The following is a list of activities being offered through the Nature Center at Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville, NJ. Some programs are offered without registration requirements; some will require advanced registration as indicated below. A fee of $5.00 ($7.00 out-of-state) will be charged to motor vehicles entering the park on weekends and holidays 5/28 - 9/5 (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day). All programs will initially meet at the Nature Center unless otherwise indicated. Attendance is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Children must be accompanied by an adult. In the event of inclement weather, some programs might be canceled. It is always advisable to call ahead before coming out. Phone: (609) 737-0609.
GEOCACHE WASHINGTON CROSSING STATE PARK ( preteens – adult) Sunday April 3, 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. Geocaching is a high-tech update on the old-fashioned scavenger hunt game, which utilizes GPS (global positioning system) technology to locate objects hidden among the forests, fields and trails of parks, playgrounds, natural areas and other open lands. Participants will learn how to obtain information and hints from the Geocaching.com website, on the location of dozens of geocache sites in and around the state park. They will then use handheld GPS devices to go out and find as many caches as possible. Once a cache is found, participants typically will sign in on the log contained within and then take an object from the cache box after leaving a trinket for subsequent geocachers. Participants should bring a pocket full of trinkets to exchange when they locate caches. Trinkets can include small toys and balls, plastic jewelry, pens, pencils, scratch pads, patches, action figures, coins, etc. Advanced registration required. A limited number of GPS navigation devices will be made available to participants on a first come, first served basis. Bring your own handheld GPS device or smart phone with Geocaching app installed if you have one.
FAMILY NATURE WALK (all ages) Saturday April 9, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Join us for an informal naturalist-guided trail walk.
SPRING LIFESTYLES OF THE LOCAL NATIVE AMERICANS (all ages) Sunday April 10, 1:30 p.m. Jim Wade, former archivist and researcher with the N.J. State Museum will discuss primitive stone tool use by Native Americans in central New Jersey. Emphasis will be on the significance and importance of the Indian way of life during the spring season, focusing on the activities of community fish gathering, hunting and village life. The program will include a slide presentation and Native American artifacts will be on display.
AMERICA’S HUMAN PATH BACK TO SPACE AND MARS (all ages) Sunday April 17, 1:30 p.m. Dr. Ken Kremer of Universe Today Magazine and the Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton will outline NASA’s plans for resuming a human path back to space and the road to Mars from American soil aboard the new Orion and commercial Boeing Starliner and SpaceX Dragon capsules. Dr. Kremer will give an inside account of NASA’s multi-pronged strategy to develop private astronaut ‘taxis’ to the ISS in Earth orbit and an ambitious deep space human ‘Journey to Mars’ with Orion and the mammoth SLS rocket. Dr. Kremer will also discuss other critical initiatives regarding NASA and space exploration.
BIKE HIKE (pre-teens - adult) Sunday April 24, 1:30 p.m. Take a guided bicycle ride up the Delaware & Raritan Canal Towpath toward the Lambertville wing dam (approx. 13 miles round trip). Meet at the Nelson House parking lot. Bring your own bike and helmet. Advanced registration required.
WILD EDIBLE PLANTS (3 yrs. - adult) Sunday May 1, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Participants will learn to identify and prepare some of the many native and introduced plants which earlier inhabitants of the area used to supplement their diets. This program will be led by plant lore enthusiast Pat Chichon of Lambertville. Bring a pair of plant clippers and a garden trowel. Advanced registration required.
SHELTER BUILDING/WILDERNESS SURVIVAL (6 yrs. - adult) Saturday May 7, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. This program will deal with the fundamentals pertaining to survival when lost in the wild. Participants will construct a weatherproof shelter completely from native materials.
PRETZEL JAR TERRARIUMS (all ages) Sunday May 15, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. The forest floor is a fascinating community with its own unique woodland wildflowers, ferns, mosses and other organisms. Join us and build one of these ecosystems in a jar to take home. Advanced registration required.
BALDPATE MOUNTAIN HIKE (pre-teen – adult) Sunday May 22, 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. We will take the Summit Trail from its trailhead on Fiddlers Creek Rd. Meet at the parking lot by Neiderer’s Pond (Church Rd).We will carpool to the trail. Advanced registration required after 4/14. Bring a water bottle and wear hiking shoes.
FAMILY NATURE WALK (all ages) Saturday May 28, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Join us for an informal naturalist-guided trail walk. Park vehicle entrance fee applies.
SOLAR OBSERVATION ( all ages) Sunday May 29, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. View magnetic sun storms safely through special filters via a telescope. Observe sun spots, solar flares, prominences and other solar phenomena. Learn how these storms can affect the earth as well as other interesting facts about Earth’s closest star. Gene Ramsey and other members of the Amateur Astronomer’s Association of Princeton will lead this activity. Clear skies required. Park vehicle entrance Fee: $5.00/car. Rain date: Monday May 30, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Park vehicle entrance fee applies
GOAT HILL OVERLOOK HIKE (8 yrs. - adult) Sunday June 5, 1:30. Goat Hill Overlook is an outlier of Washington Crossing State Park. The 213 acre tract sits on a bluff overlooking the Delaware River in W. Amwell Twp. and boasts commanding views of the Delaware Valley including portions of Lambertville, New Hope and areas north and west into Bucks County, PA. The tract contains extensive hardwood and mixed oak forests, open fields, numerous rock outcrops, a former diabase quarry and hiking trails. We will meet in Washington Crossing at the park pond on Church Rd and carpool to the overlook for an exploration hike. The terrain will be rugged. Wear hiking shoes and bring drinking water.
HOPEWELL VALLEY COME OUTSIDE AND PLAY – GEOCACHE THE PARK Thursday June 9, 4:15 - 5:30 p.m. ( 8yrs. – adult) Geocaching is a treasure hunt game in which participants will use handheld GPS navigators to locate hidden objects. Bring a pocket full of inexpensive trinkets to swap when a cache is found on this guided walk. Participation will be limited to first come, first served. Advanced registration required.
SPRING/SUMMER BIRDS OF THE PARK(all ages) Saturday June 11, 8:30 a.m. Come and join Franta Broulik of Washington Crossing Audubon as we peruse the park for spring and summer resident bird species. Meet at the Nature Center. Park vehicle entrance fee applies.
COMPASS BASICS (9 yrs - adult) Sunday June 12, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Participants will learn everything they ever wanted to know about the protractor compass. They will then use their new-found skills to navigate a compass course that will take them over hills, across streams, along trails and through forests to a mysterious hidden site known as “Haunted Hollow”. Bring a protractor compass if you have an instrument of your own. If not, we will provide one. Advanced registration required. Park vehicle entrance fee applies.
STREAM STOMP (6 yrs. - adult) Sunday June 19, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. Come out for a wet hike as we follow a park stream in search of crayfish, salamanders, caddisflys, frogs, minnows and other stream inhabitants. Park vehicle entrance fee applies.