40 Spring Activities for New Jersey Kids

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

Spring has sprung, so 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 40 fantastic spring activities to enjoy with your family. Looking for more? Check out our Spring Fun Guide, with new events, activities, and outings are added throughout the season.

Editor's note: While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our Event Calendar to find something else to do.

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

Springtime Fun in NJ Farms, Parks, and Outdoor Spaces

1. See baby animals, visit the Easter Bunny, and try the scavenger hunt at Alstede Farm's Easter and Springtime Family Festival from Saturday, March 27-Sunday, April 11.

2. If your kids love construction vehicles, check out Diggerland, which opens for the season Saturday, March 13. Drive, ride and operate heavy machinery at this construction-themed adventure park.

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

4. Frolic outdoors at some of our favorite parks and playgrounds.

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

6. 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. Spy oversized eggs in the walking paths, try the HOPstacle Course Follow, and participate in the Easter Scavenger Hunt during the 10-day Easter EGGstravaganzoo at the Cape May Zoo from Friday, April 2-Sunday, April 11.

RELATED: Spring Break Camps for New Jersey Kids in 2021

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. Check out the beautiful cherry blossoms in Branch Brook Park. The festival is online this year, but the flowers are very much visible IRL.

9. Explore the great outdoors at the Turtle Back Zoo in a new way with the Family Nature Club on Sunday, March 28, and go on a springtime nature scavenger hunt.

10. 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.

11. Hit the pavement and enjoy this year's entertainment at the Stirling Street Fair on Sunday, May 30.

12. Find the best places to go stargazing in NJ to celebrate National Astronomy Day on Saturday, May 15.

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

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

13. Experience the splendor of spring at Reeves-Reed Arboretum's Daffodil Day on Sunday, April 18.

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

15. Head to Cape May for the family-friendly Spring Festival, from Friday, May 14-Sunday, May 16. This event is hybrid in 2021, so you can enjoy several presentations from the comfort of your home.

16. 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 24.

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

18. Travel back in time at the Smithville Renaissance Faire on Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26. 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 from Saturday, May 22-Sunday, June 6.

19. 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. While the interior of the castle is closed indefinitely due to COVID, the grounds are open.

RELATED: Easy Spring Break Getaways for New Jersey Families

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

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

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

23. Visit Jenkinson's Boardwalk before the summer crowds arrive. The rides and most amusements open on Saturday, March 27.

24. Dance it out at the Grayrock N Roll Spring Festival, where kids can meet farm animals and visit a fire truck.

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

26. See kites of all shapes and sizes soaring over the beach in Long Branch on Saturday, April 17, and Sunday, April 18.

27. Take a lovely stroll during a Cattus Island nature walk.

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

Beaches, Amusement Parks, and Sporting Events 

28. 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 or splash pads.

29. See even more of what the Jersey Shore offers during Ocean Fun Days on Saturday, May 22 at Island Beach State Park or on Sunday, May 23 at Sandy Hook.

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

RELATED: Record-Breaking Roller Coaster Coming to Six Flags New Jersey

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

31. Get your springtime thrills at Storybook Land or Six Flags Great Adventure when the new season kicks off on Saturday, April 6.

32. 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.

33. See giant, animatronic dinosaurs come to life when Field Station: Dinosaurs reopens Saturday, May 29, to kick off Memorial Day weekend. See the newest live musical—The Great Dinosaur Whodunit—and visit the Field Station's museum exhibit: Movie Dinosaurs: From Gertie to Indominus Rex.

34. Also opening on Saturday, May 29, right in time for the unofficial start of summer: The Land of Make Believe!

RELATED: Best Family Campgrounds in New Jersey

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: at Liberty Science Center! girl at the exhibit NJ staycation
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: A Grr-ific Exhibit has come to life at Liberty Science Center. Photo courtesy of LSC

Virtual and Indoor Activities For NJ Kids This Spring

35. If you visit soon, you can step into the world of Daniel Tiger in an interactive exhibit at the Liberty Science Center. Based on the popular PBS TV show, it closes on Sunday, May 9.

36. Circle Tuesday, May 4 on the calendar. That's when the new Sea Life Aquarium and Legoland Discovery Center open at American Dream.

37. Bake a pie with the kids and stream NYC's MoMath virtual program on Pi Day, Sunday, March 14.

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

39. Explore New Jersey’s great state university at the annual Rutgers Day extravaganza on Saturday, April 24. Because of COVID restrictions, this year's event will be virtual, but that doesn't diminish the cool science experiments, demonstrations, readings, contests, and more for the whole family.

40. Kids Bowl Free starting Sunday, April 18, at Oakwood Lanes, one of NJ's most family-friendly bowling alleys.

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

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