Programs & Events

The Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders recognizes that affordable family-friendly events bring people together to explore common interests and share different traditions and views…and within the parks, it all happens in a beautiful natural and historic environment!

LindaHynesIt is quite an understatement to say it’s been an unusual  Spring!  With COVID-19 restrictions in place since mid-March,  we were unable to enjoy our usual activities.  Parks were closed between April 7th and May 2nd and all programs  and events scheduled for April and May were cancelled. 

Knowing how important it is to remain socially active and mentally engaged, our staff quickly converted  planned activities to online programs.  The cupcake baking contest for kids was a big hit and showed us how many talented, creative  bakers we have in the County.  A weekly history trivia night is keeping the history buff on their toes.  Educational programs were posted online to teach us about pollinators and the plants that flower in our Parks in the spring months.  A time lapse video showed the rise and fall of the tides at Amico Island. Instructions were posted on how to make bird feeders from ordinary household items and identify birds in your backyard.  We hope you were able to enjoy some of those offerings.We happily announced the reopening of the County parks on May 2nd. Maintenance staff had the parks beautifully landscaped, park rangers worked diligently to keep everyone safe, and most importantly, you, the park visitors were courteous and followed the guidelines in place, wearing face coverings while maintaining safe distances on the trails.  We thank all of you for your cooperation and hope you continue to enjoy the parks throughout the summer. 

Unfortunately, we enter the summer months with uncertainty about our schedule for programs and events.  For the first time in 25 years, the annual Earth Fair will not be held in June.  The amphitheater season will not go on as planned.  However, as you can see in this program guide, Parks’ staff has planned plenty of activities that will keep you and your families entertained.     We will continue to evaluate our ability to  hold these programs safely.  Some programs may have to be relocated, some may require lower capacity limits, and some may have to be postponed or cancelled.  We will continue to look for ways to present programs online, so keep an eye on our website and Facebook pages.  We look forward to bringing you an exciting schedule of summer events next year! 

Please continue to do your part and stay safe.

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Linda Hynes, Burlington County Freeholder

IT'S BACK! Country Line Dancing!

Country Line Dancing 2020

Kick the dust up off of those boots!  The dancing is BACK!  Ever wanted to learn Country Line Dances but don’t know where? Now’s your chance! Join us each Wednesday in July for a fun evening in the Fairgrounds pavilion. Learn the basics of Country Line Dancing or show off your skills! All are welcome. No age restrictions. The dancing begins at 7 PM. Due to COVID-19, instruction will be given for single, line dances only.  There will be no instructional dances for couples.  In order to properly social distance, space is limited and registration is REQUIRED. Rain may cancel and registrants will be notified via email.  Registration for each session will close at noon on the day of the session. Bring your own soft drinks or water.  We are excited to bring the dancing back and can’t wait to see you!  

 

2020 Teen Arts Exhibit

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Each year, schools throughout the region come together for the Burlington County Teen Arts Festival. The festival celebrates the arts and showcases the talents of students in literary, performing and visual arts. Each year, professional adjudicators select works of art from over thirty schools and thousands of students. These Painting, drawing, mixed media, three dimensional, photography and digital art were displayed in an art exhibit at the Smithville Mansion Annex Gallery. Although our museums and galleries have been closed due to COVID-19, we are bringing their artwork to you with this virtual peek at all of the selected work. This incredible exhibit was set to be on display from March 26 through May 10. Each County has pieces selected that move onto the State Teen Arts Festival. Congratulations to all that were selected!  

Stay tuned for future, virtual gallery exhibits.

ACTIVITIES AND PROGRAMS FROM HOME
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, parks will open on May 2, but programming is still cancelled until further notice.  We hope to resume normal programming as soon as possible.  In the meantime, we invite you to participate in some activities and programs you can do at home!  It's important to stay healthy, active, interactive and to have some fun! 

HISTORY PROGRAMS

The Parks System is currently home to six historic sites where you can learn about the people and events that helped to shape Burlington County. Each offers a wide variety of tours, exhibits, programming and events that make history come alive for its visitors. We offer lectures and programs within our facilities or at your facility! Within Smithville Park, you can take a tour of the Smithville Mansion, the Village, and the Underground Railroad Museum. While in Mount Holly, you can visit the Historic Prison Museum or Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences.

Trivia Tuesdays!

trivia tuesdays

4th of July Traditions

fourth of july
July 2 Virtual Tour of Smithville
Where did it Come From
Rooted and Farm Fair
THEATER OF PLANTS

NATURE PROGRAMS

The Burlington County Parks System offers many educational nature programs. Taking place both indoors and outdoors, a vast array of topics are covered for all age groups throughout the year. Whether you’re enjoying a guided walk in the park, a lecture series, butterfly walk, or canoeing, there’s always something to learn about nature! Our staff also offers nature programs for private groups including schools, scouts, and other organizations. Please contact us for more information. Events and programs are also held at the Rancocas Nature Center.

In the summer months the Burlington County Parks System provides free programs for youth: The Young Naturalist Program and the Junior Ranger Program.

The Junior Ranger Program is a free summer program for children ages 5-12.

The Young Naturalist Program (YNP) is a free program for teenagers.

Wildlife Watch at Boundary Creek

Observe and explore the diversity of the animal kingdom in our park system, scavenger hunt style! Naturalist Kate Forte posted this list of species (with pictures) commonly found at Boundary Creek. Download the list, head out to Boundary Creek, and see if you can find all the species! Do not forget to bring your binoculars and camera along! Share your sightings on our Facebook page, or email them to kforte@co.burlington.nj.us. This program will be available online beginning June 26-July 30.

Boundary Creek scavenger hunt

Pollinators in the Butterfly Garden

In honor of National Pollinator Week, Naturalist Jen Bulava shares what is blooming in the butterfly garden in a short informative video. Learn which species of plants attract different kinds of pollinators and why.

Butterfly Garden Video

Dragonflies & Damselflies of Burlington County

Discover the incredible hunters of the insect world: the dragonflies and damselflies. This online PowerPoint presentation will focus on recognizing adaptations, behaviors, life cycles, and ecological significance of these beneficial insects. The slide show includes photographic examples of amazing species found in our Burlington County Parks, and will be available online beginning Saturday, June 20.  The presentation will be posted for the remainder of the summer.

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Nocturnal Nature

Learn about crepuscular and nocturnal animals with naturalist Kate Forte! What does crepuscular mean? What are some advantages of being crepuscular or nocturnal? Kate will go over the answers to these questions through a video, while focusing on three different animals: skunks, opossums, and bats.
nocturnal nature title slide

Boundary Creek Plants & Pollinators

This slide show represents the virtual representation for the Tuesday Talk and Friday Forum programs on June 16 and June 19.  (This is a series of nature programs led by Naturalist Jen Bulava on select Tuesdays and Fridays). In honor of National Pollinator Week, Jen will share what is blooming in the fields and wetlands at Boundary Creek that attract a wide diversity of pollinator species. The photos of the flowers and pollinators are posted here for others to learn and look for on their own. This program will be available June 16 through June 30.

Boundary Creek Plants and Pollinators slide show

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BIRDING 101

Do you know the difference between Bird Watching and Birding? Park Naturalist, Kate Forte explains the difference, shows you the ins and outs, and shares tips and tricks to have you ready to hit the trails. What birds will you find? Be sure to visit our website to check out a full list of birds that have been sighted in our parks! 

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https://youtu.be/qNpf2ih5al8

The Secret World of Plants and Pollinators:

This presentation focuses on the incredible ways in which plants communicate with animals. Flowers are not pretty colors and pleasant smells for us - it’s all about the pollinators. Discover amazing strategies of plants, and the colors that pollinators see. Taking a much closer look at flowers can open up an entire hidden world that is more complex and fascinating than one ever imagined.

Secret World of Plants and Pollinators title slide

The Roles of Beneficial Insects
As spring is underway, more insects will start emerging and people may be likely to kill or spray insects if they do not know what they are.  This presentation is a visual aid to help identify many of our common beneficial insects and understand the crucial roles they play in the environment.
beneficial insects title slide

Burlington County Bird Surveys and More!

Park Naturalists and volunteers have been conducting seasonal bird surveys in the Burlington County Parks for over a decade.  The spring bird surveys took place between April 28 and May 8 in the Parks.  Click here for the summary of the two weeks with all 101 species listed. 

WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS LOG

The Wildlife Sightings Log is where we post significant sightings of birds and other animal species that are not seen on a regular basis.  If you see something that is not a regular resident species in one of the Burlington County Parks, please submit it using the form on the wildlife log page. To see which species have been reported in the parks, you can go to the individual park webpage to see a cumulative summary of species.  (For instance for Smithville Park, go to Smithville Park’s webpage and click on the cumulative species list under Quick Links in the right column). To see which birds are present at different times of the year, and their resident vs migratory status, check out the Burlington County Parks cumulative bird checklist

THINGS TO DO IN YOUR BACKYARD: 

Spending time gardening?  Garden Guru, public radio host, former Organic Gardening Editor-in-Chief and annual guest speaker at the Burlington County Earth Fair, Mike McGrath has shared ways to tackle all of your toughest garden, lawn and pest problems!  www.youbetyourgarden.org

Backyard Birding - an interactive visual and audio guide to birds you're likely to see right in your backyard!  Listen to their calls and see which ones you recognize!  

Do-it-yourself Bird Feeder Ideas:
Pine Cone Feeder
Plastic Bottle Feeder

Burlington County Parks Crossword Puzzle

Crossword Puzzle Answer Key

NJDEP's Earth Day activities for kids and adults

Coloring Pages from Park Rangers

OUTDOOR FARMERS MARKET

FARMERS MARKET RETURNS MAY 23!

Farmers Market opening day

Quarterly Program Guide

Quarterly Program Guide includes all programs and events offered by the Burlington County Division of Parks.  Pick up a copy in your local library or parks' facility and at local events.  Call if you would like us to drop one in the mail to you!  609-265-5858. You may also view the online version.  
We hope to have a full, interactive, online version of Summer Programs soon! 

ARTS AND CULTURE

Burlington County is home to many exhibits that feature Fine Arts and Photography from all of over the region. There are galleries and exhibits throughout the year and festivals that celebrate the Arts.

ANNUAL EVENTS AND FESTIVALS

Burlington County hosts several annual events throughout our parks. Large festivals are held each year in Historic Smithville Park, to include Earth Fair, Arts in the Park, and Fall Float Festivals. Events such as the Garden Expo and Farmers Markets are held throughout the season at theBurlington County Agricultural Center. Each year, Burlington County also hosts the Farm Fair, tractor pulls and equestrian events at the County Fairgrounds. We are also excited to offer free, outdoor concerts at the Burlington County Amphitheater!  Earth Fair returns for its 25th anniversary!  

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