Central N.J. springs to life

By KAYLA J. MARSH
Staff Writer

 Veronica Walsh, 4, of Holmdel, is intent on coloring an egg with natural dyes during an event at Poricy Park Conservancy, Middletown, on March 22. The park will host day camps during spring break in April.  SCOTT FRIEDMAN Veronica Walsh, 4, of Holmdel, is intent on coloring an egg with natural dyes during an event at Poricy Park Conservancy, Middletown, on March 22. The park will host day camps during spring break in April. SCOTT FRIEDMAN With spring break approaching, children and teens in central New Jersey can stay busy with activities ranging from roller coasters to theater matinees.

Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach has activities for children of all ages on Easter weekend, April 4-5. Sponsored by the Point Pleasant Beach Chamber of Commerce, Jenkinson’s annual Easter Parade will step off at 1 p.m. April 5 on the boardwalk beginning at Central Avenue.

“It is always so adorable seeing all the children dressed up and having fun,” said Toby Wolf, director of marketing.

Registration for the parade will be on the plaza in front of Joey Tomatoes between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

 Emett, 2, and Eden Bonny, 5, of Holmdel, use crayons to prepare eggs for coloring during a March 22 event at Poricy Park Conservancy, Middletown.  SCOTT FRIEDMAN Emett, 2, and Eden Bonny, 5, of Holmdel, use crayons to prepare eggs for coloring during a March 22 event at Poricy Park Conservancy, Middletown. SCOTT FRIEDMAN “We have lots of fun prizes and games for everyone to participate in,” Wolf said.

Categories for prizes include best bonnet, best float, and cutest boy and girl up to age 10.

“It is always widely popular and well-attended, and I expect no different this year,” she said.

The boardwalk will hold its annual two-for-one sale on ride tickets April 3-5. “This is my 17th season here, and this is an event that has been widely popular even before I arrived,” Wolf said. “People just love coming out here and taking advantage of these events and having fun with their friends and family.”

Jenkinson’s Boardwalk will also roll out its E-musement Card program.

“The boardwalk is focusing on going green, cashless and ticketless this year, and this is the first year where visitors will use the cards,” Wolf said. Patrons will have credits on the cards and use them for rides, games, arcades, discounts and rewards.

“We will still accept the tickets that people have always had, because, like the cards, they never expire. But this will be live credit on a card,” she said.

The E-musement cards may be purchased online April 3-5 at jenkinsons.com or at the boardwalk from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine.

The Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank will present “Cinderella: A Storytale Ballet,” April 11-12. Presented by the Company of Dance Arts, the show begins at 2 p.m. both days. Tickets are $20-$40.

For sports enthusiasts, the Lakewood BlueClaws will play their home opener at 6:35 p.m. April 9 at First Energy Park against the Kannapolis Intimidators. They will also play the Intimidators April 10 at 7:05 p.m., April 11 at 4:05 p.m. and April 12 at 1:05 p.m. Visitors will enjoy post-game fireworks on April 10 and Kids Eat Free day on April 12, when children 12 and under will receive a hot dog, chips and soda voucher upon entrance to the ballpark.

Also in Ocean County, the opening weekend at Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, is April 3-5. On April 4, Six Flags will host an Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by Peeps for children age 12 and under, with candy and giveaways.

The park’s 2015 Spring Break celebration will take place April 3-12, when students from all over the world are invited to enjoy the numerous coasters and take a ride through the Safari Off Road Adventure.

In New Brunswick, the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, will host a Family First Sunday with free admission noon-5 p.m. April 5.

“It is about embracing creativity and allowing attendees to explore new ideas and concepts,” Theresa Watson, communications coordinator for the museum, said.

On the first Sunday of each month, families may participate in the museum’s many offerings, including scavenger hunts and day tours.

“This program was started as a spinoff from our Free First Sundays program, and is a great way for families to learn and do things together,” Watson said.

The museum, 71 Hamilton St., also houses Studio Z, where young visitors may view artwork or participate in the museum’s Junior Curator program.

Also in New Brunswick, the George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Ave., will present several shows for students to take in during spring break.

On April 2, students may attend a matinee of the new musical comedy “Austin the Unstoppable,” a show about an 11-year-old boy dealing with the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle.

The playhouse will present “New Kid” on April 3. The show revolves around an immigrant family from the fictitious country Homeland as they experience a new culture and some unexpected prejudice when they arrive in America.

Student matinees are at 10 a.m. and noon. Tickets are $12.

In East Brunswick, Elks Lodge No. 2370, Oakmont Avenue and Hardenburg Lane, will hold its annual Breakfast with the Easter Bunny 9-11 a.m. April 4. Attendees may enjoy breakfast, an egg hunt and prizes. Cost is $10 per adult; free for children 10 and under. Reservations are required, and attendees are asked to bring canned goods to donate to the lodge’s Feed the Hungry campaign. Call 732-821-9527 or email banquetmanager@ebelks.com.

In Monmouth County, several day camps and programs are available for students during spring break.

Poricy Park Conservancy at 345 Oakhill Road, Middletown, will host Spring Break Day Camps April 7-10.

“We have been holding these camps for the past 10 years,” Executive Director Joyce Ferejohn said.

Children in kindergarten through fifth grade may participate in all or some of the themed day camps at the park’s Nature Center. The theme on April 7 is “Animal Crackers,” with participants discovering animal behaviors through hands-on activities, hikes and games. On April 8, “Eco-Quest” will focus on the connection between people, plants and animals as they create recycled crafts. On April 9, “Fun with Fungi” will have participants peering into the “fifth kingdom,” discovering living things neither plant nor animal. The “Treasure Hunt” on April 10 gets participants searching for a natural treasure as a way to explore everything around them.

“Having different themed days gives our participants a variety of activities they can enjoy and choose from so that they’re introduced and exploring different things and not getting bored,” Ferejohn said.

The spring day camps are offered 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. or as half-day camps 9 a.m.-noon. Full-day registration is $60 for members and $70 for nonmembers. Half-day is $42 for park members and $48 for nonmembers. Sibling discounts are available.

Families can register 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday by calling 732-842-5966.

In Marlboro, Artisan Studio, 9 N. Main St., will hold a Spring Art Camp April 6-10 for children age 5 and up. Participants will learn a variety of skills, such as portfolio prep, illustration, drawing, painting, cartooning, sewing and more.

Half-day programs, which run 9 a.m.- noon or 12:30-3:30 p.m., and full-day programs, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., are available for participants age 4 through 14. The half-day cost is $35; full-day is $65. Registration is required by April 3 at 732-294-0234.