With the pandemic still looming in our midst, this year’s family-friendly Ocean Fun Days was once again held virtually. The event was a whale of success celebrating 18 years of ocean discovery, coastal stewardship, and energy conservation with a month-long educational extravaganza.
Starting October 1st through the end of the month, Ocean Fun Days participants gained access to online video presentations from over 30 exhibitors, at-home activities, and educational resources to provide eco-friendly fun… right from home. Some videos focused on New Jersey’s most important local animals and their value to the ecosystem including horseshoe crabs, eels, and sharks, while others concentrated on anthropogenic themes such as micro-plastics, saving energy and water, and the environment. New this year, New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium educators led LIVE presentations via zoom on topics like diamondback terrapins, horseshoe crabs, and ocean swimming safety.
Ocean Fun Days Goes Virtual
Rosemary Higgins and Mindy Voss teach students about sharks and rip currents.
Student learning about horseshoe crabs!
Rosemary Higgins, College & Special Programs Coordinator expressed “I just love coordinating Ocean Fun Days and working with many sponsors and exhibitors who help make the event a great success! The last two years Ocean Fun Days has been virtual with fun and exciting videos from our exhibitors for visitors online to enjoy. One of the most frequently visited pages the “Teachers Corner” gave teachers many resources with dozens of interactive classroom activities and lesson plans.”
From left to right: Diana Burich (NJSGC), Samantha Kreisler (NJSGC), Thomas Hayes (New Jersey Natural Gas), and Rosemary Higgins (NJSGC) celebrate the success of Ocean Fun Days.
Thomas Hays of New Jersey Natural Gas notes: “As a company committed to achieving a low-carbon, clean energy future that has built the most environmentally sound natural gas system in the state, we’re proud to have collaborated on Ocean Fun Days 18 years ago and thrilled with our partnership with the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and other participants. Next’s year’s event promises to make an even bigger splash!”
At New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, we appreciate all of the partners that made Ocean Fun Days possible. Thank you to our many exhibitors who took the time and energy to showcase their knowledge and expertise, especially Ocean Fun Days sponsor New Jersey Natural Gas. Most importantly thanks to all participants, whose desire to learn about our marine world makes events like Ocean Fun Days worthwhile. Although we loved seeing your smiling faces on our computer screens, we hope to see you in person next year! Stay tuned for more updates on Ocean Fun Days 2022.
Celebrating 18 Years with an Entire Month of Virtual Family Fun and Education
This year’s family-friendly Ocean Fun Days event will once again take place virtually starting this Friday October 1st and run for the entire month of October! Join New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and our partners as we celebrate 18 years of ocean discovery, coastal stewardship and energy conservation.
Online video presentations from over 30 exhibitors will provide eco-friendly fun focused on ocean discovery, coastal stewardship and energy conservation. Several presentations provide fascinating information about some of our most important local animals, including horseshoe crabs, eels, and sharks. There will also be informative videos on micro-plastics, saving energy and water, and the environment.
In addition, new LIVE presentations this year will feature topics from NJSGC educators such as diamondback terrapins, horseshoe crabs and ocean swimming safety. Teachers, parents, and students alike join new LIVE presentations, presented by NJ Sea Grant Consortium instructors. Click the links below to register:
October 1, 10 a.m. Terrific Terrapins: Meet New Jersey’s estuarine turtles, the Northern Diamondback Terrapin, in this fun program that teaches students why these animals are so unique and important to our coastal ecosystems. In this presentation participants will discover this reptile’s adaptations, anatomy, habitat, and virtually meet a realNorthern Diamondback Terrapin. Visitors and students will also learn about the impacts humans on terrapin populations. This 45-60 minute program is suitable for all ages especially grades K-6. Watch the webinar recording here.
October 6, 11 a.m. Horseshoe Crabs: Learn about these amazing East Coast natives with NJSGC educators as they take you on a virtual trip through the life of this “living fossil” species that has lived on Earth for more than 400 million years! Do you know why their blood is blue or what their telson is used for? Find out during this engaging presentation that touches on horseshoe crab anatomy, their role in the marine ecosystem and how they are helpful to humans. This 60-minute webinar is suitable for all ages, especially children in grades K-8. Watch the webinar recording here.
October 30, 1 p.m. Sharks vs Rip Currents – a Most “Spooktacular” Comparison: Just in time for Halloween, NJSGC educators will share the mysteries of two ocean “inhabitants”: rip currents and sharks. While both can seem frightening, the more information you know will give you a better chance of keeping safe around them. Learn how to avoid rip currents and what to do if you get caught in one. Also, discover how likely you are to ‘meet’ a shark and how all their adaptations make them important apex predators. This 60-minute webinar is suitable for all ages.
Bring #OceanFunDays into your classroom! There are also many online resources and activities. Teachers, and students alike are invited to dive in and join the fun by visiting OceanFunDays.org for #OceanFunDays2021 on October 1st.
Celebrating 17 Years with 17 Days of Virtual Family Fun and Education
This year’s family friendly Ocean Fun Days event (originally scheduled to be held at Island Beach State Park and Sandy Hook in May) will now take place virtually starting October 10th and run for 17 days.
Online video presentations from over 30 exhibitors will provide eco-friendly fun focused on ocean discovery, coastal stewardship and energy conservation. Several presentations provide fascinating information about some of our most important local animals, including horseshoe crabs and harbor seals. There will also be videos on boating safety and saving energy and the environment. In addition, you’ll find other fun activities like word searches, crossword puzzles, coloring pages, and more.
The new event platform includes a short “throwback” video from New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s famous Fiddler Crab Races, and a quick video on Diamondback Terrapin turtles recorded during our Virtual Summer Day Camp program – culminating in exciting turtle races!
Online experiments (including some from our member college professors and current research being done at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, Fisheries Lab) provide a great resource for teachers to share with students in their virtual classrooms. There are plenty of additional resources, including worksheets, and other learning tools for educators and parents alike.
So, what’s next? We’re hoping for an in-person event come 2021! Save the dates for May 22 at Island Beach State Park and May 23 at Sandy Hook.
Ocean Fun Days is presented by founding sponsor New Jersey Natural Gas, in partnership with New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, Asbury Park Press, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, National Park Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Please contact our Communications Specialist for more information.
Given the current situation surrounding COVID-19, the Ocean Fun Days (OFD) committee along with its sponsors have ultimately decided to hold an ALL VIRTUAL event in October 2020. All OFD partners take the health and safety of our exhibitors, guests, staff, and community very seriously. Therefore, New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and New Jersey Natural Gas recently made the very difficult decision to cancel our annual gatherings at Island Beach State Park and Sandy Hook. Stay tuned for more information regarding this year’s virtual event as details continue developing.
Ocean Fun Days was originally rescheduled for Saturday, October 10 at Island Beach State Park and Sunday, October 11 at Fort Hancock’s Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook back in April.
We truly appreciate the hard work and cooperation of all partners, vendors, attendees, and volunteers during this time.
Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you back at the beach this fall!
Come to #OFD2020 and celebrate waves of discovery – please visit the official website for more information.
New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and New Jersey Natural Gas would like to thank everyone who came out to celebrate the 16th annual Ocean Fun Days with us. We experienced record-breaking crowds this weekend, with smiles and eagerness to learn all around. Thanks especially to our sponsors and exhibitors – this festival wouldn’t be possible without their hard work and dedication!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on what makes this event so great, and how we can improve things in the future. Please take a moment to complete our online questionnaire.
BONUS: Submit your email with the survey and have a chance to win a one-of-a-kind “OFD 2019” t-shirt! [As pictured below on NJSGC’s doggie mascot, Taylor Ham]
Join NJSGC and New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) for our 16th annual Ocean Fun Days! This popular two-day event takes place on Saturday, May 18th at Island Beach State Park and Sunday, May 19th at Sandy Hook from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. both days, rain or shine. FREE ADMISSION FOR ALL!
Join the official FACEBOOK EVENT page for more exciting updates and behind-the-scenes info!
Also please visit the OFD website for more information and directions.
Enjoy hands-on marine and environmental programs and exhibits. There will be giveaways and plenty of excitement, plus fun ways to learn about our coastal environment and energy conservation for the whole family to enjoy.
Learn how to use a seine net to catch native fish, crabs, and other marine creatures. Grab a fishing rod and join the youth fishing clinic. Test your boating safety knowledge or become a beachcomber and search for natural treasures on a guided tour. Hear firsthand from New Jersey scientists and researchers all about the inner-workings of the ocean and the coastline and how to protect them for generations to come.
On Sunday at Sandy Hook, the NOAA Marine Fisheries Lab building will be open to the public, with many interactive exhibits as well as scientists and researchers on hand to share with you their exciting work. This only happens just once a year!
Don’t miss out on these two days of Free Family Fun!
The historic Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook transformed into a “coastal awareness” wonderland on Sunday (May 20th) to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Ocean Fun Days. The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium hosted over 35 exhibitors and displays, as well as several engaging tours and workshops. Take a look!
Did YOU attend Ocean Fun Days this year? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts! If interested, please take part in the 2018 Ocean Fun Days survey.
Despite rather unpredictable weather conditions, hundreds of enthusiastic visitors descended upon the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium parade grounds to learn more about marine science, energy conservation, and a diverse array of eco-friendly concerns. Such outgoing optimism even inspired the sun to shine bright throughout the entire event, making for a full afternoon of family fun and unforgettable memories at the Jersey Shore.
To mark such a monumental year, several new activities were offered, including an interactive Rip Currents vs. Sharks trivia game and participatory paddleboarding/kayaking demos. Parts of the NOAA Fisheries Service James J. Howard Lab were open to the public, and tour guides aboard the “History Bus” provided interesting facts and information while transporting attendees to various WWI and WWII sites throughout the Gateway National Park. For the full Ocean Fun Days 2018 program, please go here.
Ocean Fun Days also took place at Island Beach State Park in Seaside Park, NJ on Saturday (May 19th).
Ocean Fun Days is presented by founding sponsor New Jersey Natural Gas, in partnership with New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, Asbury Park Press, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, National Park Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium is looking forward to hosting another eventful Ocean Fun Days in 2019!
This year’s highly-anticipated Ocean Fun Days will be held on Saturday, May 19th at Island Beach State Park in Seaside Park and Sunday, May 20th at New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s (NJSGC) headquarters in the historic Fort Hancock section of Sandy Hook. Both events take place rain or shine from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. As always, admission and parking are free to all attendees.
View the official 2018 Ocean Fun Days brochure here!
Ocean Fun Days is a weekend of eco-friendly fun the whole family can enjoy. Many popular exhibitors are scheduled to return in 2018, along with new additions. They’ll offer a diverse array of educational displays, nature tours, and interactive programs focused on coastal stewardship and energy conservation. Activities at both locations include seining, coastal crafts, an energy scavenger hunt, youth fishing clinic, face painting, touch tanks, games and exciting giveaways.
New this year at Island Beach State Park, volunteer to help plant dune grass and keep the park clean by collecting marine debris and learning about our oceans’ plastic pollution problem with park staff. Register on-site for workshops including kayak and surfing demonstrations, seining the bay, and shorebird watching.
On Sandy Hook, be sure to see NJSGC’s famous fiddler crab races and take part in Dr. Amy Williams’ thrilling Rip Currents vs. Sharks trivia game to learn about ocean hazards and beach safety. Meet author Don Walsh as he reads from his book “Teach the Beach” and don’t miss Kevin Murray, from Sandy Hook’s Kayak and Sup Rentals on the parade ground as he shares useful tips about paddleboarding and kayaking on the bay. As always, the NOAA Fisheries Service James J. Howard Lab will be open to the public as will historical WWI and WWII sites throughout the park including Battery Gunnison and History House. New this year at Sandy Hook there will also be boats and historic military vehicles on display. Complimentary shuttle bus service is provided from 11 a.m. to 3p.m. to take visitors to all tour sites.
Ocean Fun Days is presented by founding sponsor New Jersey Natural Gas, in partnership with New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, Asbury Park Press, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, National Park Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Please visit NJSGC’s official OFD webpage for more information.
Celebrating its fourteenth year, Ocean Fun Days drew a crowd of thousands this past weekend (May 20-21), as attendees both young and old partook in hours of nonstop fun and interactive education.
Despite a slight chill in the air on Saturday at Island Beach State Park in Seaside Park (NJ), display tables were jam-packed with individuals eager to learn more about coastal stewardship and energy conservation, among several other exciting environmental subjects. The release of diamondback turtle hatchlings into their natural habitat (hosted by Project Terrapin and the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science), was a sight that couldn’t be missed, and will likely become a favorite OFD memory for years to come.
The sun evoked smiles and laughter at Sandy Hook on Sunday, where a few lucky participants were crowned “claw” winners during the popular fiddler crab races. NOAA scientists also offered a rare glimpse into what wonders take place at the James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory.
Over 50 exhibitors presented at this year’s event, including the American Littoral Society, Clean Ocean Action, NJDEP Division of Parks and Forestry, Rutgers Cooperative Extension/Water Resources Program, and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. Other activities included seining, bird walks, beachcombing, and tours of Sandy Hook’s legendary Lighthouse and Fort Hancock Battery Gunnison.
Ocean Fun Days is presented by founding sponsor New Jersey Natural Gas, in partnership with New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, Asbury Park Press, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, National Park Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
For more information on upcoming events, please contactNJSGC Communications Specialist Danica Bellini at email@example.com.