Fun Springtime Activities for Kids and Families in NJ

3/15/13 - By sarah

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.--Pablo Neruda

The cherry blossom petals flutter like the beats of your heart, racing with the expectation of another season. Spring. The one that doesn't let you  forget that it's a fresh start. Brimming with memories of past warm evenings spent around cafe tables, on picnic blankets, in stadium seats, strolling in the city well-past the kids' bedtime, just taking in the heady newness of this, the best season. Fortunately NJ feels the same way, so there are lots of wonderful things to do, like running with your coat off and shedding the winter blahs. And in honor of my dad, who spends winter forlornly waiting for pitchers and catchers to report to spring training: The true harbinger of spring is not crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of the bat on the ball.--Bill Veeck


Terhune Orchards (Princeton)
This family farm, known for its great pick-your-own orchards also has — in addition to their Read & Explore and Read & Pick literacy events that are ongoing throughout the year — many fun events for families in the spring. Bunny Chase is a lovely way to enjoy the Easter weekend. (March 30 & 31, 1pm-3:30pm). Kids ages 2-8 will enjoy a treasure hunt, bunny cookie and bunny craft. Kite Day (May 4 & May 5, 10am-5pm) is a great way to enjoy the Orchard's Spring Festival. Kids of all ages can bring their own kite or choose a kite from the selection available at the store, and let it fly on the 10-acre pasture. Children can also watch a sheep shearing, enjoy a tractor ride, and participate in many games and activities in the barn. There will be a huge spread of good country food as well! Admission is FREE for most events. Call 609-924-2310 for information.

Reeves-Reed Arboretum (Summit)
I'm such a fan of this lovely garden, hidden back in the pretty neighborhoods of Summit. Every Saturday (9am-1pm), the Discovery Center hosts activities, stories, and crafts focused on a different theme, after which you can grab a backpack of binoculars, field guides, and a magnifying glass to begin your own discovery around the Arboretum. April 6: April Showers, April 13: Time to Wake Up, April 20: The Season's First Butterflies, April 27: Migration celebration. $5 per child for non-members. No pre-registration required. This year they'll once again be doing their nighttime event called Nocturnal Neighbors (April 12, May 10th, June 7th, 7-9pm, ages 5 and up, $15 or free to members). Kids will study a different nocturnal critter each session, enjoy an evening hike, and roast s'mores on the bonfire. Call 908-273-8787 for information.

Camden Children's Garden (Camden)
It's never too early to teach your children where their food comes from, how plants grow, and the sweet success of getting your hands into the earth and making something happen. Spouts and Seedlings, a parent-child workshop held at the Camden Children's Garden, is for children ages 2-4, with each month offering a different theme. Dino Days (March  20, 27, 10-11:30am), Beautiful Butterflies (April 3, 10, 17, 24, 10-11:30am) and Delicious and Nutritious (May 1, 8, 15, 22, 10-11:30am). Advanced registration is required at least three days ahead of time, and children may enroll per class ($12/$10 for members) or per session ($45/$36 for members). Call 856-365-8733 for information. 

Somerset County Park Commission (Basking Ridge)
Swamp creatures! Bluebirds! Frogs! Wildflowers! There's so much to see and do courtesy of the Somerset County Park Commission. This spring they are offering a wide selection of educational programs for all ages. Tree House Gang, ages 3-5 (April 2, 9, 16, 23, 12:45pm-3:15pm, $65 per person for 4 weeks), is a weekly class that includes hikes, meeting animals, hands-on nature activities and crafts. KinderNats, ages 5-7 (April 1, 15, 22, 29,  4-5pm, $24 per person for 4 weeks) is for junior naturalists who are willing to brave all kinds of weather to explore the world through games, activities, and nature of course! Bluebird Walk, all ages (April 7, 2-3:30pm, FREE), is a chance to see these blue beauties in their natural environment. They migrate earlier than their brethren, so bring binoculars and  keep an eye out! Click here for the full list of classes and happenings. Pre-registration is usually required. Call 908 766-2489 for information. 

Oh, and speaking of baseball (we were, back in the intro), New Jersey has a plethora or minor league stadiums where you can enjoy the perfect spring pastime. Do check out our list here

Happy Spring!


photo credit: *Samantha Murphy* via photopin cc

Places featured in this article:

Camden Children's Garden

Somerset County Parks Environmental Education Center