Family-Friendly Bowling Alleys in New Jersey

If you’re looking for a fun, indoor activity that will appeal to the whole family, bowling may be right up your alley! (Sorry, we couldn't help ourselves.) Here in New Jersey, there are plenty of bowling facilities that offer year-round fun: small-town/neighborhood spots that offer traditional games with modern touches, such as automatic scoring and gutter bumpers; and newer, flashier bowling alleys that feature high-tech bells and whistles like interactive games, video walls, and glow ball. In addition, fun centers throughout the state often include bowling alongside laser tag and arcades.

And bowling alleys are an ideal spot for low-maintenance birthday parties, play dates, and weekend day trips.

Play Retro Video Games at These Family Arcades

Does it bother you that your kids don't know all four of the ghosts in Pac-Man (say it with me: Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde), or all the characters in Mortal Combat, or what the game Asteroids even is? We're here for you. We've found a handful of old-fashioned family-friendly arcades around NYC, some straddling the line between retro and cutting-edge video games.

Of course, you can also find arcade games at Chuck E. Cheese's and Dave & Buster's. Check out our roundup of more birthday-oriented video game spots with laser tag and cheesy pizza for more of these game fun zones. You can also find small arcades at many of the city's bowling alleys.

But consider one of the retro spots below if you're in the market for some parental nostalgia and old-school family fun.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Irvine Park Railroad, Bob Baker Day, and Camellias

Anyone got a sweater? I'm just your typical East Coast transplant who traded in her thermals for flip flops, and I think I may have frostbite. But the show must go on, and by the show I mean my kid won't let me stay home bundled up with blankets and a bucket of coffee, so I guess I have to find some fun stuff to entertain her.

Luckily, Southern California is blessed with many indoor activities to amuse the young ones. There are tons of cool movies to see, two opportunities to bake bread (hot tip: baking involves heat), and you can dance and sing along with some mega hot performers. Even the faeries have moved their hunt indoors. (smart move, since you can't fly with icicles on your wings; don't ask me how I know.)

Of course, we have outdoor activities coming your way as well, which is great assuming you are part Yeti. You can ride the rails like it's 1996 (was that a warm year?), pull a few strings to attend the celebration of LA's favorite puppeteer (heartwarming), and watch as Venice sizzles to our very own Mardi Gras parade (Caliente!).

Keep reading for our hottest picks for this weekend... (see what I did there?)

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Fitness Frenzy, Mardi Gras! Galveston, Feb. 23-24

Everybody say hurray for a short week because weeks that begin on Tuesday are always a welcome change of pace! We hope you were able to enjoy a day off with the family on Monday, and that this week is flying by because this weekend is packed with some awesome events. We're especially excited about all the family activities happening at some of our favorite museums, like the Houston Maritime Museum's Ancient Mediterranean Family Day, Fitness Frenzy at The Woodlands Children's Museum, and Archaeology Now's On the Trail Family Event happening at HMNS.

In case you missed it, we also shared some excellent resources for Spring Break and summer, because before you know it those will be knocking on our calendar doors:

Make sure to take a peek at our February GoList to see what's on tap for the last weekend of February and sign up for our weekly newsletter so we can stay in touch throughout the week! 

Weekend Fun: Huggable Horses, Seuss, and Maple Sugaring, Feb 23-24

With milder daytime temperatures and nighttime lows dropping below freezing, the conditions are perfect for making maple syrup! This traditional sweet requires only maple tree sap, cold nights, and lots of firewood. And you can try your hand at it during demonstrations this weekend in GreenwichBurlington, and Bristol. If you're looking for even cozier outdoor fun, try cuddling a rescue horse or huddling near a fire pit. Finally, for some indoor entertainment, head over to New Haven for a musical performance of Green Eggs and Ham, followed by a hands-on introduction to orchestra instruments.

Weekend Fun: American Girls, Habitats, and a Winterfest, Feb 23-24

One more weekend to go before winter break is over, so let's make the most of the free time they (and some of us) have left! Several fun shows are in town, including one with America's favorite dolls, Boston's beloved blue men, and a few tricksters. There's also this awesome intro to opera, gothic tales just for kids, and a Celtic magician. Head north for this ever popular winter festival and then maybe design a house for a critter. Before you know it, it will be back to school (and work)!

Weekend Fun: Kids' Film Fest, Black History, Teknopolis, Lego Movie 2

There's a still a weekend left in winter break to fill with fun and memories! For those of us who didn't get to vacation on the islands this year, the Children's Museum of Manhattan celebrates Caribbean traditions this weekend. And Kids Week at the Intrepid rolls to a close on Saturday—stop by for roller coaster physics, a meet-and-greet with Snoopy, mad science shows, and rocket building. 

The International Children's Film Fest kicks off this weekend too. While the School of Visual Arts (SVA) Theater is the main hub for the festival, hosting piles of screenings and special programming, families can also watch some of the best new kid flicks at Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn and Scandinavia House in Manhattan. 

Black History Month closes with interactive performances, art-making, and more at the Black Future Festival at the Brooklyn Children's Museum. At Wave Hill, learn about the African term Ubuntu, which means humanity towards others, and create mixed-media tributes to loved ones. Learn about Jim Crow at the Historical Society, or take a spin back in time to the Civil Rights Movement and the music that roused a generation at Lincoln Center's Soundtrack '63.

Barnes and Noble stores around town celebrate the new Lego movie with workshops to build Emmet's Dream House. Pirate Pete's Parrot squawks in Long Island City on Saturday, and Humpty Dumpty Cracks Up all weekend in Brooklyn. The New Shanghai Circus sommersaults in to the Schimmel Center on Sunday. And BAMKids' Teknopolis invites kids to experiment with technology in a series of virtual reality and multi-sensory installations.

Need more ideas for family-friendly fun to fill your weekend? Our fun-packed events calendar and Winter Fun List are here to help.

Weekend Fun: Maple Sugaring, Lunar New Year, African Drumming, Magic Show

Both Winter Break and February wrap up with a weekend that might not offer large-scale events, but good things come in small packages (and our top picks are generally easy on the wallet). 

A predominant offering is maple sugaring, as peak season runs from mid-February through mid-March. For added fun, Maple Sugar Tours kicks off with assorted extra activities on Saturday, beyond the tapping experience. 

The celebration of Chinese New Year also continues this weekend with the enchanting Lunar New Year Festival, featuring performances, workshops, and cooking demos (with tastings, of course). This event ties in with a concurrent exhibition of lunar-themed art, in honor of the 50th anniversary of that famed giant step for mankind.

Catch a magic show as part of the Saturday Morning Family Series or celebrate Black History Month with an African Dance and Drum Performance. Animal enthusiasts can learn about Endangered animals and ways they can be helped.

Read on for more options to choose from and find yet more on our Event Calendar. If you haven't done so already, sign up for our newsletters to stay in the know.

Beat the Winter Blues at Unique & Free Indoor Spots in NJ

You've bounced at trampoline parks, visited all of the play spaces, and tried all the indoor activities you can think of—and it's STILL winter. If you're looking for some alternatives to the usual indoor fun spots, you've come to the right place: we've rounded up eight FREE NJ locales that can help you escape the winter doldrums without breaking the bank.

From admiring exotic orchids and art to visiting a charming children's library, you can mix up the routine while staying warm. For more no-cost fun, don't miss our roundup of free indoor play spots.

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