Daily Diversions


Looking for something to do? Bundle up and head outside to create your very own snowman! When you're done, don't forget to snap a photo for our contest! The winning snowman maker will receive a gift card to Here's The Story Bookstore. Stay safe, stay warm and have fun.


Happy snow day! If you’re not ready yet to brave the blizzard to build a snowman outside (don’t forget to enter our contest once you do!), we have the perfect indoor activity for you… build a marshmallow snowman! It’s a perfect diversion for the entire family – set out all of the supplies and decorations and let everybody put their own creative spin on their snowman. Start by collecting the basic items you’ll need to construct your snowman family. First on the list is obviously a few marshmallows per person, but you’ll also need something to slide the marshmallows onto (i.e. a straw, chopstick, skewer). Then, raid the pantry for anything you can use to decorate. Mini chocolate chips or M&Ms can be the buttons or even the eyes. A piece of licorice could make a scarf. A stray candy corn from Halloween would make a colorful nose, so would a cut piece of Starburst. Get creative and think outside the box for your snowman decorations! If you have a jar of frosting on hand, use that to glue your decorations to the marshmallows. If not, make up a small batch of your own by mixing 1/2c of confectioner’s sugar and a tablespoon of milk. Once your snowman has dried, snap a few pictures and then devour! Share those snapshots with us on Instagram at @twpunionnjrec and @twpunionnj! 

Below are our Daily Diversions from 2020. 

  1. Discover
  2. Exercise
  3. Create
  4. Experiment
  5. Compete

Mon. March 23 - Visit the Air & Space Museum

Today’s daily diversion from Union Recreation is out of this world… the Google Arts & Culture app gives families awesome access to some of the world’s most beloved museums.  Today we’re highlighting the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum.  There are currently 49 online exhibits available to view, including “Toys Inspired by the Space Shuttle” and “The Perplexing Problem of Designing Gloves for Space.”  Each exhibit, which features high quality images or videos along with short descriptions, takes only a few minutes to scroll through.  The Google Arts & Culture feature can be accessed by an iOS/Android app or it can be viewed on your computer by visiting: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/smithsonian-national-air-and-space-museum?hl=en

Mon. March 30 - Union County Falcon Cam

Today’s daily diversion from Union Recreation takes you up, up and away… Did you know that there is a peregrine falcon nest atop the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth?  According to Audubon, peregrine falcons nearly disappeared decades ago but have been reintroduced throughout North America and their populations are recovering.  One of the world’s fastest birds, peregrine falcons are believed to be capable of speeds of about 200mph when hunting their prey.  The female falcon who lives in the nest at the courthouse just recently started laying eggs so her and her partner are now taking turns incubating the eggs. Audubon says the eggs are typically incubated for about 32-35 days so in about a month you just might see those eggs hatching!  The livestream is available free of charge on the County website, at www.ucnj.org/falcon. Don’t forget to check out the comments as other eagle-eyed viewers will help you understand what you’re seeing and let you know if you missed anything since the last time you checked the livestream.  For more information about peregrine falcons, visit the Audubon website to read more: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/peregrine-falcon.

Mon. April 6 - Virtually Visit the Insect Museum

Today’s daily diversion from Union Recreation is all about insects… since we’re all walking around outside more than ever and it’s starting to warm up, you and your children have probably seen a lot of insects lately.  Did you know there’s a museum that is devoted solely to insects?!  Thanks to Google’s Arts & Culture app, you can virtually visit the museum, which is located in China, from the comfort of your home.  The museum has over 700,000 specimens of different insects from all around the world.  Current online exhibits include: “The Discovery of the World’s Longest Insect” and “Stag Beetles: Gladiators of the Insect World.”  What better way to learn about these fascinating creatures up-close-and-personal without worrying about them scurrying around your floor.  The Google Arts & Culture feature can be accessed by an iOS/Android app or it can be viewed on your computer by visiting: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/insect-museum-of-west-china

Mon. April 13 - Visit the Bronx Zoo

Today’s daily diversion from Union Recreation will let your child’s imagination run “wild”… while you may not be able to visit the Bronx Zoo in person right now, their website is full of great content for animal lovers. The “Virtual Zoo” portion of their website includes live camera feeds, educational lessons and their top Instagram posts!  To learn even more about the animals living at the Bronx Zoo, check out the reality tv show called The Zoo, which follows the zookeepers and the animals they care for.  Season 4 just started in early April so you have time to binge the first three seasons on Netflix and catch up to the episodes currently airing on Animal Planet.  Kids and parents alike will definitely fall in love with the zoo!  Click here to view the “Virtual” Bronx Zoo: https://bronxzoo.com/virtual-zoo.

Mon. April 20 - Walk on Mars

Today’s daily diversion from Union Recreation will be out of this world… thanks to a partnership between Google and NASA, we are able to explore the terrain of Mars from the comfort and safety of our living room. The well-named Curiosity Rover has been driving around the surface of Mars since 2012. The initial mission was meant to last for just two years but the Curiosity is still roving nearly eight years later! The robot has covered about 15 square miles so far, about the size of Union and Springfield combined, all the while beaming pictures and information back to NASA. The VR tour of Mars is created by stitching together these images and modeling them into a 3D world. When you visit the website, click “Enter 360” and watch the informative introduction. Once your virtual rover lands on Mars you can move it around similar to how you would use street view on Google Maps. As you move around you’ll come across points of interest and explanations about why they are important. Click here to start exploring: https://accessmars.withgoogle.com/.

Mon. April 27 - Explore Yellowstone National Park

Today’s daily diversion from Union Recreation will take you to America’s first national park… Just because National Parks Week just came to an end doesn’t mean it’s time to stop exploring! Google Earth has a feature that allows you to virtually visit our national parks while you’re in your pajamas. Here are two tips to help you successfully navigate the software: 1) use the arrows in the bottom right corner to skip through the different highlighted attractions at the park you are viewing and 2) look for the percentage towards the bottom left which will show you when the page is fully loaded and ready for you to zoom. When you’re outfitted for your adventure, click here to get started: https://earth.google.com/web/@0,0,0a,22251752.77375655d,35y,0h,0t,0r/data=CjASLhIgMjY1ZWFhYmEyZWQ0MTFlOTg3OGQ0NWEzN2RiYmYzMTEiCmdjc19pdGluXzA. To learn even more about the sites at Yellowstone, check out the National Park Service website: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/virtualtours.htm.

Mon. May 4 - Monterey Bay Aquarium

Today’s daily diversion from Union Recreation will take you under the sea… In recent daily diversions we have visited museums and zoos but we have yet to virtually visit an aquarium to see the ocean’s creatures! The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, home to over 35,000 creatures, is one of the largest in America. They have a great selection of live cams available featuring sharks, sea otters, penguins, birds, and more! Each live cam has a specific schedule depending on the animals so be sure to check each one to see which is live when you logon (remember: they are Pacific time). Our favorite? The moon jellyfish live cam, paired with its faint background music, is an ethereal and meditative experience. To find your favorite live cam at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, click here: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams.

Mon. May 11 - Virtual TryCAN Programs

Today’s Daily Diversion from Union Recreation will introduce you to the programs of TryCAN… TryCAN is a collaboration between local towns to coordinate inclusive recreation and social development programs for children with special needs. To help meet the needs of our community’s students, TryCAN is still offering their programming remotely. Current classes include yoga, dance and sports. There’s even a program called Teen Zoom which is for teenagers who are looking to connect and interact with their peers. The Teen Zoom program meets on Mondays and Fridays at 3:00pm and features a number of party games that the children can play together over Zoom. TryCAN programming is led by the Summit Department of Community Programs, so to register for one of their online programs please email David Guida at DGuidaJr@cityofsummit.org.

Mon. May 18 - Visit Diggerland USA

Today’s Daily Diversion from Union Recreation takes us to one of New Jersey’s most unique amusement parks… Diggerland USA, which is located in South Jersey, is the only construction-themed amusement park in the United States. Unfortunately, we cannot currently visit to enjoy the 40+ attractions that the park offers but the Diggerland USA Facebook page is bringing the big digger excitement to your home three times a week. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 1:30pm they go live with a Daily Dig video that highlights a different piece of heavy-duty equipment featured in the park. Recent videos included an aerial lift, a wheel loader, and their homemade Dig-A-Round excavator carousel. Josh, Diggerland USA’s general manager, hosts each video and is great at answering viewer questions so don’t hesitate to comment with your child’s burning questions! Tune in for today’s Daily Dig here: https://www.facebook.com/DiggerlandUSA/.

Mon. May 25th - Happy Memorial Day

Today’s Daily Diversion from Union Recreation includes 14 meaningful Memorial Day activities… This guide, courtesy of Mighty Moms, does a great job of putting Memorial Day in perspective and helping you find activities that can teach your kids the significance of the day. There are links to coloring pages, patriotic craft ideas and even book suggestions. Each activity is purposeful and relates back to the importance of the holiday. To read more about the selected activities, click here: https://www.mightymoms.club/family-fun/memorial-day-activities/.  

Mon. June 1 - Virtually Visit Disneyland

Today’s daily diversion from Union Recreation will take your family to the happiest place on Earth… If you had to reschedule an upcoming vacation to one of Disney’s parks this summer, MouseSteps on Youtube is a great way to virtually visit the park with your children. Each video highlights a specific ride, show or attraction at the Disney parks around the world. The ride videos often include footage of the waiting line area as well as views from the front/middle/back of the ride -- perfect for scouting out which rides are a must when you visit. In addition to videos about all of the amusements, there is also a MouseSteps Weekly video series that provides updates from the parks around the world which is especially helpful right now. To check out MouseSteps on Youtube click here: https://www.youtube.com/user/JeffLangeDVD/featured

Mon. June 8 - Cape May Zoo School

Today’s daily diversion from Union Recreation takes you down to the Cape May Zoo… In the months of April and May, the Cape May Zoo released a series of videos they called Zoo School. Each video features a specific type of animal and includes educational explanations about the history of the animals, their natural habitat, what food they eat, etc. Some are good for a laugh too, none more so than the Day 20 - Camels video! There are 37 videos in all and each video is about 8-15 minutes long so there’s plenty to keep your kids busy all afternoon! To start watching Zoo School, visit the Cape May Zoo’s website here: http://www.capemaycountynj.gov/1400/Virtual-Zoo-School.

Mon. June 15 - Explore History’s Mysteries

Today’s daily diversion from Union Recreation will transport you back in time… Camp Kinda -- a brand new virtual summer program created by EdNavigator -- started last week and the first set of activities explored history’s mysteries. Topics in this module include ancient secret coded languages, exploring the Egyptian pyramids and learning all about Stonehenge. Weekly adventures are posted each Sunday and include five sets of self-guided daily activities geared towards kids in Grades K-8. The lesson plans feature online videos, fun challenges and interesting assignments. Each daily module includes notes for parents about what materials your child will need and offers questions to ask them to see what they learned about. There’s also helpful tips about how to modify a lesson if your younger child needs assistance. To get started with Camp Kinda, click here: https://campkinda.org/weekly-adventures/historys-mysteries

Mon. June 22 - Virtually Visit Grounds for Sculpture

Today’s daily diversion from Union Recreation will transport you to one of New Jersey’s hidden gems… Grounds for Sculpture is a combination museum, sculpture garden and arboretum located just outside Trenton in Hamilton. GFS is still closed to the public but they have a fun, interactive map that your children can explore. Each sculptural piece is numbered and clicking the number brings up a picture, information about the artist and a description about the piece. Each description also shares related works so you can see others by the same artist or compare pieces of a similar theme. GFS is a great spot for families to spend a long, beautiful early summer day. So, start planning your trip now -- after all, there are 42 acres to explore -- that way you’re ready as soon as they re-open. To start wandering the Grounds for Sculpture, click here: https://www.gfsmap.org/.

Mon. June 29 - Shark Lagoon Live Cam

Today’s daily diversion from Union Recreation brings us to the bottom of shark lagoon… Located inside the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Shark Lagoon features some of nature’s most misunderstood creatures. You’ll see different species of sharks and rays, as well as guest appearances by fishes and turtles. The live cam is available 24/7 so you can see what the sharks are doing at any time! If you time your virtual visit just right you might see one of the two brother sea turtles, Leo and Theo, who like to take a dip in the water above the sharks. If you happen to log on and the camera is down for maintenance you can scroll through the chat for some clips and screenshots from the recent days. After you swim with the fishes, check out all of the other live cams available on Explore.org: https://explore.org/livecams/under-the-water/shark-lagoon-cam.