Things to Do in Watchung, New Jersey

There are plenty of things to do in Watchung, New Jersey, a borough of Somerset County. This community is 29 miles west of New York City. You can visit the Trailside Nature & Science Center or take a Haunted Hayride through a deserted village. Fishing is also an option.

Trailside Nature & Science Center

Trailside Nature & Science Center is located in Watchung, New Jersey and is home to the Natural History Museum. This 4,500-square-foot museum is interactive and overlooks the Watchung Reservation. It features an aquarium, fossils, and a live reptile.

The center is home to 3 floors of exhibits covering the earth’s history and ecosystems. The nature center also has a 7,000 gallon aquarium and several live animals to watch. The center also features a nocturnal animal show, life-size wigwams, and information about the geology and history of the Watchung Mountains and Reservation.

Visitors can also explore the nature-themed Sensory Trail. It features educational boards that teach guests about plants, animals, and people. Some of these educational boards also include audio recordings to help the visually-impaired or non-readers learn about the various exhibits. Trailside Nature & Science Center is located on a large reservation, surrounded by woodlands, lakes, and fields. The facility also features 13 miles of hiking trails.

The Trailside Nature & Science Center in Watchungen, New Jersey offers activities for the whole family. It offers programs for kids of all ages and features a variety of interactive exhibits that will spark their interest in nature. Families with young children can participate in Back to Nature walks on Saturday mornings, where they can learn how to identify birds by color. Families can also learn about the Lenape Native Americans and the history of their ancestors. These family-friendly programs are free for Union County residents and $5 for non-residents.

Haunted Hayride

The Haunted Hayride is an annual event that brings local ghosts and historical facts together in an entertaining way. This hayride is designed for children and adults, and lasts approximately 60 minutes. This hayride offers a different experience for everyone.

Located in Union County, the Feltville Historic District is a cluster of 173-year-old buildings. Although the entire village is not actually a ghost town, you can still enjoy a ghost story or two while visiting the historic houses. The Feltville Historic District is home to a plethora of ghost stories, including tales of abandoned homes.

The Haunted Hayride in Watchung is one of the most popular attractions in the region. The Haunted Red Mill is located nearby. It offers 10 acres of scary scenes including a terrifying maze, a terror trail, and a hayride. You can upgrade to a Speed Pass for additional spooky fun!

The Haunted Hayride in Watchung features four terrifying attractions in one location. The Scare Farm features a haunted hayride with eerie apparitions and a graveyard of the walking dead. The other two attractions are the 3D Haunted Barn and the Living Maze.

Deserted Village

In Berkeley Heights, Union County, New Jersey, United States, the Feltville Historic District is home to several buildings from the 18th century. Locally, it is known as the “Deserted Village”. The district is a National Register of Historic Places.

Visitors can enjoy the history of the area while exploring the village’s cemetery. There are five headstones honoring the original settlers of the area. One of them is the original gravestone of John Willcock. Historians believe that as many as 24 people were buried in Willcock’s family plot. Another headstone commemorates John Willcocks, who served in the N.J. militia and was mortally wounded while fighting in General Washington’s army.

One of the first county parks in the country, Watchung Reservation was incorporated into the Union County Park System in 1921. In 1980, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1992, a New Jersey Historic Trust grant allowed stabilization work to begin on the site’s historic buildings. In addition, the grant allowed for the restoration of Masker’s Barn. Today, this historic building is used as a lecture hall and public assembly building. It is also rented out for events.

The village was once a popular vacation spot in New Jersey. At one time, there were as many as 175 residents and a nondenominational Union Church with a resident minister. However, Ackerman sold the property in 1916 and it became known as “the deserted village.” The Union Country Park Commission eventually purchased the land and integrated it into the Watchung Reservation. Today, only three families live in the village. The village is open to visitors for a self-guided tour.


If you are looking for some fishing opportunities, you can find them in Watchung, New Jersey. The area has several lakes, including Best Lake in Somerset County, home to a variety of fish. This lake offers the opportunity to catch carp, perch, largemouth bass, bullhead, pickerel, and other species. There are also several species of sunfish. Among the many species you can find here are pumpkinseed sunfish, bream, and bluegill.

The Watchung Reservation offers a quiet and peaceful environment where you can go fishing. The town of New Providence is located nearby. There is also Lake Surprise, which is the easternmost of the two lakes in the Watchung Reservation. This lake is not very large, but it is quiet and peaceful most days.

In addition to freshwater lakes, you can also go on a fishing trip in one of the nearby rivers and streams. New Jersey has more than 400 public lakes and streams where you can catch a variety of fish species. In particular, you can target largemouth and smallmouth bass. Some lakes also contain landlocked Atlantic salmon and yellow perch. In addition to these, the river systems in the area are home to rainbow trout.


For those who want to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, a great place to start is the Watchung Reservation, one of the biggest nature reserves in Union County, New Jersey. This 1,945-acre preserve is surrounded by the towns of Berkeley Heights, Mountainside, Summit, and Scotch Plains.

The Watchung Reservation is easily accessible and has picnic areas. However, the trails are not well marked, and they have a limited amount of interesting sites. These trails are best for those who are not interested in a long hike or who don’t have much time to explore the area.

Those who prefer to avoid hiking can opt for the History Trail, which traces the history of the Watchung Reservation. It also describes different uses of the land before it was incorporated into the park. The History Trail is marked with pink blazes. It starts and ends at the Trailside Nature & Science Center, but it can also be accessed from the parking areas at the Deserted Village of Feltville and Lake Surprise.

The History Trail is a 6.2-mile loop trail that combines beautiful scenery with the rich history of the area. Hikers can expect to hike for two to four hours if they plan on taking the entire trail. Moreover, the History Trail includes side trails along Blue Brook.

Horseback riding

For those who want a fun and unique way to experience New Jersey’s countryside, horseback riding in Watchung is a great option. The Watchung Stable offers guided hour-long trail rides by appointment. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned rider, the stable can guide you through the entire process. Guides will also give you tips and tricks for riding the horses and share information about the environment of the stable. You can also sign up for private lessons with an instructor.

There are several different places to take a horseback ride in Watchung. The Watchung Stable offers guided trail rides that follow bridle trails at the Watchung Reservation in Mountainside. These rides are available to individuals or groups of up to 15 people and are first-come-first-served. Private rides are also available, but you must call ahead to reserve a spot.

The Watchung Reservation has 2,000 acres of parkland that was created by the Olmsted brothers in 1921. These men were descendants of the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The Watchung Reservation includes a number of hiking trails, a lake, and a beautiful natural landscape. The most popular trail is the History Trail, which features numerous historic sites along the way.

Pony Pals is another place to take a ride. This farm has a program for young children and is open 365 days of the year. Beginner and experienced riders can ride here and can even lease a horse for a month. This farm also offers birthday party rooms and Scout programs for kids. It is also possible to schedule a private lesson at the ranch.

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