The Burlington County Parks are the places to be this summer! With a packed schedule of events and programs, residents will be engaged, entertained and enlightened, no matter your age or interests.
“Summer is an exciting season to visit a Burlington County Park, museum or gallery and we’re thrilled to see so many fun events scheduled,” said Burlington County Commissioner Allison Eckel, liaison to the Department of Resource Conservation and Parks. “Residents can attend an outdoor movie or concert, learn the basics of fly fishing, discuss history with a new book club, taste fine Italian cheeses or test their knowledge about America’s Founding Fathers and National Parks. No matter the age or interests, there’s sure to be a Parks program or event that is perfect.”
To assist residents, the Parks Division has created an online Summer Program Guide detailing more than 200 events, programs and classes that are scheduled for the months of June, July and August. Check out the Burlington County Parks webpage at https://www.co.burlington.nj.us/DocumentCenter/View/15924/ProgramGuide-Summer2022.
Here’s a rundown of some of the summer highlights; when registration is required, a link is provided in the Program Guide:
Mark your calendars for June 26 and the return of the Burlington County Earth Fair to Smithville Park.
This year’s Earth Fair theme will be Sustainable You! and will transform the park into a sanctuary of recycling, gardening, health and wellness. The event will include a sustainable living tent, a special artisan marketplace featuring upcycled and recycled goods and several presentations and demonstrations, including one from Mike McGrath of PBS’s “You Bet Your Garden.” There will also be live music, a pop-up nature center, rain barrel workshop, a rock climbing wall, puppet show, games, food trucks, a beer garden and more.
“Our Board is incredibly excited about the return of Burlington County’s Earth Fair to Smithville,” said Eckel. “There’s a great lineup of speakers, musicians, workshops and activities that are sure to both entertain and educate.”
There is a compost bin and rain barrel sale! Backyard composting is an excellent way to reduce water costs, keep our water clean and provide a natural source of water for plants and gardens all while reducing the amount of pollutants that enter our storm drains. Place an order online at: https://burlington.compostersale.com/
Movies Under the Stars
Pack up your chairs, blankets and favorite snacks and come to a County park to watch a family-friendly movie in the great outdoors. The Movies Under the Stars series continues this summer and will be traveling to different parks through October.
The first summer screening will be “Raya the Last Dragon” on June 17 at Pennington Park in Delanco, followed by “Peter Rabbit 2” on July 8 at the Burlington County Agricultural Center in Moorestown and then “Soul” on Aug. 5 at the Burlington County Lyceum of Natural History and Sciences in Mount Holly.
All screenings begin at 8:30 PM or dusk. Admission is free and no registration is required.
Residents looking for an entertaining night have a full lineup of concerts and performances to choose from at the Burlington County Amphitheater and Smithville Park.
The Amphitheater is located at 5 Pioneer Boulevard in Westampton (next to the Burlington County Library) and offers a fantastic venue for a variety of performances.
Likewise, the Music in the Parks series is a great way to experience fantastic music in a beautiful setting.
The series of free concerts, theatrical shows and comedy acts kicks off on July 8 at the Amphitheater with the Mahoney Brothers Jukebox Heroes and then July 15 at Smithville with the Wilkins Trio and Chris &The Smooth Jazz Kats.
All shows begin at 6 PM. Chairs and blankets can be set out beginning at 4 PM.
The full schedule of shows is available in the program guide.
Health and fitness activities
Country line dancing is back in full swing on Wednesday nights at the Burlington County Fairgrounds! Residents of all skills levels are welcome to attend free dance sessions each Wednesday in June starting at 7 PM under the Fairgrounds pavilion. Registration is required.
If line dancing isn’t your thing, try yoga at the Burlington County Agricultural Center. The free classes are held every other Tuesday from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Classes are held on the front lawn and include a balance of challenging and calming postures. All levels are welcome to attend. Be sure to bring your yoga mat and register with the link provided in the Program Guide.
For others looking to get some outdoor exercise, try a lunchtime walk through Smithville Park. It’s a perfect opportunity to explore, exercise and experience the beauty of Smithville. The 2.5-mile walks will be held at noon each Tuesday in June starting at the Smithville Park Visitors Center. And for residents looking to bring their four-legged family members along for a group stroll through a park, Smithville will host a special Paws in the Park Dog Walk on June 9, from 6 to 7 PM. It’s a great opportunity to meet new dog friends and learn more about Smithville and the trails there.
Registration for the both the lunchtime walks and the Paws in the Park Dog Walk is required.
Young Naturalist and Junior Ranger programs
Summer break is fast approaching, but there are plenty of fun and exciting learning opportunities for students and adults through Burlington County Parks programs and events.
Registration is now open for the Parks Division’s Young Naturalist Program. The free program is open to teens 13 to 17 who want to experience the outdoors and learn about the environment. The sessions are led by park naturalists on Mondays from June 27 through Aug. 15 and include birding and plant identification lessons, geology, forest assessment and kayaking. For more information or to register, go online to the Parks’s Young Naturalist page.
There is also a Junior Ranger program for children 5 to 12. Participants are sent an age-specific activity packet to download and can be completed on their own time throughout the summer. Students who complete the packet receive a unique Junior Ranger souvenir patch!
In addition to the activity packet, Parks staff also run weekly themed in-person activities through July and August that coincide with topics covered in the activity packets, including insect identification, fishing, animal track identification and more. Children must be accompanied by an adult for all programs and parents/guardians should be prepared to stay for the duration of the event.
For more information, go to https://www.co.burlington.nj.us/571/Junior-Ranger-Program.
There are dozens of other nature, history, arts and cooking programs and classes detailed in the program guide. Registration is required for most events and some classes may require participants to bring equipment or pay a materials fee. Be sure to check out the guide for details.