SANDY HOOK: A FREE FUNDAY ON THE HOOK

The historic lighthouse at Sandy Hook is one of the man-made and natural highlights of Sunday’s Ocean Family Fun Day.

Closing in on Memorial Day weekend, which marks the return of entry fees at Sandy Hook, the folks at the Hook-based local chapter of the American Littoral​ Society are offering sightseers of all ages one last pre-season opportunity to enjoy the peninsula’s many natural and man-made wonders this Sunday.

The free Ocean Family Fun Day extends an invitation to enjoy exhibits, classes, nature tours, and children’s activities all about our coastal environment. It’s a four-hour slate beginning at 11 a.m. that includes seining, coastal crafts, an energy-saving scavenger hunt, youth fishing clinics, face painting, touch tanks, a student science fair competition, and the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium‘s “famous fiddler crab races.”

Families are directed to the Littoral Society’s headquarters, Building 18 in the Fort Hancock area at the northern end of the peninsula. It’s a location that offers easy walking access to some of the must-see scenery of the Hook, from the historic lighthouse to the imposing battlements, bayside “History House” at Officer’s Row, and other wartime infrastructure of the decommissioned military outpost.

A rare tour of the fort’s Nike Missile Radar Site runs from noon to 4 p.m., and a complimentary “History Bus” shuttle service will also be available, making stops at the various sites on the Fort Hancock tour.

Robert Colburn, a professor of biology at Middlesex County College, will assist birdwatchers in spotting local shore and woodland species during a Bird Walk tour that offers three half-hour sessions (11:45 a.m., 12:45 and 1:45 p.m.). Meanwhile, Mindy Voss of consortium explains the science of sandcastle construction during a trio of workshop sessions at 12:15, 1:15 and 2:15 p.m.

As an extra attraction, attendees will get a rare opportunity to enjoy a public tour of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory, the state-of-the-art facility charged with conducting research that leads to “a better understanding of both coastal and estuarine organisms and the effects of human activities on nearshore marine populations.”

Take it here for more information, or call the American Littoral Society chapter at (732) 291-0055.

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