Trailside Nature and Science Center
Trailside Nature & Science Center is Union County’s Environmental Education Center, located in the Watchung Reservation, a 2,065-acre preserve containing woodlands, fields, lakes, streams and more than 13 miles of hiking trails.
This serene setting provides the perfect classroom to have fun while learning about the natural world. Renovated in September 2006, the Center houses 4,500 square feet of interactive, state-of-the art exhibits, including a towering 34-foot American beech tree exhibit that fills the building’s atrium.
This jewel, secluded in the Watchungs, also features classrooms that look out on the Reservation, a multipurpose room, a library, children’s discovery room and a 250-seat auditorium.
Great indoor museum for a quick activity. My almost 10 year old still looks forward to walking around and re-discovering the displays, or at least did, until yesterday. Great little gift shop, but be aware there is a All Sales are Final policy on a teeny sign, located behind a display. That includes even exchanges for stuffed animals, which is just fabulous when there is one displayed outside the store where your kid may not see it until after you are already in mid-purchase. When my daughter declared, "I hate this place now," I realized just how much this policy stinks (part of this was delivery of the information from the one cashier) and also how much work I have to help her restore the positive image she had earlier in the day. I'm trying to take the angle that we just supported Trailside more than we intended.
Great place to walk. Nature center was surprisingly big...3 floors. Great for kids. paths around the big lake are pretty good, but get muddy during rain and snow. Picnic area is huge and has public restrooms.
Excellent center where you can learn about natural history of Watchung area in particular and New Jersey in general.
they kill deer in the reservation, so there is little "wildlife" left alive. beavers are kiled, so many wildlife species are killed there. now they want to put in more trials so no area will be safe for birds or wildlife to stay away from people. all those animals want is to be free from people to stay alive. watchung mgt is against that for sure.
It's small but interesting. And most of all, it's free.