Michelle Vames's blog

Weekend Fun: Butterfly Festival, Wizard of Oz, County Fairs

No matter what your kids are into, you're bound to find something fun this weekend. You can hear a nautical tale at Cape May's Lighthouse Storytime, head to Liberty State Park to Explore the Hudson River Estuary, or see entertaining experiments at Mad Science Summer Camp in Paramus. Travel back in time at the Living History Encampment in Historic Smithville, or fall under the spell of The Wizard of Oz at the Morris Museum's Bickford Theatre. 

Try one of the many fairs and festivals happening this month, including the Festival of the Sea in Long Beach Township and the Watershed Butterfly Festival in Pennington.

Find ways to beat the heat in our Summer Fun Guide for NJ Kids, which includes our list of the Best Jersey Shore Beaches for Families. And be sure to check out our Event Calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Read on for more of our weekend picks, and don't forget to visit our brand-new local DEALS page to score discounts on camps, classes, birthday party packages, and more for NJ kids. 

August GoList: Best Things To Do with New Jersey Kids

Make the most of the final full month of summer with awesome August activities ranging from fairs and festivals to stargazing and Shark Week. You can camp on the beach at Morristown's Sunrise Lake, picnic on the lawn at the Princeton University Art Museum, or put on some wings and march in a Butterfly and Bug Parade at the annual Watershed Butterfly Festival in Pennington.

Take a break from the heat and chill out at the theater with a stage production of The Wizard of Oz, or catch a double-bill of Hansel & Gretel and Goldilocks & the Three Bears. Give your wallet a break and head to one of NJ's many free summer movies, or take part in tons of other free fun

If you haven't made it down the shore yet or are looking for a new beach to visit, check out the Best Jersey Shore Beaches for Families, and find lots of other ways to stay cool in our Summer Fun Guide. And don't forget to check our Event Calendar, updated daily with summer happenings across NJ.

Weekend Fun: City of Water, Mad Science, Ocean County Fair

This weekend, the outdoor summer fun continues with free movies, fairs and festivals, concerts, and celebrations of nature. This is the last weekend to take a ride with Thomas the Tank Engine and to enjoy the sweet summer delights of Alstede Farms' Blueberry Festival.

You can celebrate Summer in the Street in Toms River, see a Mad Science show in Paramus, and meet all kinds of creatures—both the winged and four-legged kind—at Wagner Farm Arboretum's Festival of Nature. Of course, don't forget about City of Water Day, an iconic FREE annual event in Hoboken and Governors Island.

Find ways to have fun without spending a cent in our list of 100 Free Things To Do with Kids This Summer in NJ, or make a day of it with 20 Super-Fun Summer Day Trips

Check out our July GoList to see our picks for this month's top activities, and as always, look to our Event Calendar for a complete list of happenings this weekend and all summer long. 

Storybook Land in New Jersey: A Magical Park for Preschoolers and Tots

If you’re looking for an enjoyable amusement park experience minus crazy thrill rides and super-sized crowds, take a day trip to Storybook Land in Egg Harbor. This charming spot, in operation since 1955, was created with younger children in mind—the rides and attractions are all geared toward the under-10 crowd, making it great for toddlers and big siblings alike.

Visiting is a bit like stepping into a fairy tale: as you walk through the wooded grounds, you encounter characters from nursery rhymes and classic children's stories, like Humpty Dumpty and Alice in Wonderland. Even if you didn't go there as a kid, as many New Jerseyans did, you're sure to fall under its nostalgia-laced spell. 

My husband and I recently visited for the first time with our two boys, ages 5 and 2, and we all loved it and will definitely go back. Storybook Land is No. 1 on our list of 30 Things to Do with NJ Preschoolers, with good reason. Read on for more about this sweet NJ gem.

Cooking Classes for Kids in New Jersey

Whether you have an aspiring Ina Garten at home, or you're just looking for something different to do with the kids, consider signing up for a fun, hands-on cooking class. We’ve rounded up several places throughout NJ that offer wonderful programs for children of all ages. Cooking classes not only teach culinary technique, they’re also a great way to try new foods, master hand-eye coordination, and practice social skills like sharing and following directions. For more enrichment ideas, visit our guide to Classes and Enrichment Programs for New Jersey Kids.

20+ Acting and Musical Theater Classes for Kids in New Jersey

New Jersey offers a great assortment of studios, big and small, that give kids a taste of life onstage. Whether your child is a newbie, an aspiring professional, or somewhere in between, there's a class to help him or her shine. And if your child’s schedule is already booked through the school year, don’t fret—most schools offer summer camp programs as well!

For more classes and enrichment opportunities, check out our Classes and Enrichment Programs for New Jersey Kids.

July GoList: The Best Things To Do With NJ Kids This Month

July is all about barbecues and fireworks, sure—but that's just the start of the fun happening throughout the Garden State this month. You can take a ride with Thomas the Tank Engine, dig for dinosaur bones, and rock out at Maplewoodstock. Learn all about the Hudson River in a Children's Sail Along the Palisades, cheer on your favorite ballplayers at the 2017 Atlantic League All-Star Game, and celebrate blueberry season at NJ's many pick-your-own farms and festivals.

But wait, there's more! July is packed with free summer movies and tons of family-friendly festivals. And of course, it's prime season for beaches, boardwalks, and water parks. Find all of this and more in our Summer Fun Guide, and don't forget to check our Event Calendar, updated daily with summer happenings across NJ. 

Free Outdoor Summer Movies for New Jersey Families

If you like watching movies under the stars—for free!—as much as we do, you're in luck: New Jersey will be showing hundreds of free films in parks and on beaches throughout the state this summer. Pack your chairs and blankets, put the kids in their PJs, and get there early to snag a good spot. Depending on the venue, you can either pack your own snacks or buy them onsite. And some events include pre-show activities such as dance parties, games, and meet-and-greets with movie characters. Don't forget the bug spray!

Scroll to the bottom of the list to find a few free (and practically free) indoor flicks—many of them shown in the morning—for those days when you just want to cool off in a nice, dark theater.

For more summer awesomeness, check out our Summer Fun Guide.

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