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Whether you’re in the mood for a walk in the park or want to get your kids out into the fresh air, Montclair has plenty of wide open and free spaces available for you to enjoy.

Kids of all ages will want to climb and swing at Edgemont Memorial Park on Valley Road,  Tuers Park on Stonehenge Road, Mountainside Park on Upper Mountain Avenue, Nishuane Park on Cedar Avenue, Rand Park on North Fullerton, Essex Park on Chestnut Street, Canterbury Park on Canterbury Drive or in one of the two large areas set up in Brookdale Park, on Watchung Avenue. And while you’re there, if you have a dog, there’s a fun dog park where your pet can have a play date and you can sit down and catch up on your reading. For good old fashioned outdoor fun, sans climbing equipment, Anderson Park on Bellevue Avenue in Upper Montclair is perfect. You can lounge around on the grass, or sit on one of the many benches and relax. There’s room for picnics, or a game of catch, and the paved walkway is perfect for a workout.

Other parks in town include Glenfield ParkGraz Park, Canterbury Park, Eagle Rock Reservation, and Yantacaw Brook Park. And, if you’re in the mood from something different, check out Kips Castle Park.

For hikers, the 143 acre loop that runs around the Mills Reservation on Normal Avenue is perfect. It is an unpaved pathway surrounded by trees, and is often quite serene. Just remember to take a friend – or a dog. Though it is often filled with walkers, the area is still set inside the forest. Other hiking spots include nature trails at the Alonzo F. Bonsal Wildlife Preserve on Riverview Drive and the Bird Sanctuary on Highland Avenue.  Both areas offer great opportunities for bird watching.

For sports enthusiasts, minor league baseball is never more than a pitch away, with the New Jersey Jackals right in Montclair at Yogi Berra Stadium. Skaters can go to the Floyd Hall Arena and rent skates, or simply pay a fee to use the ice.

One of our favorite places to visit is the Turtle Back Zoo. Although outside of Montclair, located in neighboring West Orange, this zoo is a gem and well worth the 7 minute drive. Parking is free, and with all of the new and expanded exhibits, the Turtle Back Zoo can offer you an entire day of fun. Don’t forget to take a ride on one of the endangered animals in the Carousel, or a trip on the old fashioned train that travel through the South Mountain Reservation. Children can ride ponies, feed the farm animals, and play on the playground.

And don’t forget the Essex County Environmental Center. It is outside of town, in nearby Roseland, and offers families an interactive learning experience about going green, via workshops, classes for toddlers and children and camps.

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