The Oranges

New Jersey Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free

Who says there’s no such thing as a free meal? Restaurants throughout New Jersey offer free kid meal promotions nearly every night of the week. (Basically, you never have to cook again.) Visit your favorite family-friendly restaurant on a kids-eat-free night, and you won’t have to worry about overspending on kids’ entrees, especially the ones that are barely touched. Check out some of these New Jersey dining spots that feature free kid meals on certain nights of the week. 

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.

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.

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!

Family-Friendly Walkable Towns in New Jersey

Do you ever crave a city scene while living in the suburbs? Like many New Jersey residents, I moved here from Manhattan years ago but still feel that itch for metropolitan perks, like walkability, diversity of restaurants and shops, and an energetic community hub. The good news is, there's no need to leave the state for city amenities. Explore great walkable downtowns right here in New Jersey, where you'll find both chain and independent shops, art museums, unique bookstores, delicious cafes serving up local eats, and more. If you choose to leave the car at home, most of these downtowns are in close proximity to New Jersey Transit trains or buses.

Whether a day trip destination or a quick stop for lunch and shopping, these great walkable downtowns are worth a visit. 

Where To Rent Paddleboats and Rowboats in New Jersey

Looking for a great summer outing that’ll float the family’s boat? A ride in a paddleboat (sometimes called a pedal boat) or rowboat offers panoramic views of New Jersey's scenic parks and lakes, and an opportunity for family time that may actually be peaceful. 

Paddleboat rentals are available throughout the state. Check the specific paddling locations for any age or weight restrictions, then sit back and enjoy the ride. (And don't forget the sunscreen!)

Feeling more adventurous? Find the best places for tubing and rafting in and around NJ.

Turtle Back Zoo: New Animals, Exhibits, and Tons of Nearby Fun

On a cuteness scale of one to 10, penguins rank an 11 in my book. So, after driving to the Turtle Back Zoo one recent rainy morning, my 8- and 10-year-old daughters and I made our first stop at the zoo's newest attraction: the Shores of Africa Penguin Exhibit. Shores of Africa is the latest addition to Turtle Back's African Adventure, where you'll also find Masai giraffes, lions, hyenas, ostrich, and the highly endangered Bontebok antelope.

If you haven't been to the zoo in a while or find the Bronx Zoo to be a bit too much for either your wallet or your children's attention span, Turtle Back is definitely worth the drive to Essex County. Part of the South Mountain Recreation Complex, the zoo offers an extensive array of animals, plus plenty of nearby fun—including a treetop adventure course, mini-golf, an awesome playground, swan-shaped paddle boats, indoor ice skating, and much more. 

Read on for the highlights of our visit.

Get Merry and Go Round on Unique Carousels with NJ Kids

With all the crazy thrill rides found in theme parks these days, there’s something simply magical about taking a spin on an old-fashioned carousel. Often one of the first rides a child gets to experience, carousels have a special way of making even the most timid tiny ones crack a smile, and they’re a treat for all ages. New Jersey is home to both traditional and turned-up-a-notch carousels, and you don’t have to trek far to find one. Hop on a carousel at one of the area malls for a year-round shopping distraction, go for a spin in a park or zoo, or catch views of the Atlantic from a Jersey shore carousel on the Boardwalk.

We’ve rounded up 15 of the best and most unique carousels in and around NJ, so pack up your little ponies and give them a whirl.

Family-Friendly Mother's Day Brunch Spots in Northern New Jersey

Celebrate Mother's Day in style this year with an indulgent family brunch prepared by someone other than mom. Restaurants throughout Northern New Jersey are cooking up some fabulous luncheons full of breakfast delights, salads, carving stations, and desserts. Some of these eateries offer discounts for children, and others are FREE for young kids. Holiday brunches book up quickly though, and many require reservations.

If you're down the shore, explore these wonderful Mother's Day options.

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