- Public Programs
- Scouts Programs
- Four Hour School Programs
- Three Hour School Programs
- Two Hour School Programs
The Recreation Department at Poricy Park offers a range of science and colonial history programs for preschool and elementary aged students. All programs emphasize hands-on activities and “doing” the things they have learned. And, of course, substantial time outdoors where nature provides a dynamic classroom. We are sensitive to your class’ unique needs. Please reach out for more information on any program.
All start times are adjustable to fit your school’s travel needs. Prices are charged by class of a max of 25 students. Classes over 25 students will be subject to additional charges. Most programs are only offered seasonally. There is no lunchroom, but outdoor picnic facilities are available and winter classes eat in their classroom. There is a gift shop in the Nature Center for post trip shopping (except 4-hour programs). The Nature Center is ADA accessible, but the Murray Farmhouse is not (a historic building). Programs run rain or shine. If weather is prohibitive, programs are adapted and use alternate inside activities. Fossil hunts are rescheduled if stream conditions are hazardous.
Fax: 732-872-8706 (Program Request Form)
Poricy Park has several public programs that run year-round. All programs require pre-registration and are available to both Middletown and non-Middletown residents. Register online at: middletownnj.org/signup
Find what's at the bottom of the Murray Pond. Look for frogs, turtles, and snakes. Use our nets to catch tadpoles, fish, insect larvae, snails, and other critters. Dress to get muddy! Pre-K morning sessions will have some critters pre-fished for exploration, an easy netting opportunity, a visit from our resident tortoise Chaser, and a story. Elementary afternoon sessions will include water testing, netting and identification, and a take-home craft.
Friday (PreK): 10:00am—11:00am | April 23, May 21, June 18
Wednesday (K-5): 4:00pm—5:00pm | April 28, May 26, June 23
Location: Poricy Park Nature Center, 345 Oak Hill Road, Red Bank
Fee: $5.00 (resident), $6.00 (non-resident) per child
Calling all amateur paleontologists! Come dig up some Middletown history at the Poricy Brook Fossil Beds. Expect to find marine fossils from the Cretaceous period, 65-72 million years ago. Meet directly at the Poricy Park Fossil Beds for a short orientation before getting right into the fossil beds. An experienced guide will provide you with a trowel and sifter, as well as help you identify your treasures. Ages 5+. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Wednesday: 4:00pm—5:00pm | April 14, May 12, June 9
Sunday: 11:00am—12:00pm | April 25, May 23, June 27
Location: Poricy Park Fossil Beds, 1083 Middletown-Lincroft Road, Middletown
Fee: $5.00 (resident), $6.00 (non-resident) for all participants age 5+
Poricy Park Programs
Spring Observation / Wonder Walks
Tuesday: 9:00am—11:00am | April 6, April 20, May 4, May 18, June 1, June 15
Location: Poricy Park Nature Center, 345 Oak Hill Road, Red Bank
Fee: $25.00 (resident), $30.00 (non-resident) per adult for all six sessions, plus blank journal
$5.00 (resident), $6.00 (non-resident) per adult per session
Scout programs are available to schedule on weekday afternoons, please call for an appointment. For 2021, all programs are conducted entirely outdoors.
On the hunt for your next adventure? Try one of our longer programs, with topics that are fun for all ages:
- Fossil Hunting
- Geocaching Challenge Course
- Pond Netting
- Farmhouse Tours
Looking to fill a badge requirement? Poricy Park has something special for every level of scout:
- Daisy: Eco Trekker
- Brownie: Bugs
- Junior: Animal Habitats
- Tiger: My Tiger Jungle
- Wolf: Finding Your Way
- Bear: Fur, Feathers, and Ferns
- Webelos: Earth Rocks
Fee: $90.00 (non-resident $108.00) for first 8 scouts, $8.00 (non-resident $10.00) per additional child, limit 15 total scouts + siblings
Want something a bit shorter? These 30-45 minute walks are perfect for meeting up afterschool:
- Letters in Branches (Nature Photography)
- Skunk Cabbage
- Tricks in Nature
- Invasive Plants
Rentals are available during normal business hours at the Poricy Park Nature Center (345 Oak Hill Road, Red Bank), Monday-Friday, 9:00am-4:00pm. Cost of each set is $5.00 and a deposit is required. No reservation is needed, but please call ahead to ensure availability, 732-615-2260.
- Fossil Screens and Trowels
- Garmin GPS Devices with Geocaching Challenges
Poricy Park has two spaces available for rental as picnic permits (Fire Pit and Pavilion). Rentals are for 2-hour blocks and must be reserved at least two weeks in advance. Use of the fire pit requires additional permits from the town fire marshal.
Our four hour field trips usually run 9:30am-1:45pm. They include a break for lunch.
Barn Raising and Watershed Conservation(1-2 classes per day, grades 3 and up)
Get the best of both worlds with this combination science-history program. Half the day is spent learning about colonial barn raising, using historic tools, and visiting the farmhouse. The other half is about our watershed, the impact of pollution on our water supply, and a hike to “follow a raindrop.”
Geo-Explorer(1 class per day, grades 4 and up)
Become a geologist and paleontologist for the day. Identify rocks and minerals and local fossils, excavate real fossils from mock rocks, and learn the geological history of our earth and the special role of NJ in paleontology.
Life on the Murray Farm
(1 class per day, grades 3 and up)
What did children do during colonial times? Chores! At our historic farmhouse, interpreters in period dress lead fun activities like gathering food and water, cooking in hearth kitchen, churning butter, going to school and writing with quill pens, and using flint and steel. There might even be some toys and games. Interwoven with the activities is discussion of colonial life, Revolutionary War history, and the story of the farm’s builder Joseph Murray.
Pond Study(1 class per day, grades 3-4)
Dive right into life under the water. Hike down to our local pond, learn in our outdoor classroom, and catch and release some of the diverse life found in this watery habitat. Back in our lab classroom, do some fun experiments about the properties of water and gain and understanding of the pond ecosystem as a whole.
These field trips usually run 10:00am-1:00pm. They include a short break for lunch.
Pond in Rotation(1-3 classes per day, grades 3-4)
Multiple class friendly, this program is divided into three components: pond netting to identify and count the critters living there, water testing in the classroom, and a hike exploring the park’s watershed.
Farmhouse Life(1-3 class per day+, grades 3 and up)
A rotation of three farmhouse stations: inside the farmhouse (writing with quills and cooking in kitchen), outside and garden chores, and barn building with colonial games.
Animal Adaptations (1-3 classes per day, grades 3-5)
Every animal you've ever met fits into its own environment. Through hands on activities, a hike through different ecosystems, and observations and interactions with live animals, students will learn how animals have adapted to survive in the wild.
Fossil Hunt(max of 75 students per day, grades 2 and up)
This trip is a unique opportunity for students to collect their own fossils. The Poricy Brook Fossil beds provide marine fossils 65-72 million years old and our instructors provide the clues about how they got there and how to find them. Get a little wet and take home some history!
Animal Architects(1-3 classes per day, grades PreK-2)
People aren’t the only ones who need a place to live. Find some local examples on a hike, handle examples from all around the animal kingdom in our classroom, and learn the important role of habitat in fun group games.
Barn Raising(1 class per day, grades 3 and up)
Take a trip back in time to our 18th century barn. Students can try their hand at some 18th century tools for construction and processing crops, step down into the root cellar, and of course sample some colonial games. Maybe even learn a little American history along the way.
Conserving Our Watershed(1-2 classes per day, grades 4 and up)
Teach your students about water conservation with a walk through Poricy’s local watershed and observe the impacts of pollution with our model enviroscape.
Creepy Crawlies(1 class per day, PreK-2)
Kids been bugging you? In this program, they will learn how to identify an insect. With an emphasis on ants, they will try out games that reinforce the importance of group cooperation. Also includes a trip outdoors to collect and identify some specimens.
Rebecca Murray’s Children(1 class per day, grades PreK-2)
A gentle introduction to colonial life. Exploration of the garden, handling children’s clothing, playing with toys, and using kitchen tools are all part of the fun. Take a step back in time by visiting the historic rooms of the four colonial children who lived there.
Rocks, Minerals, and Erosion(1-3 classes per day, grades 1-4)
Explore the impacts of erosion, practice identifying common minerals, hike to search for landforms, and color your way through the rock cycle.
Super Senses(1 class per day, alternative and special needs children)
Students explore their senses and relate them to the “super senses” of some animals. Open up the world of nature to each student with a hike, hands-on experiments, and nature hunts.
Winter Habitats(1 class per day, grades K-2)
How are animals and plants adapted to survive the winter? On an outdoor walk, children will search for evidence. Back indoors, they will try some experiments to test their findings.