Central Jersey

Best Water Playgrounds and Splash Pads in New Jersey

When the heat becomes unbearable with the kids this summer, you might be yearning to bust open a fire hydrant. Before you do, consider one of New Jersey's splash pads and sprinkler parks, many of which are located in local parks and playgrounds.

We've rounded up some of our favorite water playgrounds around the state, organized by region. Remember, these are not water parks, so you won't find a ton of bells and whistles—though some do offer interactive features like dumping buckets or whimsical designs like water spouts in the shape of cattails (Van Saun Park!); animal fixtures (Bridgeton); or basketball sprayers (Manalapan). But the best part? Most of these splash zones are completely FREE.

Visit our Best NJ Water Parks article to go all in for theme park fun. Or strap on those water shoes, pack the towels, and read on for some of New Jersey's best water playgrounds and spray parks in your neighborhood. 

A Dozen Fun Things to Do with Kids at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, NJ

If biking, hiking, and learning about nature sounds like great fun for your family, plan a trip to Duke Farms. Open to the public since 2012, this 2,740-acre ecological treasure located in Hillsborough offers diverse wildlife, hiking trails, and interesting educational programs. This park is perfect for exploring the outdoors in all seasons. Here are a dozen ways to take it all in at Duke Farms.

Pick Your Own Strawberry Farms and Festivals in New Jersey

Nothing screams springtime in the Garden State like getting your hands dirty picking strawberries. Heading to a pick-your-own farm is an outdoor adventure with a sweet reward—what kid (or grown-up) doesn’t love red, ripe strawberries? Whether this is your child’s first time at the berry patch or you’re looking to fill pies, jam jars, smoothies, and shortcakes for months to come, we’ve rounded up more than 20 farms and festivals around the state where your sweeties can their hands on bushels full of juicy red berries.

Check out our May GoList and Spring Fun Guide to find more events and activities to enjoy with your kids this season.

KidStreet Playground: Playdate Perfection in Bridgewater, NJ

Slides? Check. Swings? Check. Two-story pirate ship, zip lines, and enormous climbing structures? Check, check, and check. KidStreet isn't your average playground

Located minutes from Bridgewater Commons Mall at the Bridgewater Municipal Complex, this unique spot is one that your family will want to visit again and again. KidStreet is a favorite hangout for my kids, ages 6, 3, and 9 months. It has a fantastic layout with special playground equipment you won’t come across just anywhere, and it's perfect for playdates, with plenty of parent seating areas and fun things to do for kids of all ages—even the big kids. Read on for an inside look at this hidden gem.

20 Best Things To Do with Tweens in New Jersey

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). To keep those in-betweeners happy and engaged, find an activity that sparks their curiosity or stretches their growing limbs. When a trip to your local playground is met with eye-rolling instead of cheering, it's time to check out these amazing activities for older kids in New Jersey. The good news? You may genuinely enjoy competing with your tween in bowling and mini golf, tackling the fast slides at a water park, or seeing a play or concert. Read on for 20 ideas that are cool enough for big kids. 

See Baby Animals and More at Family-Friendly NJ Farms

Spring is here, and it's time to get out of the house and breathe in some fresh air. What better way to celebrate the season than visiting some baby animals on a farm? Your children can crack corn, collect eggs, see baby pigs, goats, and sheep, and even learn how cheese and bread are made. Here some of our favorite farms with baby animals in NJ.

Kids' Classes and Fun Family Activities at NJ Community Colleges

Your child might not be old enough to head off to college, but there are plenty of offerings for kids at New Jersey's many community colleges. There are about 20 community colleges throughout the state, and they offer everything from music programs to STEM classes. We've put together a list of some of the best classes and enrichment activities for tots to teens. Some summer camps are noted, but for a longer list of options, be sure to check out our Summer Camp Guide.

Mother’s Day Brunch at the Jersey Shore: 9 Great Family-Friendly Restaurants

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and moms everywhere will be celebrating with a fabulous brunch. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back vibe or you prefer something fancy-shmancy, the Jersey Shore has plenty of delicious options to choose from. Check out one of these local favorites for a wonderful meal the whole family will love, no cooking or clean-up required. Relax, enjoy yourself, and have a very happy Mother’s Day! 

Best Miniature Golf Courses for New Jersey Kids and Families

Summer is on the horizon, and that means day trips, swimming, water parks, random adventures with the small people, and yes, putt-putt. New Jersey apparently has a thing for windmills and teeny-weeny pencils—our fair state has at least 53 miniature golf courses! We're highlighting nearly half of these courses, so get out that little pencil and make your way around the state. See websites for prices and hours.

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