Recreation & Cultural Affairs

The South Orange Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs is located in the Baird Community Center, a 100 year old Tudor-esque building set in Meadowland Park. The Baird houses the administrative offices for the department, the Pierro Gallery of South Orange and a variety of meeting and activity spaces. 
The mission of the Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs is to enhance the quality of life in South Orange, by providing a well-rounded program of leisure time activities for community residents of all ages and interests.

 CLICK HERE for a complete listing of programs, activities and memberships and to register online.  You will need to create an account for yourself and any family members you may have. Please note that there are no charges associated for online registration. You will pay the same fee if you register in person or online. 


The anticipated renovation and reconstruction of the Baird Community Center will require significant changes in the operation of the building and the Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs in the summer months.

The Baird Community Center is no longer open nights and weekends. The building will operate during South Orange Village business hours, Monday-Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. The administrative offices of the Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs and the South Orange Parking Authority will continue to operate from the Baird until some time this fall (still TBD). While office hours will be much more limited, customers can continue to register for programs and activities online HERE.

Sometime this fall, the Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs and the South Orange Parking Authority will relocate their business offices to 298 Walton Avenue, South Orange, near Farrell Field and the Department of Public Works. At that time, the Baird Community Center will close for the duration of the renovation and reconstruction project, which is anticipated to take 2 years.

The closure of the Baird Community Center will also impact adjacent and related recreation facilities as follows:

  • Basketball Courts: The basketball courts adjacent to the Baird will remain accessible only until the construction begins (late fall). At that time, the courts will fall within the construction area and will be closed.
  • Platform/Paddle Tennis Courts: The platform courts will remain accessible until construction begins (late fall). Once construction begins, these courts will be removed from the 5 Mead Street location. It has been determined that they cannot be salvaged. The Village plans to include new paddle tennis courts in a future recreation project located in an alternate location.
  • Batting Cages: The batting cages located in the garage behind the Baird will be accessible 8:30-4:30, Monday-Friday from July 1 until the building closes for construction. The garage will be demolished as part of the project. The site will be the location of a new fieldhouse addition to the building.
  • Tennis Courts: The tennis courts are not expected to be impacted by the construction project.
During renovation and construction, portable toilets will be located adjacent the to the Baird parking lot and across from Floods Hill to serve the patrons of Meadowland Park. During the summer months, the bathrooms at the South Orange Pool will be accessible to park patrons in the Cameron Field area. Portable toilets will also be located near Cameron Field as needed and/or the skate house bathrooms will be accessible.

The planned improvements at the Baird will include roof replacement, repairs and restoration of the building exterior, including the replacement of the 2nd story porch, and a complete renovation of community center interior. The “new” building will include a beautiful community space and café that leads out to the porch, dance and fitness spaces, dedicated art rooms, a multi-purpose performance space and a public meeting space. The Pierro Gallery will be housed on the first level in the renovated building. Finally, there will be a two-story field house addition that will include a garage and storage on the ground level and gymnasium on the 2nd floor. 

While we regret the inconvenience this renovation will cause our residents and patrons, we are very excited about the prospect of a new and fabulous Recreation and Cultural Arts Center that will serve our community for many years into the future.

If you have any questions, please call the Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs office at (973) 378-7754, ext. 2 or email

To view the most recent Power Point presentation, including preliminary architectural designs, CLICK HERE.
In the event of inclement weather or hazardous travel conditions that require the closure of fields or buildings and program cancellations, there are TWO WAYS to be notified:

1) Call the Recreation Dept. Hotline at 973-762-0748 OR
2) Follow 'SOrangeRec' on Twitter to get notifications directly to your mobile device.
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