Weekend Fun: Butterfly Festival, Wizard of Oz, County Fairs

No matter what your kids are into, you're bound to find something fun this weekend. You can hear a nautical tale at Cape May's Lighthouse Storytime, head to Liberty State Park to Explore the Hudson River Estuary, or see entertaining experiments at Mad Science Summer Camp in Paramus. Travel back in time at the Living History Encampment in Historic Smithville, or fall under the spell of The Wizard of Oz at the Morris Museum's Bickford Theatre. 

Try one of the many fairs and festivals happening this month, including the Festival of the Sea in Long Beach Township and the Watershed Butterfly Festival in Pennington.

Find ways to beat the heat in our Summer Fun Guide for NJ Kids, which includes our list of the Best Jersey Shore Beaches for Families. And be sure to check out our Event Calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Read on for more of our weekend picks, and don't forget to visit our brand-new local DEALS page to score discounts on camps, classes, birthday party packages, and more for NJ kids. 

All Weekend

New Jersey State Fair: Essex County Farm & Horse Show – Augusta
This is the final weekend to catch the fair—there's tons of fun happening here, from rides and games to pig races, tractor pulls, and demolition derbies. Saturday is Pig Day, and Sunday is Alpaca Day, and both days will feature a petting zoo, Butterfly Encounter, and performances of K-9s in Flight.

The Middlesex County Fair is packed with kid-friendly fun. Photo courtesy of the fair.

Middlesex County Fair – East Brunswick
This fair also wraps up this weekend. Check out carnival rides, crafts, and agricultural displays. Special shows include The Marvelous Mutts, The Pork Chop Review, a cowboy sing-along with Deputy Boots and Sheriff Britches, and the David Darwin One-Man Sideshow.

Peach & Nectarine Weekend – Robbinsville
Oasis Farms invites families to this summertime celebration of peaches. Kids can enjoy wagon rides, sand art, crafts, a pie-eating contest, and other activities.

Festival of the Sea – Long Beach Township
St. Francis Parish presents its annual can’t-miss event for LBI families. This is an old-school carnival at its best: rides for all ages, classic games, and mouth-watering food. Pay-one-price bracelets are available nightly.

Living History Encampment – Galloway
See how Civil War soldiers lived when Historic Smithville transforms into a military and civilian camp for the weekend. Visitors are invited to watch marching drills and musket firing demonstrations, explore the site, and ask questions. 

Saturday, August 12

Join the Butterfly and Bug Parade at the Watershed Butterfly Festival. Photo courtesy of Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association.

Watershed Butterfly Festival – Pennington
Put on your wings and flutter over to the 17th annual Butterfly Festival, held on the grounds of Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association's reserve. This year's event includes an obstacle course and dunk tank, hay rides, nature walks, an insect zoo, and the popular Butterfly and Bug Parade. There's a beer garden for the grown-ups, and plenty of food will be available for purchase.

Explore the Hudson River Estuary – Jersey City 
Learn all about the ecology of the Hudson River Estuary in this hands-on event hosted by the Liberty State Park Nature Center. Participants will use a seine net to find fish and shrimp, and comb the beach for shells and other treasures. Waders will be provided. 

Mad Science Summer Camp – Paramus
Give STEM-loving kids a fun outing at Garden State Plaza Mall, where Mad Science of Northeast NJ will host demos of entertaining science experiments with this week's theme: Big Top Science. Space is limited; RSVP online. FREE

The Wizard of Oz – Morristown
Go off to see the Wizard at Morris Museum's Bickford Theatre, where Theatre Next Door will present a stage adaptation of the classic movie. The production features songs from the film, including "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," as well as all of the beloved (and wicked) characters Dorothy encounters on her quest to get back home.

Lighthouse Storytime – Cape May
No trip to Cape May is complete without a visit to the historic Cape May Lighthouse. Go for the storytime to hear nautical tales and enjoy the scenery. FREE

Sunday, August 13

Peach Pancake Breakfast at Alstede Farms – Chester
Alstede Farms invites you to an all-you-can-eat breakfast featuring its farm-fresh peaches and more. Admission to the breakfast includes access to the pick-your-own fields and orchards as well as live entertainment.

Open Arms Family Evening at Garden State Discovery Museum – Cherry Hill 
Families with children on the autism spectrum are invited to come for a special evening of play and exploration in a safe, supportive environment. This event is held four times a year; the next and final Open Arms evening of 2017 will take place in November.   

Movies at the Beach – Seaside Heights
Spread out a beach blanket and watch erstwhile super-villain Gru and the Minions battle a new bad guy in Despicable Me 2. FREE

Top photo: Butterfly Festival. Photo courtesy of Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association.

Sunflower Picking at Happy Day Farm
Happy Day Farm - 8:00 AM Pick
Turtle Back Zoo Reopening
Turtle Back Zoo - various times Pick
Hudson River Kids Online
Facebook - various times Pick
A Hamilton Read-Along
- various times Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides