Jersey Shore

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.

New Snapology Play Space To Offer STEM Fun for Central NJ Kids

Getting kids interested in math and science used to be a chore, but play-based programs are reinventing the building blocks of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education.

Snapology of Monmouth County is one business that has been offering mobile STEAM classes to kids in central New Jersey for the past couple years. Now, it is expanding its offerings to include a new Discovery Center, making it the first Snapology location in New Jersey to offer open indoor play. The Center, in Tinton Falls, will also offer classes, camps, birthday parties, and parents' night out events.

The new 2,950-square-foot Discovery Center is scheduled to open Thanksgiving weekend. The fun will kick off on Friday, November 23, with Black Friday drop-and-shop workshops, and a grand opening celebration will take place Saturday and Sunday, November 24-25, from noon to 5pm, with free open play, giveaways, face painting, entertainment, and more.

Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving Dinner in New Jersey

Not feeling up to hosting Thanksgiving this year? Here's something to be thankful for: There are plenty of restaurants open throughout the state on Thanksgiving Day. Having your holiday out means that you can sit back and enjoy the party—and you won't have to wash a single dish.

We've chosen 21 of New Jersey's best spots to enjoy a holiday feast. Call ahead for a reservation, and then use your extra time to plan some fall fun with the family, or try out one of these Thanksgiving crafts. Happy Thanksgiving!

Best Trick-or-Treating Neighborhoods for New Jersey Kids

Halloween is nearly here, and in several New Jersey neighborhoods the locals are thinking, “Bring it on!” These Halloween-obsessed towns deck out their homes every year with fabulous decorations that delight trick-or-treaters big and small. Others turn their streets into festive Halloween block parties.

Where can you join in the fun near your home? We’ve compiled a list of more than 30 towns and neighborhoods that are worth a visit. Those who make the trip can expect lots of treats—not to mention some prime photo ops.

Find more fun in our New Jersey Halloween Guide, including pumpkin patches and the best FREE Halloween events for local kids.

Best Halloween Events for New Jersey Preschoolers

"Trick-or-treat!" Kids of all ages love reciting those magic words in exchange for bags filled with goodies. Walking through the streets and knocking on strangers’ doors late in the evening, however, may not be the best option for toddlers and preschoolers. Luckily, New Jersey offers plenty of opportunities for safe trick-or-treating in controlled environments. From pumpkin farms to amusement parks to community events, you can experience the fun of trick-or-treating without worry at these structured, family-friendly outings.

Read on for 20 fun ways to celebrate the holiday with little ones, and find even more Halloween happenings in our Event Calendar and Halloween Guide.

25+ Fun Things To Do with NJ Kids on Columbus Day

If you're scratching your head to come up with some fun ways to spend Columbus Day with kids who are home from school, look no further. We've pulled together a list of more than two dozen fun family outings that NJ kids are bound to love, from picking pumpkins to visiting sea turtles. You can find many more options in our Fall Fun Guide—and if the weather's looking iffy, check out our Indoor Playspace Guide for a backup plan!

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 26 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 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 40 Things We Can't Wait To Do with NJ Kids This Fall

Amazing Corn Mazes at Family-Friendly 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 13 awesome festivals below, and visit our Events Calendar for more fabulous fall ideas! And sign up for our FREE newsletters to get the best local events and reviews delivered right to your inbox.

Stargazing in NJ: Best Views, Observatories, Astronomy Clubs

If you have a little Galileo on your hands, you're in luck: New Jersey is home to a myriad of majestic outdoor stargazing locations, as well as many public observatories and astronomy clubs for the truly dedicated. With the proper equipment, information, and planning, your family can get an up-close look at planets, star clusters, and the moon. 

Continue your celestial exploration at area planetariums, including those at Liberty Science Center and the Newark Museum

Happy stargazing, NJ!

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