25 Things to Do Outdoors with NJ Toddlers & Preschoolers

5/7/15 - By Sasha Muzzarelli

If you’ve got a little one under the age of four, you know that toddlers and preschoolers are an energetic, curious and spirited bunch! After a long winter cooped up indoors, it’s time to get our wee ones out of the house for some fun and learning. Lace up your sneakers, pack some snacks and get ready to make great family memories by trying one (or more!) of these awesome outdoor activities in New Jersey. For more seasonal fun, don't forget to check out our list of 25 Things We Can't Wait to Do with Kids This Spring in NJ.


  1. Head to Storybook Land in Egg Harbor and take a spin on fairytale-themed rides just for young children.
  2. Have a classic NJ "down the shore" experience at Jernkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant as you play games, chomp on taffy and dig in the warm sand down by the ocean.
  3. Spend the day at Turtle Back Zoo in Essex County – just the right size for toddlers to trot around and meet sea lions, reptiles and cougars before taking a miniature train ride through the woods.
  4. They don’t call NJ the Garden State for nothing! Take the gang to the certified organic farm Terhune Orchards in beautiful Princeton to pick fresh fruit like juicy strawberries and sweet blueberries.
  5. For truly breathtaking views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, take a stroll along the scenic boardwalk at Liberty State Park before letting the kids climb to their heart’s content at the sprawling playground nearby.
  6. Lace up your sneakers for a short walk on the trails at Trailside Nature Center and take a break from the heat (or cold) inside their awesome two-story visitor center.
  7. Take a short hike, go camping or try out tubing along the Delaware River.
  8. Grab your sweaters and bring the camera for a perfect fall day at Alstede Farms picking apples, running through the pumpkin patch and taking wagon and pony rides around the bales of hay.
  9. Have a ‘roaring’ good time with prehistoric creatures at Field Station: Dinosaurs - a must-do for adventurous tots with big imaginations. This exhibit closed on September 7, 2015.
  10. Bring some shovels and water toys to the Pier C park in Hoboken to get wet with water, messy with sand and slurp up ice cream cones at nearby Ben & Jerry’s when they’re all tuckered out.
  11. Enjoy toddler fun in the Bergen County ‘burbs - Van Saun County Park has pretty much everything you could want to keep little ones entertained and happy, including a small zoo, carousel, train and a huge playground too!
  12. Explore toddler-sized garden mazes and flower gardens or visit during one of the many seasonal festivals at Camden Children’s Garden.
  13. Learn all about nature at the beautiful Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit with special events like Daffodil Day, Celebrate Fall and kid-friendly Discovery Saturdays.
  14. Check out Jersey City’s newest park on the Hudson, Newport Green, complete with a modern playground structure, an Astroturf green for sports and picnic and an ‘urban beach’ with pint-sized lounged chairs for the toddler set.
  15. Sign up for a tot-friendly class at Tenafly Nature Center like Nature Storytime or Little Naturalists.
  16. Get your fill of summertime fun in Cape May, Jersey’s southernmost county, whether you climb the Cape May Lighthouse, visit the county zoo and park or stop by the Wildwood Aviation Museum.
  17. Stroll through the 42-acre Grounds for Sculpture as you take in some magnificent art – don’t miss their hands-on Tots on Tour workshops.
  18. Visit Lucy, the World’s Greatest Elephant statue and climb up her six-story back before browsing cute elephant-themed souvenirs at the gift shop.
  19. Catch a baseball game and cheer on one of NJ minor league teams including the Somerset Patriots and the Newark Bears.
  20. Taste the delicious homemade ice cream at The Bent Spoon and walk around quaint downtown Princeton.
  21. Cool off during the dog days of summer with sprinklers and water tables at Dorbrook Recreation Area.
  22. Pet goat, sheep and other barnyard animals and have a picnic at Green Meadows Children’s Farm.
  23. Experience warm temperatures and even warmer giant turkey drumsticks at the annual New Jersey Renaissance Faire.
  24. You can't get more "outdoors" than floating in a hot air balloon. Check out the up, up, and away-ness of The QuickChek Festival of Ballooning in July.
  25. Visit Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center in late winter to see how maple trees are tapped and then take a taste of the sweet syrup!

For more family fun in New Jersey, check out 100 Things to Do in NJ with Kids Before They Grow Up and 25 Things to Do with NJ Preschoolers Before They Turn 5.