Indoor Activities

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A Dozen Museums for Kids and Families in Central and Southern NJ

Winter's not over yet, and if you're running out of ideas, don't despair—there's plenty of indoor fun to be found at museums throughout central and southern NJ. At these wonderful and varied spots, you can explore a battleship, learn all about insects, ride a vintage train, gaze at the stars, and even see a shrunken head!

For more educational fun, check out our list of the best museums for kids in northern NJ, or take a ride across the river to check out one of the many excellent museums in Philadelphia.

Indoor Trampoline Parks in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

Where do you go when the kids are bouncing off the walls on a cold or rainy day? Somewhere they’re allowed to bounce off the walls, of course! 

We’ve rounded up indoor trampoline parks in Westchester and the Hudson Valley where kids can jump, hop, leap, and bounce to their hearts' content. Take note that these spots also offer birthday parties, making them an option for those winter (or even extra-hot summer) birthdays. 

Looking for more places to play? Check out our Indoor Play Guide and sign up for our newsletters!

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.

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.

Tyra Banks' New Modelland in Santa Monica: Will It Be a Place To Bring Kids?

Model Tyra Banks is opening a theme park in Santa Monica—Santa Monica Place, to be exact—based upon her 2011 YA book and decades as a top model. While details about what the 12,000 square foot attraction will include are still vague right now (the space is due to open later this year), the hype is big, and your America's Next Top Model-addicted kids may already think they want to go. The question is whether you will want to take them.

10 Best Brooklyn Craft Studios for Kids

In need of a little creative inspiration? Drop-in craft studios offer a great alternative indoor activity for wintertime when you've worn out the mat at your local indoor playspace and your home collection of broken crayons no longer thrills. 

Luckily my family lives in Brooklyn, which just may be the crafting mecca of the world (or at least New York City). There are a slew of craft studios where kids can paint pottery, work with wood, try fiber arts like knitting and sewing, or make something more offbeat (robot trash can anyone?)—and best of all, someone else cleans up after them. Although some spots require that you sign up for an entire semester of classes, many offer drop-in options for occasional crafters, summer camps, school break programs and even birthday party packages. Here are our top Brooklyn craft studios where kids can get creative.

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