(14/P41) TRENTON –Island Beach State Park, one of the crown jewels of the New Jersey state park system, will kick off its summer event season by hosting a free Ocean Fun Day, an annual environmental education event for children and families, on Saturday, May 17, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The event, organized by the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC) in coordination with the state Department of Environmental Protection, will offer eco-tours of the island, a host of hands-on activities, educational displays, a variety of classes, and exhibits that celebrate the wonders of the Jersey Shore, while offering offers tips on preserving our natural coastal resources for future generations.
“We’re excited to again host Ocean Fun Day at Island Beach State Park, to provide some great recreation for our residents and to show off how fully our park has recovered from the battering it took from Superstorm Sandy,’’ said Island Beach State Park Manager Ray Bukowski. “Our beautiful barrier island, where visitors are always enjoying and learning about the environment and the park’s ecology, is a perfect setting for this fun and educational event.”
A large number of exhibitors have committed to be a part of this year’s Ocean Fun Day. Activities will include seining (net fishing), coastal crafts, an energy-saving scavenger hunt, youth fishing clinics, face painting, touch tanks, a student science fair competition and the NJSGC’s famous fiddler crab races. There also will be a new clamming demonstration.
Visitors coming on Saturday to Island Beach State Park for Ocean Fun Day are directed to go to Ocean Bathing Area 1, which is about four miles past the park’s gatehouse.
“Hands down, there is not a more perfect place than Island Beach State Park for the start of Ocean Fun Days weekend,” said Claire Antonucci, Executive Director of the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium. “This year will be better than ever, with exciting new tours and activities to choose from including clamming and surf fishing workshops.
“The entire Ocean Fun Days team is looking forward to teaching the public about New Jersey’s coastal environment and how to best care for it while offering a weekend of terrific family fun.”
A second Ocean Fun Day will be held this weekend on Sunday, May 18, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the NJSGC headquarters in the historic Fort Hancock section of Sandy Hook.
Partners in Ocean Fun Days include founding sponsor New Jersey Natural Gas, the Asbury Park Press, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the DEP’s Division of Parks and Forestry.
Shaped by storms and tides, Island Beach State Park is a narrow barrier island stretching for 10 miles between the ocean and Barnegat Bay. It is one of New Jersey's last significant remnants of a barrier island ecosystem and is one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier beaches on the north Atlantic coast.
The park saw a strong recovery and attendance numbers last summer, its first since Superstorm Sandy. A full raft of interactive and educational nature programs were instituted, including the new Harvest the Bay series, which fosters public appreciation of the bay’s natural environment and the commercial fishing industry that depends on this watershed.
The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium is an affiliation of colleges, universities and other groups dedicated to advancing knowledge and stewardship of New Jersey’s marine and coastal environment. NJSGC meets its mission through its innovative research, education and outreach programs.
For more information about NJSGC and Ocean fun Day, visit: www.njseagrantconsortium.org
For more information about Island Beach State Park, visit: