Family Nature Club

Join us to play and learn with

TBZ’s very own Family Nature Club!


Family Nature Club (FNC) is all about discovering the world, and playing WITH nature, not just IN nature.  Experience the sounds, smells, and sights of the outdoors with FNC as we explore our natural heritage within Essex County’s parks.  We offer two different kinds of FNC Programs to our community: one focused on exploration, the other on service.

Nature Adventurers is an FNC hiking program where we explore our local ecosystems, from rivers to forests and more.  We strive to foster discovery of NJ’s fascinating and diverse wildlife and the roles that they fill within our local ecosystems, no matter how big or small.  Most programs have a discovery theme, but in the spirit of nature, anything can happen!

Nature Guardians is an FNC program focused on community engagement that connects families with local conservation actions and citizen science research, shaping our understanding of the natural world.  This evolving program began as we created a garden to provide habitat for our VIP’s: Very Important Pollinators!  Future programs will continue to focus on community service projects that help build healthier habitats.

See below for more details about Family Nature Club and what it’s all about.  Family Nature Club does not include zoo admission.  Family Nature Club does not always meet at TBZ; you will receive detailed instructions if we plan to not meet at the zoo.


2022-2023 Dates and Themes!

Nature Adventurers Winter 2022-2023 Dates and Themes!

To Register for Nature Adventurer Programs:  Click Here

Type “FNC” into the search text to find our events.

Nature Adventurers programs meet offsite.  You’ll receive detailed instructions for where to meet in advance of the program.  Program locations are usually within a 5-10 minute drive of the zoo.

  • National Take a Hike Day:  Sunday, November 13 from 1pm-3pm
  • Happy Nature New Year:  Sunday, January 8 at 1pm-3pm (meets at Tulip Springs)
  • Snow School:  Sunday, January 22 at 1pm-3pm (meets at South Mountain Dog Park)
  • Woodland Wanderers:  Sunday, February 5 at 1pm-3pm (meets at South Mountain Dog Park)

To Register for Nature Adventurer Programs:  Click Here

Type “FNC” into the search text to find our events.


Nature Guardians Winter 2022-2023 Dates and Themes!

To Register for Nature Adventurer Guardians:  Click Here

Type “FNC” into the search text to find our events.

Join us for Ready, Set, Bird to get ready for the Christmas Bird Count!  Ready, Set, Bird includes a 30 minute how-to-bird presentation followed by time outside to practice our birding skills.  Binoculars not provided, must bring your own.

The Christmas Bird Count and Great Backyard Bird Count are national annual events where researchers and bird-enthusiasts alike get out across the country to identify as many birds as possible on the same day.  This helps researchers and conservation organizations like The Audubon Society understand how bird populations are changing in response to  threats (i.e. climate change, habitat loss, window strikes) and take action to protect them.

  • Ready, Set, Bird #1: Sunday, November 27, 10am-noon (meet at TBZ’s Berson Family Center)
  • Ready, Set, Bird #2: Sunday, December 11, 1-3pm (meet at TBZ’s Berson Family Center)
  • The Christmas Bird Count: Saturday, December 17, 9-11am (meet at TBZ’s Main Entrance)
  • The Great Backyard Bird Count:  Sunday, February 19, 1-3pm (meet at the South Mountain Reservoir entrance across from Turtle Back Zoo’s main entrance)

To Register for Nature Adventurer Guardians:  Click Here

Type “FNC” into the search text to find our events.




Frequently Asked Questions…

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, social distancing and face coverings are optional.

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 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 before 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 email:

  • Date June 6, 2022
  • Tags Animals, Conservation, Education, Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, Family Event, Family Play, Nature, Science

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