Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Boundary Creek Natural Resource Area

Location: Creek Rd. in Moorestown, NJ
Bathrooms: Yes
Eating area: Yes
Attractions: Hiking trails and boardwalks, viewing plaforms, butterly and hummingibird garden
Hours: open 7am to dusk

On a recent snooze cruise, I discovered Boundary Creek Park. It is literally maybe a ten minute drive from my house, so I still can't believe I hadn't seen or heard of this amazing park before.  I was looking for a place to take the kids for a morning walk since they had gotten up so early and wanted to play outside.  Not wanting to upset the neighbors with their early morning screaming, I packed up the kids, their bikes, and Grandmom, and headed to Boundary Creek.  
The kids riding their bikes on the trails
We arrived around 8:30 am to the sounds of birds and just a handful of other walkers. It was a beautiful morning and we parked immediately at the welcome pavilion where you can pick up a trail guide and use the restrooms.  There was no changing table, but the restrooms were very clean!!  This is also the general location for a picnic, however there are other locations along the trail that you could also decide to rest and eat.  I think eating along  the platform overlooking the Rancocas Creek would be fabulous!

Overlook shaded pavilion with pond

Anyways, just a short distance from the parking area, are the trails.  The Trails is set up like a double circle, one that goes to the right and one that goes to the left.  We started on the right, and found lots of lush and colorful vegetation, tons of birds singing, and numerous colorful insects.   The fields are full of milkweed plants, so look closely under the leaves and you could be looking for Monarch Butterfly caterpillars, chrysalis, and butterflies soon. Also, on the right hand side is the pavilion overlooking the pond filled with fish and frogs.  This would also be a great place for a snack! It is covered too, so it would protect from the sun.  Speaking of the sun, the trails do take you into some shaded forest areas, but also into lots of field areas so bring a water bottle, sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats to for protection.
One of several boardwalk trails and viewing areas
If you take the trail to the left you will be lead to the Rancocas Creek observation platform which is beautiful.  It was so quiet, with wildlife everywhere.  They even provide non coin operated binoculars so you can see the creek wildlife up close.

Just some of the beautiful scenery

Beautiful coneflowers that were attracting butterflies

Boundary Creek is a beautiful nature preserve that is not big and not overwhelming but a perfect place to   take a leisurely morning/evening walk, let the kids get "one with nature", and just take it all in.  We will definetly be coming back for more strolls!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Storytime at Riverton Library

Riverton Free Library
306 Main St., Riverton, NJ  08077

Story Hour Every Tuesday @ 10:30 am and Thursday at 10am"Children, ages infant to 4 years, are invited to join in the fun every Thursday for Story Hour Tuesday. Join us for finger play, books, flannel stories and coloring. No registration is required."

I love the Riverton Free Library. Acutally, I love the entire borough of historic Riverton located on the banks of the Delaware River. It's old time Victorian charm is so quaint and unique and makes going to the library a lot of fun! 

The Riverton Library is old, 1899 old!  So, it is VERY VERY TINY.  Now, that may drive some people crazy because events can be very crowded, but on days where there are no events, it makes it a snap to watch the kiddos.   I love that the kids can look for books in the kids section and on the same floor, only an aisle away, I can peruse the selves for my books.

Many of the library branches in Burlington County have story hour, but what makes the Riverton story hour a little different is the number of active songs and finger plays before the main story.  Mr. Mike actually encourages the kids to jump to the ceiling!  My son being the active one---loves this part of storytime!

My kids also love the visual use of the flannel board to tell stories and depending on the number of participants, Mr. Mike will ask for audience participation.  On the library tables, there is a coloring page and crayons related to the story read. My daughter the artist, loves this part!

What I like about this story time is that registration is not required.  As you all know, It is hard to commit to events because you never know what mood your children will be in until they wake up.  So if the kids are up for it, we go to story hour on Tuesday, or if something else comes up, I don't have to worry about calling and cancelling our registration.  However, the downside to not registring is that there is no limit and the event can be VERY BUSY.  Sometimes it's just too crowded for my little guys, that we opt out of the story hour. 

On nice days, another favorite part of going to the Riverton Library is our walk down to the Delaware River to read our books and eat a snack.  We bring a blanket, some juice boxes,snacks and we create an instant picnic. The kids love checking out the boats, the wildlife, and their books! What a view!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Playground Review: Zelley Playground at Fullerton Park, Moorestown NJ

Bathrooms: Yes
Eating area: YES (updated 7/11/11)
Attractions: castle themed playground, baseball field, basketball, and tennis courts
town of Moorestown great place to take a walk
Wheelchair Accessible Playground: Partially (handicap accessible swings..need to bring your own restraints, picnic tables are oversized for wheelchairs to go under.)

Today the kids and I visited the newly renovated Zelley Playground at Fullerton Park in Moorestown, NJ.  Located right off of 3rd Street on the corner of Linden and Zelley Ave, stands this awesome castle themed playground.  It is brand new and looks as though they still may be working on some areas, but it is now open to the public and of is free! Another important note.....yes, there are bathroom facilities!  However, at the time we went the doors were locked, so it may only be open during practices and sporting events, so just be prepared.  Because the doors were locked, I am also unable to report on the cleanliness and conditions of the restrooms.(SEE UPDATE BELOW)  The only con I have with the park is that there are no picnic tables.  A real shame! Hopefully, given that construction is still underway, maybe they are just not installed yet..(SEE UPDATE BELOW)

My kids (4 and 3 yr old) really enjoyed this playground!  The initial impression of entering a castle made them so excited!  They ran like madmen throughout the park trying to decide what to try first.  There are so many different areas to the park that kids can play here for quite some time. There are three main sections of Fullerton Park. The castle area is designated for older children. A separate tot play area for the under 5 age group and lastly a baseball field so you can bring sports equipment if a game or practice is not underway. Or just let the kids run free in this large grassy area!

The older castle themed area has so many fun areas for the kids to explore.  There are lots of hidden tunnels, and ladders to climb. The theme of the park instantly sparks the imagination of kids.  I overheard several kids pretending there were dragons in area and they had to protect the castle!  
There are so many places to climb, but check out the awesome rock wall that will have your older kids reaching for the stars! 

The over sized red "chair" swing was a big hit with the kids! This swing is intended for handicap children, but you will need to bring your own restraints in order to use them in that capacity. They have one of these chairs in both the older and younger kids sections of the park in addition to normal baby swings and "big kid" swings.  However, in the older section of the playground, the tire swing was also a favorite!

My kids also loved the tot area.  The train theme is always a big hit with the little ones! I loved having the two areas separated, but it was still easy to view each section from the opposite area. Aren't those mushrooms seats too cute?!

So, Zelley Park is now one of our most favorite parks. As my son said, " I just wuv it."  We will definitely be back. It is clean, great for all age groups, definitely could spend a couple hours at the park.

UPDATE: Upon another trip to the Zelley Playground, the bathrooms were open.  The bathroom conditons were okay. Much better than a port a potty, but there were some insects in the sink, so I would bring hand sanitizer next time. There is no changing table.

UPDATE: The picnic tables are up! The tables are oversized and large enough for a wheelchair to fit under and are located in the tot area. Bring your snacks and lunches!

More Photos of Zelley Park:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Burlington County Earth Fair 2011

Time: 10:30-4pm
Where: Smithville Park in Eastampton NJ

The Burlington County Earth Fair is a great family event! Most of the entertainment is free (except for food, canoe rides, and mansion tours) . There are nature activities, workshops, and crafts.  My family loves to simply walk the trails, visit the many animals at the petting zoos, see the puppet show, create tons of crafts,  and make our own music with the recycled items available.  Also, many of the vendors give out lots of freebies which the kids enjoy.  This event does get very busy so prepare to come early.  You could definitely spend at least several hours at this educational event.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Free Teacher Pass to the Philadelphia Zoo

The Philadelphia Zoo is once again offering the Summer Break Teacher Pass. This pass is available to certified/licensed preK-12 classroom teachers, principals and assistant principals who work in public, private and charter schools. The pass is good for your individual free admission, Mondays through Fridays, between June 15 and August 31, 2011. You can use the pass to visit the Zoo multiple times during this period. You must bring BOTH a valid pass and your teacher ID, union card or school district pay stub each time you visit the Zoo.

Hurry! The registration period runs through June 24, 2011.
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