The school year is winding down, and summer fun is heating up. Most of NJ's amusement and water parks are now open for the season, and Jersey Shore beaches are ready for summer revelers.
June also brings a fresh crop of fairs and festivals, along with strawberry picking, Father's Day fun, and the start of free summer movies. You can camp out by a lake, celebrate fireflies and fairies, and step back in time to the Italian Renaissance and the American Civil War.
Of course, you can always find more fun in our daily Event Calendar.
Read on for a dozen of our favorite family events of the month. Enjoy the start of summer, and happy June!
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Daniel Tiger at Historic Washington Crossing Park – Washington Crossing, PA
Come listen to Daniel Tiger and George Washington read a story, then check out a brand-new, never-before-seen episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood at a special screening in the park's visitor center. Stick around for games, crafts, and colonial-era activities. And don't forget to bring a gently used children's book to the community book swap table. (NOTE: Meet-and-greet photo ops with Daniel and George Washington are sold out.) FREE
WBGO Kids Jazz Concert Series – Newark
In the final concert of the series, renowned jazz clarinetist and composer Oran Etkin brings his acclaimed Timbalooloo workshop to Newark Symphony Hall. In this show, Etkin and his sidekick, Clara Net, will share melodies, rhythms, and stories from their travels around the world. Recommended for ages 7–11, registration required. FREE
Warner Bros. Presents Bug Bunny at the Symphony – New Brunswick
Many of us first encountered classical music while watching Bugs Bunny cartoons. This is your chance to watch classic Looney Tunes episodes with the original musical scores performed live by the New Jersey Symphony. The lineup includes such classic episodes as What's Opera, Doc?, Long-Haired Hare, and Baton Bunny, as well as new Warner Bros. 3-D animated shorts Rabid Rider and Coyote Falls.
Watch brave knights joust at the New Jersey Renaissance Faire in Bordentown.
New Jersey Renaissance Faire – Bordentown
June 3, 4, 10, 11
Maidens, minstrels, jousting, and giant turkey legs—the New Jersey Renaissance Faire has all of this and more. Nearly 80 cast members will recreate the Italian Renaissance at Liberty Lake, where the entertainment will also include jugglers, aerialists, fire breathers, sword fighters, and glass blowers, as well as comedy, live music, food, a Merchant Village, and a "Meade Garden" for the grown-ups.
Civil War Weekend – Morristown
The Civil War comes to life at Historic Speedwell, where re-enactors from the 2nd NJ Brigade will demonstrate musket and bayonet drills, canon firings, skirmishes, and more. Get a taste of soldiers' daily lives at the camp, where you can see authentic cooking demonstrations, and visit the medical area to watch soldiers care for the "wounded."
Take the whole family to HappyFest for a kid-friendly obstacle course and festival.
HappyFest Obstacle Course & Festival – Englishtown
Here's an obstacle course for the whole family—the one-mile course is designed for people of all ages and fitness levels, and it's wheelchair- and autism-friendly. Physical therapists and athletic trainers will be on hand to help out and make sure families stay together. After you cross the bubble-filled finish line, stick around for the festival, featuring games, live music, free fitness classes, and more.
FREE (and practically free) Summer Movies – Various locations
Starting June 20
Beginning this month, it's all about free movies—in theaters and under the stars. Free options include the Bow Tie Cinemas Summer Kids Series (June 20, 21, 27, 28) and Jenkinson's Movies on the Beach (June 23, 30), where this month's screenings include Hotel Transylvania and The Secret Life of Pets. And for just $1 you can check out Regal Cinemas Summer Movie Express (June 27-28) for viewings of Kung Fu Panda 3 and Ice Age: Collision Course. All series continue through August. Check sites for locations.
New Jersey State Fair – East Rutherford
June 22 – July 9
More than 150 rides and attractions provide hours of non-stop fun for the whole family at this enormous fair. Try out classic carnival games, indulge in “fair food” (funnel cake, anyone?), and enjoy live circus shows daily. Don't miss the Great American Thrill Show, featuring daredevil acrobats and aerialists.
Campout on the Beach – Morristown
Camp under the stars at Sunrise Beach, where you can enjoy a campfire, s'mores, storytelling, and socializing with other families before retiring to your tent for the night. This is a popular event, so register now! (Or sign up for the second campout on August 4.)
Firefly Festival – Princeton
Terhune Orchards stays open late for this special evening of outdoor fun, music, wagon rides, and firefly hunting. Rock out to the music of Grammy Award–winning Miss Amy and her Big Kids Band, snack on goodies from Pam's Firefly Tent, and watch students from Circus Place perform aerials, acrobatics, and juggling. Kids can make their own wings, bug boxes, and antennae. Admission to the festival is FREE; craft activities have a $5 fee.
Wear your wings to Frelinghuysen Arboretum for Fairy Day.
Fairy Day – Morris Township
This sweet festival at Frelinghuysen Arboretum is for fairy lovers big and small. Participants can use natural materials like bark, moss, feathers, and leaves to build a fairy house, which will be on display at the arboretum through the end of July. Summon fairies with music and fairy snacks, and learn which plants and trees attract these tiny visitors. Register by June 14.
Whitesbog Blueberry Festival – Browns Mills
Celebrate the delicious berries of summer at the 34th annual Blueberry Festival. Held on the beautiful grounds of Whitesbog, where the first commercial blueberries were cultivated, this festival includes blueberry picking, live music, kids' activities, historical presentations and tours, and lots of great food.
All photos courtesy of the events/venues.