Weekend Fun for NJ Kids: Pumpkin Trains, Musical Theater, Cider Making
We are now in the midst of peak pumpkin-picking season – not to mention leaf peeping, apple picking, and pretty much everything having to do with fall. And so, if it's seasonal fun you're after, you and your kids have your pick of countless autumn-related activities, including riding a train to a pumpkin patch, making your own cider, and seeing breathtaking jack-o-lantern displays. This weekend isn't only about crunching leaves and pumpkin pie, though: kids can also attend a dinosaur-themed storytime at the New Jersey State Museum, view – and make – art at Princeton University Art Museum and Grounds for Sculpture, and see a performance of the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale The Princess and the Pea.
Storytime: If the Dinosaurs Came Back – Trenton
Little dinosaur fanatics will love this event at the New Jersey State Museum, where a reading of Bernard Most's charming story will be followed by hands-on activities. Participants will visit the Paleo Lab to explore fossils and make a dinosaur craft to take home.
Boo at the Boardwalk – Point Pleasant Beach
Swap your swimsuit for a costume and head to Jenkinson's boardwalk for a ton of Halloween fun, including crafts, trick-or-treating, a pumpkin patch, and beach maze. Go on Saturday to catch an underwater pumpkin carving demonstration. On Sunday, kids in full costume get free admission to the Fun House, Castaway Cove Mini Golf, and Aquarium.
The Great Pumpkin Train Ride offers a different way to go pumpkin picking. Photo courtesy of the event.
The Great Pumpkin Train Ride – Phillipsburg
Tired of hay rides? Take a steam train to the pumpkin patch this year! The scenic ride along the Delaware River ends at a pumpkin patch in a charming little glade, where each child can pick one free pumpkin. Families can also visit the corn maze or ride the mine train for an extra fee. Check out more train rides here.
Saturday, October 15
Art for Families – Princeton
Every Saturday, budding artists are invited to drop by the Princeton University Art Museum to learn about the works on display and then make some art of their own. This week's event will be all about sculpture. FREE
The Princess and the Pea – South Orange
The famously picky princess comes to life in a musical retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale at South Orange Performing Arts Center. The performance runs about an hour and is recommended for kids ages 4-10.
At the Grounds for Sculpture, kids can interact with the art. Photo by Laura via Instagram.
Tots on Tour – Hamilton
Geared toward kids ages 3-5, Tots on Tour is a great introduction to Grounds for Sculpture, a gorgeous, 42-acre sculpture park and museum where touching the art is actually encouraged. Space is limited and is first-come-first-serve, so plan to arrive early! Free with park admission.
Brite Nites – Warren
This annual event at Wagner Farm Arboretum features a spectacular array of intricately carved, illuminated pumpkins, as well as a Secret Haunted Garden (not for little ones), seasonal refreshments at the Black Cat Cafe, and wandering entertainers.
Sunday, October 16
Apple Cider Making – Tenafly
Tenafly Nature Center invites kids and their parents to learn all about apples and then make fresh cider using an old-fashioned press. The center will provide apples, but feel free to BYO – more apples means more cider! Registration required.
Pumpkin Painting Party – Berkeley Heights
Kids ages 10 and older are invited to get into the Halloween spirit at Bottle & Bottega Studio. Participants should bring a drink and a snack, and the studio will provide paint supplies, instruction, aprons, and a pumpkin to take home. Registration required.
Thompson Park Day is an annual tradition that's packed with fall fun. Photo courtesy of Monmouth County Park System.
Thompson Park Day – Lincroft
This annual family-fun day features square dancing, archery, pumpkin painting, a scarecrow contest, a pie-eating contest, a climbing wall, and much more. Admission is free, but some activities have a fee.
Top photo: Tots on Tour at Grounds for Sculpture. Photo by Zach Teris/courtesy of Grounds for Sculpture.