September GoList: The Best Things To Do With NJ Kids This Month

Top Family-Friendly Activities in New Jersey in September 2018

Help the kids ease their back-to-school blues with some excellent events happening throughout NJ in September. From early fall fun to awesome animal encounters, we've hand-picked more than 20 of our favorite things to do this month. You can visit  African penguins or hang with friendly alpacas, sing along with princesses, ride a pumpkin train, have a sleepover on a farm, and so much more. 

For even more September fun, look to our roundup of September Fairs and Festivals and the best places to pick your own apples, and find a great selection of after-school activities in our Guide to Classes and Enrichment Programs for NJ Kids. Don't forget to check out our Event Calendar for a complete listing of happenings this month and beyond. 

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Back to School Bash at Allaire – Farmingdale
Saturday, September 1, 2018
Celebrate the end of summer with costumed characters, super heroes and princesses, glitter tattoos, a bookmark craft, history station, live animals, live music, a selfie station and touch-a-truck from NJ State Police.

African Penguin Awareness Weekend – Camden
Saturday, September 1 – Monday, September 3, 2018
Penguin lovers won't want to miss Adventure Aquarium's 10th annual African Penguin Awareness Weekend. Visitors can watch penguin feedings, take part in a penguin dance party, get a hands-on look at penguin feathers and eggs, watch a behind-the-scenes video of life in the aquarium's penguin colony, and more.   

Passaic River Labor Day Paddle – Roseland
Monday, September 3, 2018
Take a leisurely paddle on the Passaic River and enjoy scenery and peacefulness as you paddle up the river and float downstream. Geared toward beginners and children 10 and up accompanied by a parent or guardian. (Find more fun things to do on Labor Day weekend here.)

Alpacas are gentle and curious, and they respond well to children. Photo courtesy of Bluebird Farm Alpacas.

Open Farm Weekend at Bluebird Farm Alpacas – Peapack
Saturday, September 8 – Sunday, September 9, 2018
You normally have to make a reservation to visit Bluebird Farm Alpacas, but this weekend the farm is open to all visitors who want to come meet (and maybe even cozy up to) its sweet residents. Guests can visit with, feed, and photograph the alpacas, see live demonstrations, learn about raising and breeding, shop for alpaca products, and more. A container of grain is included in the $6 admission fee. 

NJ Wild Outdoor Expo – New Egypt
Saturday, September 8 – Sunday, September 9, 2018
Want to learn how to kayak or pick up some new camping skills? Head to the NJ Wild Outdoor Expo, which offers conservation information, education, and hands-on opportunities to learn a variety of outdoor skills and activities. Try your hand at fishing, hiking, kayaking, camping skills, rock climbing, wildlife watching, and more. FREE

Take Gram and Gramps on an old-fashioned ride on a caboose at Whippany. Photo by Shari Simpson

Grandparents Day Excursion Train Ride – Whippany
Sunday, September 9, 2018
Make a reservation to ride the rails with Grandma and Grandpa on this 10-mile excursion along the historic Whippanong Trail. 

Wind & Sea Festival – Port Monmouth
Saturday, September 15, 2018
Enjoy a day filled with coastal fun at Bayshore Waterfront Park, including fishing, kayaking, sand castle building, shelling, kite flying, and much more. FREE, but some activities have a fee. 

Broadway Princess Party – Newark 
Saturday, September 15, 2018
See Broadway royalty including Belle (Susan Egan) and Cinderella (Laura Osnes) perform your favorite princess songs at NJPAC. Audience members are encouraged to dress up in their finest royal attire. 

Apple Days Fall Festival – Princeton
Saturdays and Sundays beginning September 15, 2018
Terhune Orchards kicks off its fall festivities on Saturday, September 15, and the fun continues through October. Take a tractor-pulled wagon ride around the farm, explore the corn stalk maze, or sit for a while and listen to some good old-fashioned country music. Children’s activities include pony rides, face painting, scavenger hunts, rubber duck races, pumpkin painting, and more. And don't forget to stop by the barnyard to visit the animals.

Great Pumpkin Festival – Vernon
Saturdays and Sundays beginning September 15
The Great Pumpkin Festival returns to Heaven Hill Farm this fall with more than 30 family-friendly activities, including visits with animals, a hay maze, spider web crawl, a "boo barn," chicken little show, a chick barn, a dancing robot show, duck racing, an obstacle course, and much more. The festival continues through November 4 and includes some weekdays in October.

Six Flags Great Adventure Fright Fest – Jackson
Saturday, September 15 – Wednesday, October 31, 2018 
The daytime hours are family-friendly and offer the chance to grab some candy from your favorite characters in the trick-or-treat trail. At 6 p.m., the midways become scary and Fright Fest is not recommended for children under 12, or those who scare easily. Click for all dates. 

Paws Discovery Farm Family Campout – Mount Laurel
Saturday, September 15
There's more animal sleepover fun to be had at Paws Discovery Farm, where families are invited to bring your own tent and camp at the farm. Enjoy a campfire, s'mores, games, songs, and snacks, plus a complimentary breakfast in the morning. Registration is required. 

25th Annual New Jersey Storytelling Festival – Lambertville
Saturday, September 15, 2018
Visit Howell Living History Farm to hear tales straight from master storytellers all day long. The event includes a story slam and a continuous rotation of storytellers performing throughout the farm from 1–5pm.

All About Downtown Street Fair – Jersey City
Saturday, September 15, 2018
Jersey City comes alive for the 8th annual Downtown Street Fair, featuring more than 125 vendors and tons of fun family activities. Sample tasty treats from some of the area's top food trucks, listen to live music, and enjoy kids' activities like face painting, games, and inflatables at this event, which takes place on Newark Avenue between Grove Street and Coles Street. 

PlayDay South Orange has tons of bouncy activities to keep kids jumping, sliding and bouncing all day. Photo courtesy of the Village Green

PlayDay South Orange – South Orange
Sunday, September 16, 2018
PlayDay South Orange is the town's largest public event and features more than 10 play areas with everything from board games to basketball, radio controlled cars to rope jumping. The bouncy houses are always a big hit, but expect to wait for your turn, as well as for face painting. FREE but fees for several activities.

Somerset Patriots Playoffs – Bridgewater
Friday, September 21, 2018
The Somerset Patriots have clinched an Atlantic League Playoff spot by winning the 2018 Liberty Division First Half Championship. Tickets are now on sale for the Post Season games at TD Bank Ballpark.

Harvest Moon Hayride & Night Time Corn Maze – Chester
Fridays and Saturdays beginning September 21, 2018
The autumn action continues at Alstede Farms, where the Harvest Moon Hayride & Night Time Corn Maze will run Fridays and Saturdays through October 28. Make your way through the corn maze and take a tractor-led hayride through the fields, then enjoy a campfire, live music, and apple cider under the stars.  

Smithsonian's Museum Day Live – Trenton
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Join New Jersey State Museum for this year’s Smithsonian Day Live, and celebrate women in New Jersey history. The event features objects on display and hands-on programs for adults and children, including a free planetarium program. FREE

Children's Book Festival – Princeton
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Meet your favorite children's book authors and illustrators at Princeton's annual festival celebrating a love of books. Kids can listen to authors speak, have books signed, and join in many fun activities throughout the day. FREE

The Giant Pumpkin Carve and Pumpkin Pageant – Woodstown
Friday, September 28, 2018
At this 22nd annual event, local artists come together with high school and amateur artists to carve giant pumpkins to share with the community. The fun includes a pumpkin light show, free hayrides, straw maze, crafts, music, and lots of family fun. Proceeds will benefit Meals on Wheels.

The Great Pumpkin Train – Phillipsburg
Saturdays and Sundays, September 29 – October 28, 2018
Take the train to the pumpkin patch while enjoying the beautiful scenery, and extend the fun by purchasing add-ons such as the Corn Maze and the Mine Train for an additional fee. A free pumpkin is included for every child.

Experience farm life 19th-century farm life during the Harvest Home Festival. Photo by Jim Lukach/CC BY 2.0

Harvest Home Festival – Holmdel
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Travel back in time to the 1890s at the Harvest Home Festival, an old-fashioned country fair at Historic Longstreet Farm. The day's events include wagon rides, games, a corn-husking competition, pie-eating contests, live entertainment, craft demonstrations, and more. 

Hoboken Arts & Music Festival – Hoboken
Sunday, September 30, 2018
This popular festival celebrates its 25th year with live music, arts & craft vendors, neighborhood restaurants, and more. Stop by the designated children’s area on 3rd Street for rides, games, face painting, sand art, and musical performances (including Songs for Seeds and Michael from Michael & The Rockness Monsters). FREE