Looking for things to do in New Jersey with tweens? Read on for our top picks.
Your tweens may be too big for bouncy houses and tea parties, yet too young for solo outings with friends. But they still love family fun–even if they won't always admit it. When a trip to your local playground is met with eye-rolling instead of cheering, it's time to check out these amazing things to do in New Jersey with tweens. The good news? You may genuinely enjoy competing with your tween in bowling or tackling the fast slides at a water park.
Read on for 40 ideas that are cool enough for big kids and find more fun things to do in New Jersey with tweens in our Tweens and Teens Guide to NJ, which includes our rundown on birthday party ideas for teens in New Jersey.
Things To Do in NJ with Tweens Indoors
1. See a Show
Take in an almost-Broadway show at one of New Jersey's celebrated regional theaters, like Paper Mill Playhouse, McCarter Theater, or the State Theater.
2. Go to a Game
Show your Scarlet Knight or Pirate pride at a Rutgers or Seton Hall sporting event.
3. Meet Lady Liberty
Head to Liberty State Park and catch a ferry to the Statue of Liberty Museum.
4. Let the Good Times Roll
Lace up your skates for a whirl around a roller rink—glow necklaces and 80's shades optional.
5. Win Big
Show them your favorite old-school games at these NJ arcades.
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Do some laser-tagging at iPlay America. Photo courtesy of the venue
6. Burn Off Energy
Spend an afternoon playing, climbing, and exploring one of New Jersey's mega indoor fun spots, like iPlay America or Branchburg Sports Complex.
7. Visit a Museum
Gaze at the artwork at a New Jersey museum, like the Montclair Art Museum or the Newark Museum, which has one of the country's finest collections of American art.
8. Get Creative
Create some art of your own at one of New Jersey's painting studios.
9. Make a Gift for Grandma
Create beaded jewelry or pottery at a local studio.
10. Rock Out
Treat them to their first rock or pop concert.
The Liberty Science Center offers plenty of rotating exhibits to keep kids coming back over and over, even as they grow. Photo by Kaylynn Chiarello Ebner
11. Learn Something New
Explore one of the many cool science museums in and around New Jersey.
12. Tee Up
Tee up for a round of outdoor digital golf, tracking your scores with a micro-chipped ball.
13. Take Flight
Go skydiving—without jumping from a plane—at iFly in Paramus.
14. Play Tag
Face off in a game of laser tag.
15. Strike it Big
Roll some strikes without bumpers at your favorite bowling alley.
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Your tweens are old enough to give glass blowing a try. Photo courtesy of Hot Sand in Asbury Park
16. Blow Your Own Glass
Step up your arts and crafts game with glass blowing.
17. Make Music
Get hands-on with musical instruments and learn about local music history at the GRAMMY Museum.
18. Plan Your Escape
Escape from a family-style escape room.
19. Get Pampered
Relax with a tween spa treatment or mani-pedi at one of New Jersey's many spas or salons, like Glitter & Glam in Paramus.
20. Enjoy a Sweet Treat
Enjoy a sweet treat together at a popular ice cream spot or retro candy shop.
Tackle an obstacle course at Urban Air Adventure Park in Milltown. Photo courtesy of the park
21. Have an Adventure
Enjoy some Ninja Warrior–style fun at an awesome indoor obstacle course.
22. Jump Around
Bounce and flip at an indoor trampoline park.
23. Sing a Song
Gather a group of friends and belt out your favorite tunes at Songbird Karaoke.
24. See Some Stars
Go stargazing at the biggest planetarium in the country!
25. Make a Splash
An indoor water park is a good idea any time of the year.
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American Dream offers an eye-popping array of attractions—including a multi-story candy wonderland—sure to impress even picky tweens. Photo by Jody Mercier
26. Live the American Dream
You could easily spend an entire day at this entertainment complex, between Angry Birds mini golf, Nickelodeon Universe amusement park, and the largest indoor water park in North America.
27. Strike a Pose
Get the perfect snap at Selfie Station, an Instagram and TikTok-inspired photobooth wonderland.
28. Test Drive
RPM Raceway has authentic, exhilarating, and safe indoor electric karting facilities.
29. STEM Play
Practice critical thinking skills while having fun at the Arena STEM amusement park.
30. Score a Goal
Rent a field for a private game of 5x5 at the Sofive indoor soccer facility.
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Tweens looking for a thrill will love The Kingda Ka at Six Flags. Photo courtesy of Six Flags
Things To Do in NJ with Tweens Outdoors
31. Experience Some Thrills
Test your bravery on the wildest roller coasters New Jersey has to offer.
32. Go For a Hike
Longer legs mean longer hikes, so check out New Jersey's great reservations, from the pinelands to the mountains.
33. Do a Day Trip
Spend an entire day exploring a state park.
34. Support the Local Team
Take them out to a ball game—New Jersey has minor league action up and down the state.
35. Let it Zip
Zip and swing above the trees at an outdoor ropes course.
Tweens can burn off some serious energy on a pedal boat ride at Sunrise Lake in Lewis Morris Park. Photo courtesy of the park
36. Cool Off at the Lake
Cruise the waterways on a dinner cruise, ferry, or another exciting boat ride. Or share the work of rowing or pedaling on a lakeshore ride.
37. Get Wet
Splash around and tackle the tallest slides at a water park.
38. Sleep Under the Stars
Unplug and get back to nature on a family camping trip.
39. Revisit History
Stroll through history at New Jersey's Revolutionary War sites.
40. Get Some Culture
Walk through the Grounds for Sculpture.
For even more inspiration, check out our list of things to do in New Jersey before your kids grow up.
Originally published in 2013 and updated regularly. Margaret Hargrove contributed additional reporting.