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Birthday Party Spots for NJ Kids with Both Indoor and Outdoor Play

Every fall, I face the same dilemma planning my girls’ birthday party. Do I take advantage of the crisp autumn weather with an outdoor venue? Or do I play it safe with something indoors? Planning a party is stressful enough in any season, without the added anxiety over weather. If an outdoor party is what you have in mind, don’t let Mother Nature put a damper on your child’s special day. From nature centers to water parks, the following party venues offer outdoor party options with indoor alternatives.

For even more ideas for fun in our NJ Kids' Birthday Party Guide.

Top Birthday Party Places for Kids in New Jersey

It's time to party, New Jersey! We've rounded up 15 of our favorite places to celebrate in the Garden State. Whether your birthday kid is into cooking, laser taggingbouncing, or crafting, there's a place that's perfect for hosting your next bash. And if you're looking for more specific ideas—for a first birthday, perhaps, or the best spots for preschoolers' parties—be sure to check out our NJ Kids' Birthday Party Ideas Guide

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Farms in New Jersey

For many families, cutting down a Christmas tree is an annual tradition that marks the beginning of the holiday season. For kids, the experience can be downright magical: you're set loose in a forest of trees, with a mission to find the perfect one. If you're thinking of going the cut-your-own route this year, start your tree search by checking out our extensive list of Christmas tree farms. Once you've checked that off your list, be sure to visit our Holiday Guide for even more ways to celebrate the season. 

New Jersey Playgrounds Cool Enough for Big Kids

Playgrounds are the perfect destination for a warm, sunny day in New Jersey. Your kids get fresh air and exercise...for FREE! But what happens when your school-aged children decide they’re too cool for their once-favorite neighborhood parks? My 8-year-old former playground-enthusiasts have recently begun to turn their noses up at the local swings and slides. And if I do talk them into a playground visit, we last about five minutes.

Playground moms—don’t give up yet. I haven’t! There are some destination playgrounds in New Jersey with features and contraptions novel enough to satisfy even the pickiest playground cynics. These play areas include zip lines, crazy slides, Spiderman-type climbers, and other structures that will challenge the ages 7-and-up crowd. We've rounded up some of our top picks across the state, and please note: these playgrounds all feature plenty to entertain the younger siblings as well.

Find more romping spots in our Parks & Playgrounds Guide for Jersey Kids.

New Jersey Roller Skating Rinks: Roll With It, Baby!

Ever wish you could travel back in time to the 1980s a la Marty McFly in Back to the Future? Maybe play Super Mario Brothers on a newfangled 8-bit Nintendo system while sporting big hair and neon clothes? Well, you don't need a time-traveling DeLorean to experience one tubular '80s trend that's back in vogue: roller skating rinks! They're the perfect place to throw a radical birthday party or spend a mega-fun afternoon indoors with the kids. Here are some rolling skating hot spots for your family to enjoy (spandex pants optional).

NJ Candy Stores & Sweet Shops Kids Will Love

There are plenty of ways to celebrate Valentine's Day with the kids in New Jersey, including fun family events, craft projects, and more. Another way to celebrate, of course, is with a special sweet treat, be it chocolate making, or cute cake pops, or heart-shaped candies.  

We've rounded up some top sweet shops and candy stores around the state to bring your little monkeys some yummy goodness this Valentine's Day.

New Jersey Theater Alliance Stages Festival: Your Guide to Kid-Friendly Shows

If you'd like to introduce your kids to the magic of theater, check out the performances and theater-related activities that are a part of the 2016 New Jersey Theatre Alliance Stages Festival. With over 80 kid-friendly performances, workshops, classes, and camp samplers offered throughout New Jersey free or at low-cost, The Stages Festival is the perfect introduction to professional theater for children of all ages.  All events are produced by the professional theaters of New Jersey. According to Ruth Zamoyta, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance Stages' Development & Communications Director, parents love live performances because "they get the kids off the computer, off the phone, and even away from the screens that you find on the TV or in the movie theater."  She adds,  when it comes to the workshops, mini-camps, and classes, "kids get to express themselves freely and creatively. In all Stages events, participants come away with a feeling of togetherness--live theatre is a shared experience, and the workshops and classes are collaborative."

Best Places for Ice Skating Lessons in NJ

It's the perfect time of year to lace up those skates and hit the ice. New Jersey is home to some great outdoor ice rinks as well as plenty of indoor skating arenas. If your kids are dreaming of becoming Olympic figure skaters or professional hockey players, you might be thinking of signing them up for skating lessons. We've found some great skating programs across the state that will have your kids going for the gold, or at least not falling down as much. From Mommy and Me classes to advanced figure skating and hockey lessons, your kids will be ready to compete, or just show off, in no time.

Best NJ Pediatric Clinics and Urgent Care

Finding a pediatrician you and your child (well...for the most part!) like is wonderful. However, most pediatricians don't have late-night office hours, and when middle-of-the-night emergencies happen, clinics and pediatric hospitals open round-the-clock may be able to step in and save the day. (I know my daughter only seems to get sick on Saturday nights, so off to the local pediatric clinic we go...) Below is a list of pediatric clinics and urgent care facilities in New Jersey that cater to babies and kids.

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