for 1-3 people for two hours. Cash or check only.
Decoration Day Celebration
Monday, May 29 from 12-3 p.m. Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel
Enjoy the good company of family and friends as we honor this early American holiday. FREE!
To learn more about these Park System activities, visit www.MonmouthCountyParks.com or call the Park System at 732-842-4000. For persons with hearing impairment, the Park System TTY/TDD number is 711.