Point Pleasant

A Dozen Must-Do Holiday and Christmas Experiences for NJ Kids

This year, 2018, has the earliest possible date for Thanksgiving: November 22. What we lost in turkey prep time, we'll make up for in a lovely, elongated holiday season on the road to Christmas and New Year's. In between your Christmas shopping and holiday to-dos, we've assembled our annual list of activities kids will love—and won't cost an arm and a leg. From holiday light shows to breakfast with Santa to Christmas trains, we’ve compiled 12 great memory-making activities for this month.

Check out our full calendar of events and our holiday guide for even more options.

Day Trip to Point Pleasant Beach and Jenkinson's Boardwalk

Point Pleasant Beach has long been a family-friendly Jersey Shore destination, and with good reason. About an hour's drive from New York City and Philadelphia, this picturesque stretch of sand lies between the beaches of Monmouth County and the craziness of Seaside Heights. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk plays host to many kid-friendly attractions, including an aquarium, arcades, mini-golf courses, a ropes course, and an amusement park with a whole section that’s just right for toddlers and preschoolers.

I spent many summers here in my youth, and this summer, with my own 4-year-old in tow, I headed down to exit 98 to spend the day at this popular Shore spot.

Looking for more warm-weather fun? Check out our Summer Fun Guide and Jersey Shore Family Guide for ideas. 

The Best NJ Zoos and Aquariums for Animal Encounters with Kids

Treat your kids to a real animal adventure at one of New Jersey's amazing zoos, aquariums, and animal preserves. At these day trip–worthy spots, little animal lovers can meet their favorite furry friend, check out exotic wildlife from other continents, or swim with the sharks (yes, really!). We've rounded up the best places in the Garden State for New Jersey kids to have an up-close-and-personal encounter with animals of every kind. 

70 Things To Do with Kids at the Jersey Shore

There's nothing better than lazy, relaxing summer days at the beaches of the Jersey Shore with its miles of sandy coastline. Of course, at some point the kids are going to want to get up and do and see something, right?

If you're looking for ways to keep the kids entertained during a vacation at the shore this summer, this list of 70 family-friendly activities for toddlers to teens all up and down the New Jersey coast should hit the spot. We've even included a number of FREE things to do.

For more fun down the shore, check out our Jersey Shore Guide, which includes information on amusement parks and water parks, top beaches, best boardwalks, and more.

Quirky Christmas: Some NJ Holiday Events You May Not Have Heard Of

We all have our favorite holiday traditions, whether it's viewing annual light displays, cutting down a Christmas tree, or having breakfast with Santa. All good stuff, to be sure. But if you're thinking you might like to mix up your holiday adventures a bit, check out some of these, shall we say, "off the beaten path" ideas. We've got activities that will take you on a boat, to an alpaca farm, and even back in time. Because sometimes parents need to throw something new into the mix to keep kids on their toes. And who knows? One of them might become a new favorite. For even more ways to celebrate the season, check out the December GoList and our Holiday Guide.

Me Too! 10 NJ Outings to Appeal to Siblings of Different Ages

The wants and needs of toddlers versus teens couldn’t be more different. One is begging for toy cars while the other is eyeing up the keys to your SUV. When it comes to spending quality family time together, everyone can agree that day trips must be fun for siblings of all ages. Luckily, New Jersey has several destinations on the docket that will have your whole family cheering for more.

10 Fun Ice Cream Joints in New Jersey

What is it about summer that makes even the most uptight parent want to bend the rules a bit? Like healthy dinner rules? How about ice cream for dinner? Go ahead....we won't tell. As temperatures sore to sweltering heights, and we look for new ways to cool down, ice cream has become a must-have. And as luck would have it, our state has some delicious ice cream joints!

Whether you’re looking to dazzle your taste buds with a quirky flavor or go for an old-fashioned milkshake, we've rounded up a list of amazing ice cream shops that will have New Jersey kids and parents celebrating all that is summer.

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."

Independent Toy Stores in New Jersey

I’ll be the first to admit that big box toy retailers have their place. When my daughter wants something generic like a Dora Play Kitchen, or I get very strict instructions from our 4 year old nephew about which Transformer action figure he wants for his birthday, I can honestly say there’s no better place to shop. But amid the fluorescent lights and impersonal service, there’s a part of me that finds mega toy warehouses just a wee bit depressing. There’s something so old-school and refreshing about walking into a small “mom & pop” toy shop to browse unique gifts and – imagine this - actually receiving genuine help from the staff.

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