TRENTON, N.J. - The Mercer County Park Commission will host Pontoon Boat Nature Tours this summer in addition to new Kayak Tours of Mercer Lake, located in Mercer County Park in West Windsor.

If you prefer to relax and learn, visit the Naturalist staff for an afternoon boat tour. These 90-minute educational tours highlight the ecology of Mercer Lake. Participants are equipped with binoculars to spot various birds and wildlife.

Kayak Tours of Mercer Lake are also being offered this summer. Beginners to experienced paddlers are invited to join park naturalists for some up-close encounters with the lake’s organisms. In kayaks, participants can paddle up to the shore line for views of wildflowers or float alongside a beaver dam. Binoculars will be loaned to participants who would like to use them.

Pontoon Boat Nature Tours commenced on June 6 and will run into early September. Most tours are hosted on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Please read the full program description below for details on dates, times and ticket information.

The 365-acre Mercer Lake is home to many native plants and wildlife that are seldom seen in central New Jersey. From June to September, the Mercer County Park Commission offers pontoon boat nature tours of Mercer Lake for the public. Situated at the extreme northern reaches of New Jersey’s coastal plain, Mercer County Park is in an area of transition between inland and coastal forests. Its sandy soils are host to an array of specialist plant species, and many types of wildlife can be seen at the lake’s edge. Join experienced Naturalist and Marina staff members on a Pontoon Boat Nature Tour to discover the wild side of Mercer County Park.

No registration is required. Tickets can be purchased at the Mercer County Park Marina.  Ticket sales begin at noon on the day of the tour, and are on a first-come, first-served basis. Ticket Prices are $10 for adults and $5 for children (under 12) and seniors. Meet at Mercer County Park, Marina entrance. Ticket holders can enter the dock at 1 p.m. Each tour runs from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

NATURE TOUR SCHEDULE: Wednesday, June 19; Thursday, June 20; Friday, June 21; Wednesday, July 17; Thursday, July 18; Friday, July 19; Wednesday, Aug. 14; Thursday, Aug. 15; Friday, Aug. 16; Thursday, Aug. 29; Friday, Aug. 30; Thursday, Sept. 5; and Friday, Sept. 6.
 
Kayak Tours will begin on Friday, June 14. At the heart of Mercer County Park’s 2,500 acres is Mercer Lake, the largest body of water in the County.  The lake is home to many native plants and wildlife: great blue herons, double-crested cormorants and aquatic turtles are common on the lake, and bald eagles, osprey and beavers are occasionally sighted. Join Tyler Christensen for a kayak tour of Mercer Lake; travel around the shore of the lake to learn about the organisms that make up this aquatic environment.

This program is $16 per person and requires registration. To register, please notify Jenn Rogers at jrogers@mercercounty.org or (609) 303-0706.  Be sure to bring plenty of water and shoes that can get wet. Kayaks, paddles, life jackets, and binoculars for wildlife viewing will be provided.

This program meets at the Marina at Mercer County Park. Each Kayak Tour runs from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Kayak Tours will be offered on the following dates: Friday, June 14; Friday, July 19; Saturday, Aug. 3; and Saturday, Aug. 17.

For more information on Mercer County Park Commission programs and events, visit  www.mercercountyparks.org or “like” the Park Commission on Facebook for regular updates.