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Polar Express and Christmas Trains for New Jersey Kids

Every year, New Jersey's railroads get decked out in their holiday best to offer special Christmas-themed rides for the whole family. Wait—Christmas? We know, it's a bit early to start hauling out the holly, but these rides are a popular holiday tradition, and they sell out fast!

Though these trains don't go all the way to the North Pole, most include a visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, along with treats, caroling, and stories. One storybook Santa train invites kids to wear their pajamas and hear a classic Christmas story read aloud on the rails, while another ferries passengers to a Christmas tree farm.

Read on to find out where to take a holiday train ride with Santa Claus, and book your tickets as soon as possible. Then you can put Christmas aside for a while and get back to your fall fun.  

Cool Pumpkin Displays, Festivals, and Decorating Events in NJ

Are your kids already preparing for Halloween, with visions of candy, costumes, and pumpkins dancing in their heads? Kick off the festive fall season at one of the many wonderful pumpkin-themed events happening around NJ, from elaborate pumpkin exhibits and carving competitions to good old-fashioned pumpkin picking and decorating fun.

Read on for our top picks, plus a bonus event that’s worth a drive across the state line. You can find even more even seasonal events in our Fall Fun Guide

Halloween and Fall Foliage Train Rides for New Jersey Kids

Halloween and hayrides go hand in hand, but if you really want to up your game this year, take a trip on a Halloween train! If you have a junior conductor in your family, don't miss out on one of these four seasonal NJ railway adventures. From spooky to scenic, these rides offer a unique bit of fall fun for the whole family: passengers can take a seat in a vintage caboose, travel through gorgeous fall foliage, visit a pumpkin patch, and even trick-or-treat onboard. After the ride, round out the day with autumn activities like corn mazes, crafts, and a costume party.

Check out our NJ Fall Fun Guide for even more seasonal family fun around the state.

Harvest Festivals, Hayrides, and Fall Fair Fun in New Jersey

The air is crisp, the apples are ripe, and fall fair and harvest festival season is about to get underway! We've rounded up two dozen great harvest fests in New Jersey, all packed with signature autumn activities like hayrides, corn mazes, pumpkin decorating (and picking), pie contests, scarecrow making, live animals, live music, and more. Some even incorporate a little early Halloween fun.

Read on to find an event near you, including the Great Pumpkin Festival, the Fall Festival at Spruce Street Harbor Park, the Blackwood Pumpkin Festival, and more.

For more seasonal activities around the Garden State, be sure to check out our Fall Fun Guide and our list of 35 Things We Can't Wait To Do with NJ Kids This Fall

Amazing Corn Mazes at New Jersey Farms

Get ready… get set… get lost in an amazing New Jersey corn maze! The Garden State is home to oodles of spectacular corn mazes, ranging from massive 10-acre labyrinths to simpler, child-friendly courses, including hay bale mazes just right for toddlers and preschoolers. Games, clues, and even techie bonuses enhance many of the more elaborate maze experiences. Got a tween or teen? Check out courses that are open after hours for a nighttime and sometimes spooky adventure.

Many of these 16 corn mazes we've rounded up are day trip–worthy on their own, but you'll also likely find apple and pumpkin picking options, hayrides, and even fall festivals, plus petting zoos in some instances. So get out your fall to-do list, and navigate your way through one of these great New Jersey corn mazes. Check out our Fall Fun Guide for NJ Kids to find even more ways to enjoy the crisp autumn days.

Best Fall Fairs and Festivals for NJ Families in September

As the carefree days of summer draw to a close, NJ families can look forward to plenty of fun in the Garden State this fall. Explore nature at the NJ Wild Outdoor Expo, chow down on delicious seafood at the Atlantic City Seafood Festival, or listen to some exciting tales at the NJ Storytelling Festival.

Check out the 17 awesome festivals below, and visit our Events Calendar and September GoList for more fabulous fall ideas, or head over to our just released Fall Fun Guide if you're already envisioning fall foliage and that pumpkin spice.

Best STEM Classes for New Jersey Kids

Is your child interested in exploring the "hows," "whys," and "what-ifs" of the world around them? STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) enrichment classes can be a wonderful way to foster their curiosity and help them think critically and creatively. We've rounded up 11 NJ enrichment programs that offer instruction in coding, robotics, architecture, engineering, chess, and more. 

iPlay America is New Jersey's Largest Indoor Boardwalk

The rollercoaster whizzes down the track, the sweet smell of funnel cake fills the air, and an orchestra of buzzers and whistles plays from a nearby arcade. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think you were enjoying an evening on the Jersey Shore boardwalk, but this is iPlay America, a nearly four-acre indoor amusement park and fun center in Freehold, New Jersey that's open all year round.

We're Sweet on This Jersey Shore Ice Cream Shop's Insane Milkshakes

Take a break from the beach and cool down at Coney Waffle, home to the best milkshakes in New Jersey. This Shore staple has locations in Asbury Park and Belmar, and it recently opened a third shop, at Pier Village in Long Branch, just in time for the summer season. Your kids will go crazy for the jaw-dropping super shakes towering with whipped cream, baked goods, candy, and other sweet toppings. With homemade waffles, fudge, and ice cream also on the menu, there's something for every sweet tooth at this beach-side spot. 

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