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With fields, woodlands, trails, a playground, an arts center, and a lake, Thompson Park offers a multitude of outdoor activities. Established in 1968 with Geraldine Thompson's donation of the horse estate "Brookdale Farm" to the citizens of Monmouth County, the park is now 667 acres and serves as the Monmouth County Park System's headquarters. Brookdale Farm is a Historic District and as of 2020, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The park has an off-leash dog area, tennis courts, a rugby field, and a wide variety of picnicking options. The Creative Arts Center has year-round classes for all ages and skill levels. The fields and meadows are great for playing frisbee and relaxing in the sun, or for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. Fishing is available on the 21-acre Mariu Lake (NJ freshwater fishing license required).
Enjoy the lake by bringing a canoe, kayak, or trailered boat (electric motors only). Wildlife outlook points offer scenic views over the park's landscape and if you're lucky, you'll catch a glimpse of the local wildlife. For those with bikes, the bicycle repair station is located near the playground, just east of the visitor's center. Rebuilt in the traditional style after a fire destroyed the original 1896 building, the visitor's center also has exhibits and program space.
The Thompson Loop and the Inner Loop combine to create 5.4 miles of accessible, paved multiuse trail. The Thompson Loop winds for 4.2 miles through the heart of the park and along the northern border. The smooth, paved surface likely means it is barrier-free and accessible. The Inner Loop is specifically marked as accessible by the park. The trail circles between the playground and Marlu Lake for a total of 1.2 miles, with the option for a shorter 0.8-mile route.
The Marshy Walk (0.2 miles) and the Woodland Walk (0.6 miles) are flat, maintained, and easy to navigate for all ages. The Marshy Walk includes boardwalks over wetter areas. The park also has a number of moderately difficult trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Start at the visitor's center by the main entrance to gather any additional information. Admission to the park is free. The park opens at 6am for fishing access and at 7am for the general public. It usually closes at 5:30pm with later closing times in January, February, and March. Visit the Monmouth County Park System website for any closure notices. Restrooms are available throughout the park. View the TrailLink map for specific locations.
Parking is available at a number of lots within the park. Start by the main entrance (805 Newman Springs Rd, Lincroft). View the TrailLink map for all locations.
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