Spring Bucket List: Best Things To Do in New Jersey with Kids this Spring

Step back in time at Field Station: Dinosaurs. Photo by Janet Bloom
Step back in time at Field Station: Dinosaurs. Photo by Janet Bloom

With the arrival of spring, it's time to trade in those clunky boots, mittens, and winter coats for fresh air, parks and playgrounds, spring getaways, and New Jersey farm fun. Get outside to take advantage of all of the seasonal fun the Garden State offers.

Read on for 45 fantastic spring activities to enjoy with your family. Looking for more? Check out our Spring Fun Guide, where new events, activities, and outings are added throughout the season.

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1. Go to Diggerland

If your kids love construction vehicles, check out Diggerland, which opened for the season Saturday, March 12. Drive, ride, and operate heavy machinery at this construction-themed adventure park.

2. Ride an Easter Train

Hop aboard the train in Flemington or Phillipsburg to ride the rails with the Easter Bunny.

3. Play Outside

Frolic outdoors at some of our favorite parks and playgrounds.

RELATED: 12 Destination Playgrounds in New Jersey

lambs at Alstede Farms nj staycation
Welcome the lambs at Alstede Farm's Easter and Springtime Family Festival. Photo courtesy of the farm

4. Visit Alstede Farm's Easter and Springtime Family Festival

See baby animals, visit the Easter Bunny, and try the scavenger hunt at Alstede Farm's Easter and Springtime Family Festival from Saturday, April 2-Tuesday, April 19.

5. Visit a Farm

Visit lambs, chicks, calves, and other baby animals and barnyard residents at one of NJ's family-friendly farms at petting zoos.

6. PYO Berries

Strawberry season starts at the end of May, so grab a basket and pick your own berries—and more—at a host of local farms.

7. Enjoy EGGstravaganZOO

Spy oversized eggs in the walking paths, try the HOPstacle Course Follow, and participate in the Easter Scavenger Hunt during the Easter EGGstravaganzoo at the Cape May Zoo on Saturday, April 9.

RELATED: Top Things To Do in New Jersey This March

Essex County's Annual Cherry Blossom Festival at Branch Brook Park.
Branch Brook Park is home to more than 5,000 cherry trees. Photo by Barry Solow

8. See Cherry Blossoms

Check out the beautiful cherry blossoms in Branch Brook Park. Its popular annual festival returns from Saturday, April 2-Sunday, April 10.

9. Explore Duke Farms

Break out the bicycles and take the family for a scenic ride through the gorgeous grounds of Duke Farms. Note that this private park limits weekend visitors, so guests must sign up for a parking pass in advance online.

10. Visit the Stirling Street Fair

Hit the pavement and enjoy this year's entertainment at the Stirling Street Fair on Sunday, April 24.

11. Go Stargazing

Find the best places to go stargazing in NJ to celebrate National Astronomy Day on Saturday, May 7.

12. Visit a Nature Center

Visit one of NJ's awesome nature centers to learn about local flora and fauna and head outside to look for signs of spring.

13. Go to Cape May's Spring Festival

Head to Cape May for the family-friendly Spring Festival, from Thursday, May 19-Sunday, May 22.

RELATED: New Jersey's Liberty State Park: A Perfect Family Day Trip

reeves reed arboretum daffodil day nj spring break staycation
The hills come alive with daffodils at Reeves-Reed Arboretum in April. Photo courtesy of the arboretum

14. Experience Daffodil Day

Experience the splendor of spring at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum's Daffodil Day on Sunday, April 10.

15. Enjoy Rutgers Day

Head to New Brunswick on Saturday, April 30, for Rutgers Day 2022 and enjoy farm animals, food vendors, and special activities for kids. FREE

16. Observe Earth Day

The whole family can head outdoors and stretch their legs as the Monmouth County Park System celebrates Earth Day with a variety of events in its parks Saturday, April 23.

17. Explore a New Town

Be a tourist in our own state with a day trip to one of NJ's charming towns, including Montclair and Princeton.

18. Go to a Renaissance Fair

Travel back in time at the Smithville Renaissance Faire on Saturday, April 9, and Sunday, April 10. The historic village is transformed into an English Renaissance town, complete with dukes and duchesses, sword fights, and knights. Or, get tickets to the NJ Renaissance Faire, which runs weekends from May 28-June 5.

19. See Kip's Castle

Take your little prince or princess on a real-life adventure to Kip's Castle Park in Verona. Built in 1905, the replica of a medieval castle is a whopping 9,000-square-feet and has amazing views of the NYC skyline.

RELATED: Easy Spring Break Getaways for New Jersey Families

Watchung Reservation Sensory Trail girl on trail nj spring staycation
Explore the Watchung Reservation Sensory Trail in Union County. Photo by Margaret Hargrove

20. Hike the Watchung Reservation

Walk the Watchung Reservation Sensory Trail, the first of its kind in Union County, and according to park officials, the most extensive sensory trail in the U.S.

21. Experience Nature at Cora Hartshorn Arboretum

Ring in the season by signing up for an educational program at the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum.

22. Learn About Animals

Learn about all the inhabitants of Jakes Branch County Park Nature Center in a 20-minute live animal talk every Sunday.

23. Head to the Boardwalk

Visit Jenkinson's Boardwalk before the summer crowds arrive. The rides and most amusements open in late March/early April.

24. Rock it Out

Dance at the Grayrock N Roll Spring Festival, where kids can meet farm animals and everyone can nosh on food truck fare.

25. Watch Sheep Shearing

Experience the Sheep Shearing event at the Historic Longstreet Farm on Saturday, April 24, and Sunday, April 25.

RELATED: Jersey Shore Family Guide: Best Beaches and More Fun

beach in nj girl in the water on floatie nj staycation
Hit the surf at one of New Jersey's fabulous beaches. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

26. Visit a Water Park

Cool down at one of NJ's best water parks. If you're looking for something more low-key, check out our favorite water playgrounds and splash pads.

27. Fly a Kite

See kites of all shapes and sizes soaring over the beach in Long Branch on Saturday, April 23.

28. Take a Nature Walk

Take a lovely stroll during a Cattus Island nature walk.

29. Embark on a Bunny Chase

Hunt for clues to find a surprise at the end of Terhune Orchard's Bunny Chase during Easter weekend. Afterward, little ones can make a bunny craft to take home and munch on a bunny cookie.

30. Learn about Trees

Explore the grounds of Liberty Hall on Arbor(etum) Day! on Saturday, April 23, at this family-friendly event featuring activities, games, and crafts for kids.

31. Spring Fling

Bounce around the fun KidZone, rock out to live music, and sample delicious treats from food vendors during Westfield's Spring Fling on Sunday, May 1.

RELATED: See the Stunning Tulip Fields at Holland Ridge Farms

storybook land balloon ride nj spring staycation
NJ theme parks, like Storybook Land, reopen for the season in the springtime.

32. Get Spring Thrills

Get your springtime thrills at Storybook Land when the new season kicks off on Saturday, April 9, or Six Flags Great Adventure, which opens Saturday, April 2. Also opening Memorial Day weekend, right in time for the unofficial start of summer: the Land of Make Believe!

33. Enjoy Ocean Fun Day

See even more of what the Jersey Shore offers during Ocean Fun Days on Saturday, May 21, at Island Beach State Park or on Sunday, May 22, at Sandy Hook.

34. Take a Beach Trip

Plan a beach getaway to visit one of many family-friendly shores right here in New Jersey, from Sandy Hook to Cape May.

35. Enjoy South Mountain Reservation

Head to South Mountain Reservation for a full day of family fun, including a fairy trail, paddle boats, mini golf, the Turtle Back Zoo, and the popular pirate playground.

36. See Dinosaurs

See giant, animatronic dinosaurs come to life when Field Station: Dinosaurs reopens Saturday, May 28, to kick off Memorial Day weekend.

37. Visit LSC

If you visit soon, you can step into the world of Paw Patrol in an interactive exhibit at the Liberty Science Center. Based on the popular Nickelodeon TV show, it closes on Sunday, May 1.

38. Celebrate Pi Day

Bake a pie with the kids on Pi Day, Monday, March 14, or try one of these 30 fun celebrations.

RELATED: Best Family Campgrounds in New Jersey

See American Dream during the spring season
Gaze into the City Under the Sea at Sea Life Aquarium. Photo by Jody Mercier

39. Experience American Dream

Get combo tickets to American Dream's Sea Life Aquarium and Legoland Discovery Center for a full day of fun (or enjoy the venues separately up to two weeks apart)

40. Get a Sweet Treat

Grab a sweet treat at your favorite local ice cream joint.

41. See Model Trains

Watch Thomas and other trains chug around miniature tracks at the Garden State Annual Spring Model Railroad Show on weekends in late March and early April.

42. Bowl for Free

Kids Bowl Free starting Monday, April 25, at Oakwood Lanes, one of NJ's most family-friendly bowling alleys.

43. The Montclair Literary Festival

The Montclair Literary Festival on Saturday, May 7, features a full day of free events for children and young adults, including author and illustrator visits, stories, and workshops.

44. See Stars Indoors

Catch a show at one of NJ's amazing planetariums.

45. Try a New Rainy Day Activity

Try a new activity that's perfect for a rainy spring day.

This post, originally published in March 2015, is updated annually.

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