This fall brings with it some super fun outdoor festivals, pick-your-own farm fun, new interactive art, train rides, and more for the 5-and-under set!
We've rounded up almost two dozen great events in New Jersey this fall (September through early November) that are perfect for preschool-age kids. Catch big names at preschool-friendly performances of Peppa Pig, Daniel Tiger, Shopkins, Disney On Ice, and Thomas & Friends at Liberty Science Center.
Or head outside with your little ones to enjoy the beautiful weather and colors at events like the Great Pumpkin Train ride, Terhune Orchards’ Fall Family Weekends, and Hefty Harvest and Scary Scarecrows at Camden Children’s Garden.
Read on for the full list of fun fall events for little ones in New jersey. Don't forget to check out our Fall Fun Guide and Event Calendar to find even more great things to do this season.
Hefty Harvest and Scary Scarecrows – Camden
Celebrate the start of fall at Camden Children’s Garden with harvest-themed games, crafts, and the opportunity to create a scarecrow. Plus, check out the rides, gardens, and other play areas on the grounds.
Grandparent's Day Excursion Train Ride – Whippany
Looking for a special Grandparent's Day outing that the whole family can enjoy? Ride the rails in an old-fashioned train car! Choose caboose or club car seating. Trains depart every hour from 1 to 4 p.m. Advance ticket purchases are recommended.
Read and Pick at Terhune Orchards – Princeton
September 12, 26, and October 3
Plan an outing to Terhune Orchards during one of its fall Read and Pick events, when preschoolers can listen to a story and then experience the farm for a related activity. Upcoming themes include chickens, tractors, and pumpkins. Advance registration is recommended.
Small Explorers Series – Trenton
September 16, October 21, November 18
Intended for children 6 months to 5 years with their caregivers, the Small Explorer Series at the NJ State Museum includes 30-45 minutes of stories, crafts, and play around a common theme. Fall themes include Art Exploration, Fall Harvest, and Native American Traditions. FREE, but advanced registration is required.
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There's plenty of fun for the whole family at The Great Pumpkin Festival at Heaven Hill Farms. Photo courtesy of the farm.
The Great Pumpkin Festival – Vernon
September 16 – October 1, weekends
October 4 – November 5, weekends plus Wednesday–Friday afternoons
Head to Heaven Hill Farms for the ongoing Pumpkin Festival, which offers the fruit of the season plus an obstacle course, hay maze, corn box, boo barn, corn maze, and more.
Family Overnight Campfire Festival – Mount Laurel
Think your little ones are ready to sleep out under the stars? Pack your tent and head to Paws Discovery Farm for a campout. Enjoy a campfire, songs, games, s'mores, snacks, and a complimentary breakfast included in the ticket price.
Shopkins Live – Morristown
September 17 (Mayo Performing Arts Center), September 27 (Count Basie Theater), September 28 (BergenPAC)
Join Jessicake, Bubbleisha, Peppa-Mint, Rainbow Kate, Cocolette, and Polli Polish in this fun-filled show as they perform perky dance moves, sing the latest pop songs, and show off trendy fashions in preparation for Shopville’s annual Funtastic Food and Fashion Fair.
Play Day South Orange – South Orange
Enjoy more than 10 play areas featuring everything from board games to basketball and rope jumping. This even is FREE, but some activities—such as inflatables, zip line, euro bungee, and radio-controlled cars—require a wristband, which can be purchased at the event for $10.
Princeton Children's Book Festival – Princeton
Meet more than 80 children's book authors and illustrators at the Princeton Public Library's annual Children’s Book Festival. FREE
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Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails rolls into Liberty Science Center September 23. Photo courtesy of Liberty Science Center.
Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails – Jersey City
September 23 – May 13
All aboard, tiny train lovers! Take your preschoolers to the Island of Sodor to meet Thomas and his friends at Liberty Science Center. Race toy trains and sort cargo at this fun STEM exhibit.
Fall Family Fun Weekends – Princeton
September 23 – October 29, weekends
Terhune Orchards is the perfect place to get in the fall spirit. Every weekend, Terhune features pick-your-own apples and pumpkins, pony and wagon rides, mazes, farm animals, and much more.
Monster Truck Day – Robbinsville
Calling all daredevils! Brave preschoolers will dig Monster Truck Day at Oasis Farms, where they can hop aboard a 12,000-pound beast for a special ride around the barnyard. Pony rides, fall picking, and more activities will round out the fun.
Great Pumpkin Train – Phillipsburg
September 30 – October 29
Little engineers will love this scenic train ride along the Delaware River. The train stops at a pumpkin patch where children can pick their own pumpkin to take home. A corn maze can be added for an additional fee.
Peppa Pig Live! Peppa Pig’s Surprise – Englewood
There's a surprise for Peppa and George, but what could it be? Kids will join the Pig family and their friends for this singing and dancing adventure at BergenPAC.
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood LIVE: King for a Day! – Newark
At NJPAC, watch Daniel and his friends embark on a new adventure in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, where Daniel learns just what it takes to be King.
Guess How Much I Love You at the State Theatre. Photo courtesy of the theater.
Guess How Much I Love You – New Brunswick
Watch some of your favorite storybooks come to life through puppetry, narration, and music onstage at the State Theatre.
Pumpkin Patch Day – Union
The manageable size of Liberty Hall Museum makes this fall fest just right for preschoolers. Pick a pumpkin, get your face painted, hitch a hayride, or partake in other seasonal fun in a bucolic setting. Reservations suggested.
Witch's Day Out – Smithville
Let your child don their favorite not-so-scary witch costume, and head on over to Historic Smithville for its third annual Witch's Day Out. There will be contests with prizes and complimentary finger foods. FREE
Downtown Millburn Trick-or-Treat for Preschoolers – Millburn
Not ready for your tots to trick-or-treat among crowds of older kids? Downtown Millburn hosts a store-to-store Halloween event exclusive to the preschool set. While school-age trick-or-treaters are still in class, stop by the downtown stores and restaurants to collect goodies. FREE
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Hoboken's Ragamuffin Parade is just right for little ones getting in to the Halloween spirit. Photo by John Dalton via Flickr.
Ragamuffin Parade & Costume Contest – Hoboken
Who’s got the most creative costume in Hoboken? Find out at this festive Halloween event, complete with a parade, floats, live music, and a costume contest. FREE
The Great Pumpkin Sail – Mountainside
Send off your jack-o-lantern in style at Echo Lake Park. Watch as your pumpkin floats on the lake, sing songs around the campfire, and enjoy hot chocolate and marshmallows. Weather permitting. Pumpkin sail reservations required.
Princess fans will be in heaven at Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream. Photo courtesy of the production.
Disney On Ice: Dare to Dream – Newark
Princess lovers will be dazzled by this delightful performance at the Prudential Center that celebrates 75 years of Disney Princess stories.
The Laurie Berkner Band Holiday Concert – Morristown
Listen to The Laurie Berkner Band as it kicks off the holiday season with a rockin' show featuring several of Laurie’s greatest hits.
Top photo: Peppa Pig Live! Peppa Pig’s Surprise. Photo courtesy of the production.