Ocean County Press Release
TOMS RIVER – From Scales and Tales to Beach Ball A-Palooza, Ocean County offers a wide range of summer programs for residents and visitors of all ages.
"Our recreational programs are specially developed for all age groups and include a great variety of activities," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines, who serves as chairwoman to the Ocean County's Department of Parks and Recreation. "If people are staying closer to home this summer we want them to know there are plenty of things to do for free here in Ocean County through our Parks and Recreation Department."
During its July 2 meeting, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders proclaimed the month of July as "Parks and Recreation Month" in Ocean County.
"With more than 4,000 acres preserved specifically for parkland in Ocean County, these areas are fundamental to the environmental well-being of our communities," said Haines. "We recognize that our parks and natural recreation areas ensure that the ecological beauty of our communities provide a place for children and adults to connect with nature and play outdoors."
Throughout Ocean County's vast park system, there are plenty of opportunities to participate in a host of recreational activities.
No matter where you are located in Ocean County, programs are offered at many of the parks throughout the week and on weekends. For example, Jakes Branch County Park, located in Beachwood, hosts free activities such as nature crafts, live nature talks, and discovery nature walks from July 6 to Sept. 22. Cattus Island County Park, located in Toms River, has free weekend nature walks as well as Scales and Tales, and Turtles Tortoise or Terrapin talks on Saturdays and Sundays. Finally, Cloverdale County Park, located in Barnegat, offers free programs such photography and flower walks on select days throughout the summer.
"We encourage everyone to come outside and enjoy the wonders of nature," Haines said. "We want to help inspire a love of nature that we hope will become a family tradition through these programs."
New this summer through the County Parks and Recreation Department is the free Kids Summer Spectacular program which takes place at the John C. Bartlett Jr. County Park at Berkeley Island at 1 p.m. on Thursdays from July 11 to Aug. 29, rain or shine.
In addition, the popular Carousel of Music is back with shows scheduled until Sept. 7 at many locations throughout the county including the Ocean County Library and the Ocean County Parks and Recreation Administration Building in Toms River, Veteran's Park in Berkeley Township, 10th Street Waterfront Park in Ship Bottom, Heritage Gazebo in Lavallette, 23rd Avenue in Seaside Park, and Deerhead Lake Beach in Forked River.
Beach Ball A-Palooza is also scheduled to return to the Ocean County Parks and Recreation Administration Building on Aug. 2 from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
"Last year there were over 22,000 participants in attendance at the Carousel of Music and Beach Ball A-Palooza combined," said Haines. "We are pleased to be able to provide all these programs and more each summer."
There are many new events happening in the parks as well including a girls' lacrosse clinic, a National CSI Camp, and paddleboard lessons. Golf clinics are also hosted by Up to Par Golf at both of Ocean County's golf courses.
Information regarding any of these events can be found on the Ocean County Parks and Recreation's website http://www.oceancountyparks.org/, their Facebook page "Ocean County Parks & Recreation," or the free Ocean County Parks and Recreation app which is available in the app store. Additionally, all the programs and associated information can be found in the Ocean County Parks, Recreation and Natural Lands Trust Newsletter, which is available online or it can be mailed to residents who request it by calling the park's department at 732-506-9090.
"While July is recognized as Parks and Recreation month nationally, we want our visitors and residents to know the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation provides opportunities daily to access programs and nature," Haines said.
In presenting the Parks and Recreation Month proclamation with Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Kelly, they both noted the hard work and professionalism of the department's staff.
"Our parks are second to none because of the staff that works in the department," Haines said. "They all take great pride in the facilities they maintain and the programs they provide and its shows."