Jersey City

Top 12 Indoor Play Spaces for Kids Across New Jersey

Looking for an indoor play space that makes your jaw drop and your kids jump for joy? We've rounded up a dozen of the biggest and best spots for playing, jumping, bouncing, climbing, and thrill-seeking throughout New Jersey. 

The Garden State is home to tons of awesome play spaces, and it was tough choosing just 12. We limited our list to those with major wow factor—places where you can tackle a Ninja Warrior–style obstacle course, play laser tag, climb on and through play mazes, bounce on inflatables and trampolines, play arcade games, scale rock walls, and even go roller skating or bowling. While most of these spots aren't specifically geared toward the smaller set, all have areas and/or times set aside just for them. 

Read on to find out which fun zones made the cut. And for even more options, check out our guide to indoor play spaces, where you'll find drop-in play for $15 or less, the best trampoline parks and bounce houses in NJ, and much more. 

Top Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks in New Jersey

Looking for an outdoor winter activity for the whole family? There are a number of outdoor ice skating rinks in NJ where you can take a skating lesson, play hockey, or just grab a hot chocolate and go for a spin during a public session. Of course, if you feel like staying indoors, you can always check out our list of the Best Indoor Ice Skating Rinks in NJ. And for more wintry sports, try our Ski & Snow Guide.

16 Stores That Offer Free and Cheap Classes for NJ Kids

Extracurricular activities create enriching experiences for kids, but they can also take a toll on your wallet. While kids are encouraged to explore their passions, the price tag on sports teams, dance classes, and art lessons can be overwhelming.

The good news is that stores throughout the state offer free—and nearly free—classes that allow you to save money while developing your family’s interests. These low- or no-cost classes, crafts, storytimes, and other activities are great ways to fill in schedule gaps without busting your budget.

Many stores have various locations, so be sure to check the websites for local schedules.

Sherlock Exhibit Solves the Most Confounding Mystery of Them All

Calling all sleuths! There’s a mystery brewing in Jersey City, and Liberty Science Center needs your help to solve it. At The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes, the latest exhibit at the favorite New Jersey science spot, children and adults hunt for clues in a beautifully detailed exhibit that teaches the science behind detective work and puts it to the test to solve an elaborate murder mystery.

Hunt for clues on the streets of Victorian London, learn about poisonous plants, forensics, send Morse code messages, and then, detective notebook in hand, document your deductions by embossing, stamping, rubbing, and punching holes in paper. Finally, puzzle out what the all evidence means to solve the mystery.

This highly interactive and educational exhibit solves the one mystery families are always looking to crack: where to spend a great day that the whole family will enjoy. And we’re here to clue you in on what to expect, who it’s best for, and what you need to know before you go.

Kids Can Be the Doc (McStuffins) at Liberty Science Center

The Doc is in the house! Well, at Liberty Science Center, that is. Doc McStuffins: The Exhibit is a real-life replica of Doc’s backyard clinic where she uses her magical stethoscope to fix hurt toys. Visitors to the exhibit, inspired by the Peabody Award-winning television series, are transported to the hospital where they can help Doc McStuffins and her friends take care of all kinds of dolls, gadgets, and stuffed animals.

My 5-year-old superfan was so excited to attend the exhibit’s recent grand opening that she wore a lab coat from last year’s Halloween costume. But don’t worry, there are plenty of white coats and stethoscopes to go around at LSC so that your kiddo can help care for toy patients like a pro. Feel free to bring your own “hurt” stuffed animal from home, too.

Read on for our tour of the highly-interactive Doc McStuffins' toy hospital where young doctors-in-training can perform check-ups and diagnose toy patients, while learning about healthy habits, compassion, and nurturing care.

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. 

Arthur’s World: Have a “Wonderful Kind of Day” at the New Liberty Science Center Exhibit

It had probably been more than 20 years since I’d visited Liberty Science Center (oof, Mommy’s getting old...), but when I found out that my favorite former field trip destination was getting a visit from some of my most fondly-remembered PBS pals this summer, I knew I had to bring my baby boy over. I packed up my husband — an LSC-lover in his own right — and our one-year-old, and we journeyed to Jersey City to check out the new Arthur’s™ World exhibit at Liberty Science Center. We had a beyond “wonderful kind of day.”

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