Spring Programs at the Nature Center
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 free without registration requirements; some will require advanced registration or advanced registration and payment of a nominal program fee as indicated below. A gate fee of $5.00 ($7.00 out-of-state) will be charged to motor vehicles entering the park on weekends and holidays 5/25 - 9/2 (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. These events are intended for families and individuals only. Programs for scouts, schools and other groups are scheduled separately by special arrangement. For additional information, please call us. Nature Center Phone : (609) 737-0609
EARLY SPRING TWILIGHT HIKE (Adult) Thursday April 4, 7:15 p.m. We will search the park’s remote northern sections for early spring twilight and nocturnal phenomena such as woodcocks in courtship, spring peepers and other breeding amphibians, owls, etc. Advanced registration required, Meet at the parking lot by Neiderer’s Pond (Church Rd). Wear boots and bring a flashlight. Advanced registration required.
GEOCACHE WASHINGTON CROSSING STATE PARK ( preteens – adult) Sunday April 7, 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 in the park. 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. A limited number of GPS navigation devices will be made available to participants on a first come, first served basis. Advanced registration required.
SPRING LIFESTYLES OF THE LOCAL NATIVE AMERICANS (all ages) Sunday April 14, 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. Free
WILD EDIBLE PLANTS (3 yrs. - adult) Sunday April 28,1:30 - 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. Fee: $2.00/person, under 6 yrs. Free. (exact change please). Advanced registration required.
SPRING PARK HIKE (9 yrs. - adult) Sunday May 5, 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. This is a naturalist-guided 3 1/2 - 4 mile hike taking on the park’s natural and historic areas, and several interesting and remote sections of the park during the spring wildflower and bird migration season. Wear sturdy footwear. Bring drinking water, a snack.
HIKE THE ROCK HOPPER TRAIL (preteen - adult) Sunday May 12, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. The Rock Hopper Trail in West Amwell Twp. is an outlier of Washington Crossing State Park. It contains mature hardwood forests, agricultural fields and interesting rock outcrops. The terrain is gently rolling and rugged. Wear sturdy shoes and bring drinking water. The hike will be 2-4 miles in length. Meet at the parking lot by Neiderer’s Pond in Washington Crossing State Park. (Church Rd). We will carpool to the trailhead. Advanced registration required. Call the Nature Center. Free
FULL MOON BIKE HIKE (pre-teen-adult) Saturday May 18, 8:30 p.m. Take a guided night time bicycle ride, by the light of the Flower Moon, 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, bike light and helmet. Advanced registration required. Call the Nature Center for directions. Free.
FAMILY NATURE WALK (all ages) Sunday May 19, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Join us for an informal naturalist-guided trail walk. Park vehicle entrance Fee: $5.00/vehicle.
SOLAR OBSERVATION ( all ages) Saturday May 25, 1:00 – 3:00 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. Jennifer and Dave Skitt and possibly 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 27, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
TYROLEAN TRAVERSE (6- 12 yrs.) Sunday May 26, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Tyrolean Traverse is a mountain rescue technique for crossing gorges and canyons on a horizontally suspended rope. In this case, willing (or not) participants will be pulling themselves across the Nature Center’s vernal pond infested with killer frogs and tadpoles and genuine New Jersey crocodiles. (see the video posted on the WCSP Facebook page) The event will be ongoing throughout the afternoon, weather permitting. Come prepared to get wet, just in case. This is a kid-event however, adult human guinea pigs will be considered if they’re not too heavy. Just come into the Nature Center and request the traverse. Park vehicle entrance fee applies $5.00/vehicle.
BALDPATE MOUNTAIN HIKE (pre-teen – adult) Sunday June 2, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. We will take the Summit Trail from its trailhead on Fiddlers Creek Rd. Meet at the parking lot by Niederer’s Pond (Church Rd). We will carpool to the trail. Advanced registration required. Free.
HOPEWELL VALLEY COME OUTSIDE AND PLAY – STREAM STOMP (all ages) Thursday June 6, 4:15 - 5:30 p.m. Kids will come to the Nature Center after school to walk one of our streams with collecting equipment in search of a variety of stream organisms. This catch and release event is organized in cooperation with the Hopewell Municipal Alliance. Wear water shoes or sneakers and be prepared to get wet at least to the knees. Free.
SPRING/SUMMER BIRDS OF THE PARK (all ages) Saturday June 8, 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 $5.00/vehicle.
FAMILY NATURE WALK (all ages) Sunday June 9, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Join us for an informal naturalist-guided trail walk. Park vehicle entrance Fee: $5.00/vehicle.
CANE POLE FISHING (4 yrs 12 yrs.) Sunday June 16, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. Come out to the pond and use a basic fishing pole made from a bamboo shoot and rigged to catch bluegills. Any caught fish will be released but you get to take your cane pole home. Meet at Niederers Pond on Church and Brickyard Roads. Rain date: Saturday June 22, 1:00 p.m. Advanced registration required. Free.
STREAM STOMP (6 yrs. - adult) Sunday June 23, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. Come out for a wet hike as we follow a park stream in search of crayfish, salamanders, caddisflys, stoneflys, mayflys, frogs, minnows and other stream inhabitants. Wear water shoes or old sneakers and come prepared to get wet at least up to the knees. Park vehicle entrance Fee: $5.00/vehicle.
GOAT HILL OVERLOOK HIKE (8 yrs. - adult) Sunday June 30, 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. Goat Hill Overlook is an outlier of Washing- ton 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. Advanced registration required. Free.