Saturday, October 21, 2017

Kids can get behind the wheel of some of their favorite vehicles at the JCC of Central New Jersey’s Touch a Truck event.

Kids can get behind the wheel of some of their favorite vehicles at the JCC of Central New Jersey’s Touch a Truck event.

Swan boats, which first appeared in New Jersey in the 19th century, are available for rental at West Orange’s South Mountain Recreation Complex.

To most adults, transportation is merely a way to get from here to there. But when seen through the eyes of a child, every plane, train and automobile is the source of endless wonder and excitement. If you have a transportation enthusiast in your life, you will want to visit the JCC of Central New Jersey’s Touch a Truck event on Sunday, May 21. This is the second year that the JCC, located in Scotch Plains, will be hosting this event, which gives children the unique opportunity to get a close look at vehicles of all types. Children are allowed to get the behind the wheel and explore emergency, construction, utility, landscaping, delivery and public service vehicles. Touch a Truck is free and will also feature music and games. The first hour of the event, 1:00-2:00 p.m., is designated as “Hold the Horn” time for children with special needs and those with auditory sensitivity issues, which means there will be no horns, sirens, or music during this time. For more information, including details about offsite parking, please visit www.jccnj.org.

If boats are more your speed, there is no shortage of places where your family can enjoy time together on the open water. There are a number of locations in our area where you can rent paddle boats (sometimes called pedal boats) including Verona Park (Verona), Echo Lake Park (Mountainside), Warinanco Park (Elizabeth), South Mountain Recreation Complex (West Orange), and Lewis Morris County Park (Morris Township). Before heading out, remember to check the specific location for any age/weight restrictions. For a totally different boating experience, you can try one of Hackensack Riverkeeper’s Eco-Cruises. There are a number of Eco-Cruises from which to choose, all of which take place on 30-foot pontoon boats and are narrated by U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captains. The popular Meadowlands Discovery tour includes a trip through the Sawmill Creek Wildlife Management Area, which is home to wildlife including shorebirds, herons, raptors, muskrats and terrapins. Other itineraries take passengers up the Hackensack River to the heart of the Hackensack or down the river, the entire length of Newark Bay, to Staten Island. For tour schedule and more information, please visit www.hackensackriverkeeper.org.

For a little of everything, plan a visit to Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Here, you can rent bicycles, take a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and/or Ellis Island, participate in a kayak eco tour (for adults and children 16 and older), and explore the Central Railroad of NJ Terminal. From 1892 through 1954, immigrants that had been greeted by the Statue of Liberty and processed at Ellis Island then purchased tickets and boarded trains at the Terminal that took them to their new homes throughout the nation. During the park’s Fleet Week celebration on Sunday, May 28, families will have the opportunity to meet Navy Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. The event also features a jump by “The Leap Frogs,” the U.S. Navy Parachute Team and a Navy helicopter on display, as well as activities for kids.

By Rachel Jager