Family Nature Club: Nature Adventurers

Join us to play and learn with TBZ’s very own

Family Nature Club!

Nature play is playing WITH nature, not just IN nature, and is a great way to interact with nature no matter your experience level or play style. Run, climb, build, dig, or even just sit and experience the sounds, smells, and sights of the outdoors. Family Nature Club (FNC) will visit different nature locations within the Essex County South Mountain Reservation each month.

See below for more details about Family Nature Club and what it’s all about.  Family Nature Club does not include zoo admission.


Upcoming Fall 2020 Dates and Themes (more info to be announced)

Sunday, September, 27 1-3pm:  Pond Party!!!

Register Here:

Click Here

Join us for a fun-filled “Pond Party”, where we will explore Hemlock Falls and discover local aquatic wildlife.  Families will hand-net specimens from the nearby stream so we can get a close-up look at all the life that inhabits running water.   

Sunday October 11, 1-3pm:  Autumn Artists

Calling all Autumn artists! We will be exploring South Mountain Reservation and making our own fall artwork out of the best natural materials there are – colorful leaves.

Sunday, October 25, 1-3pm:  Birding Bonanza

Do you love birds? Want to learn about local species? Come hike with us at Dogwood Hillside as we see and hear some of our beautiful native birds.

Sunday, November 8, 1-3pm:  Operation Preparation

Grab your cozy jackets and comfy boots! It’s getting chilly, and our native creatures are preparing for winter. Join us for an animal adventure as we learn how local animals get ready for winter.

Sunday December 13th, 1-3pm:  Footprint Finders

Attention all super sleuths!  Join us as we take the road less traveled and learn how to use clues in the woods to track animals. 



Family Nature Club (FNC) is all about playing in the best classroom there is: the outdoors! Join us as we discover local aquatic wildlife, from insects to fish. Our hikes starts at 1pm and lasts up to 2 hours.

What is Nature Play? Nature play is playing WITH nature, not just IN nature, and is a great way to interact with nature no matter your experience level or play style. Run, climb, build, dig, or even just sit and experience the sounds, smells, and sights of the outdoors. 

Family Nature Club is a great activity for your family. Please register each person in your family group.

Covid-19 Health and Safety. Everyone will be outside, but we’ll expect each family to physically distance themselves from the other families. Per the Essex County Health Department, face coverings must be worn in order to participate in the program.

Family Nature Club does not include zoo admission. You can purchase zoo admission separately at if you’d like to attend the zoo earlier in the day. The zoo will be closed by the time the FNC program has concluded for the day.

Family Nature Club backpacks, filled with nature play goodies, are available for purchase on the day of your event ($10 cash only). Please email your interest in purchasing a backpack to before the event. See below for more details about the backpacks.

Who Should Come
Nature Adventurers is for all ages and all abilities, though best recommended for 6+. There’s something for everybody- teens and adults are invited and encouraged to join in the fun, not just little ones!  If you have accessibility concerns, please contact your Nature Play Leader, Katie Fenyar at 973-731-5800 ext. 230 or who will work with you to accommodate.

What to Bring

  • Close-toed shoes and long pants (recommended for playing in tall grasses and the woods)
  • Reusable water bottle*
  • Sunscreen, bug spray, raincoat, poncho, or other seasonal or weather gear
  • Epi-pens, inhalers, or any other necessary medications for anyone in your family
  • A camera to capture the memories
  • Your imagination and eagerness to have fun!

What Not to Bring

  • Anything you don’t want to get dirty, wet, broken, or lost
  • Electronic devices you might get glued to (phones are ok if you’re just taking pictures). We will be ‘unplugging’ and do not want the electronics to become a distraction.
  • Grumpy attitude!

*NEW! Nature Adventurers Backpacks
We now have drawstring, water-resistant backpacks available with your own starter kit of adventuring supplies to take home! These are not required but recommended if you intend to come often or go on your own adventures outside of our meetups (or both!). Inside you’ll find:

  • a reusable water bottle
  • a telescoping net
  • a blank nature journal
  • colored pencils and sharpener
  • a laminated copy of the Nature Adventurers Handbook
  • a guide for Nature Play Resources that we recommend including books, websites, and apps
  • a water-resistant pencil case
  • 3 animal print adhesive bandages
  • a small bug jar with a magnifying lid
  • 2 Nature Adventurers stickers
  • paracord

These are while supplies last. We have them in the following color themes: Magenta, Red, Pink, Orange, Yellow, Lime Green/Black, Forest Green, Teal/Bright Orange, Light Blue, Royal Blue. When purchasing a ticket with a backpack, please indicate what color(s) you would like. If you do not select a color or we run out of that color, we will select one for you.

Cancellation with refund may be made up to 7 days prior to the originally scheduled date and time; no refunds will be offered less than 7 days prior to the originally scheduled tour date and time. Cancellations may be made by phone at 973-731-5800 ext. 230 or email:

  • Date September 14, 2020
  • Tags Conservation, Education, Family Play, Nature, Science, South Mountain Recreation Complex

Turtle Back Zoo

ZOO NOW OPEN with Timed Tickets Only! Please note we are SOLD OUT for Saturday, September 26th.CLICK HERE to Reserve Zoo Tickets.