Monmouth County Park System offering January activities

The Monmouth County Park System has planned numerous activities for county residents to enjoy. Here’s what is planned for January:

Surprise Story Time

Jan. 2 from 11-11:45 a.m.

Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown

If the weather is nice, look for the clue at the Horticultural Center’s entrance that leads to the secret spot. If it’s rainy or cold, they will be inside. Recommended for ages 3-7. Free.

Opening Reception for the Deep Cut

Gardens Photography Exhibit

Jan. 2 from 1-3 p.m.

Deep Cut Gardens Horticultural Center, Middletown

Meet with the photographers of the exhibit. Light refreshments served. The exhibit will then be open daily Jan. 3-31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.

Open Ceramics

Jan. 3 from 12:30-4:30 p.m.

Thompson Park Creative Arts Center, Lincroft

Choose from a large selection of bisque fired pottery pieces to glaze and make your own. Children 12 and under are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult. The cost is $6 per hour plus price of bisque ware; cash or check only. Pieces will be fired in about a week.

Coffee Club Mahjong

Tuesdays, Jan. 5, 12, 19 and 26 from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Tinton Falls

Shuffle your tiles and build your walls as you play this ancient, fast-paced Asian game. Both American and Chinese rules will be followed. All levels welcome. The cost is $4 per person per day; cash or check only.

Teen Open Gym Basketball

Wednesdays, Jan. 6, 13, 20 and 27 from 3-4:30 p.m.

Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Tinton Falls

Teens age 13-18 are invited to play or practice on the courts. Cost is $5 per person per day; cash or check only. Under 17 with parent present.

The Casual Birder

Jan. 7 at 9 a.m.

Henry Hudson Trail — Meet in the Popamora Point parking lot in Highlands.

Jan. 21 at 9 a.m.

Manasquan Reservoir — Meet at the Visitor Center Bait Shop.

Join a Park System naturalist for this laid-back morning bird walk. You will meander for about an hour and see what birds we can find. No need to be an expert at identifying birds to enjoy. A limited number of binoculars will be available to borrow if needed. Open to ages 8 and up. Free.

Family Gym Time

Fridays, Jan. 8, 15, 22 and 29 from 9:30- 11 a.m.

Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Tinton Falls

There will be tunnels, gym mats, scooters and other play equipment set up for your entertainment. This is an open play format with no instruction provided. Parent supervision is required and Rec Center staff will be present if you have questions or need assistance. Open to ages 1-4 with adult. The cost is $10 per pair per day; cash or check only.

Science of Fingerprints

Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 9 and 10 at 12 p.m.

Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, Howell

Come see what shape your fingerprints are and then make a picture using your print. Free.

Roving Park System Naturalist

Jan. 9 at 10 a.m.

Henry Hudson Trail — Meet at Popamora Point, Highlands.

Sunday, January 24 at 10 a.m.

Thompson Park – Meet in the Marlu Lake parking lot.

Join our Roving Park System naturalist for a walk and learn about seasonal points of interest. Free.

Men’s Open Gym Basketball

Sundays, Jan. 10, 17, 24 and 31 from 8- 10 a.m.

Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Tinton Falls

Shoot some hoops on the Rec Center’s full court gym. The cost is $5 per person per session; cash or check only.

Blacksmith Demonstration

Jan. 10 from 1-3 p.m.

Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel

Come see what the blacksmith is making in his workshop. Free.

Seashore Scientist Drop-In Series —

Predator and Prey

Jan. 21 from 6-7 p.m.

Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park Activity Center, Long Branch

Explore the complex relationships between predators and prey during an interactive discussion featuring hands-on experiments. Free.

Nature Lecture Series: Winter Water


Jan. 21 from 7-8 p.m.

Bayshore Waterfront Park Activity Center, Port Monmouth

Learn about winter water birds that frequent habitats along the coast during this discussion led by a Park System naturalist. We will also reveal some of the best places to see these water birds before winter melts away. Free.

Seashore Open House

Jan. 24 from 1-4 p.m.

Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park Activity Center, Long Branch

Have some seashore-related fun during the open house. Free.


Jan. 30 from 1-5 p.m.

Thompson Park, Lincroft

Celebrate the fun that winter can bring with ice skating (weather permitting), wagon rides, cross-country skiing and so much more during this family-friendly festival. Admission, parking and most activities are free.

To learn more about these Park System activities, visit or call the Park System at 732- 842-4000. For persons with hearing impairment, the Park System TTY/TDD number is 711