Morris

The Village Play Cafe: Fun for Littles and Fuel for Moms and Dads

It takes a village, right? It’s something I believe so strongly ever since my son was born last year—so I feel like I stumbled upon my soulmates when I found out about The Village Play Cafe in Chatham. Just opened in July, this indoor play space is truly the hautest hive for mamas and their baby bees (ages 1–5) to come for the day to work, play, and leave feeling energized and excited to take on the rest of the week. At least that’s how I felt when I walked out of their doors earlier this week.

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.  

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

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—plus one across the Delaware in Pennsylvania.

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.

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.

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.

Brookhollow’s Barnyard: A Sweet NJ Petting Zoo with the Cutest Animals

I’ve lived in New Jersey my entire life—30 years—and I’m devastated that it’s taken me so long to learn about Brookhollow’s Barnyard, a sweet petting farm that is Boonton's best kept secret. The family-run farm not only entertained my own baby animal, but it kept my husband and me smiling for hours (on one of the most humid mornings of the summer, yet!).

If you’re antsy to zip away from your own zany zoo at home, and have a few hours to kill on an upcoming weekend, you have to check this place out. And check out our guide to NJ farms for even more family-friendly fun, from pick-your-own fruit to top "agritainment" centers.

18 Top Pick-Your-Own Peach Farms in New Jersey

There’s nothing that screams summer more than a warm-off-the-tree peach, with the sweet juices dripping down your chin. With farms a-plenty and peaches ripe for the picking, choose your spot from the list below, grab your baskets and babes, and head to one of these u-pick farms

The peach-picking season in the Garden State really gets going in mid-July and carries on through August and early September at some farms. Before you go, call ahead or check the farm’s Facebook page to make sure crops are still plentiful and what, specifically, is available on any given day. (You might also be able to pick blueberries, which are available at many farms through July.)

Read on to find out where the juiciest fruit can be found.

Pick-Your-Own Blueberries and More NJ Berry Farms for Families

Blueberry picking is a perfect summer activity for the whole family: the bushes are low, the berries pop off the plants easily, and your family can literally pick hundreds without breaking the bank—or your back hauling them home. Lucky for us, blueberries are the official state fruit of New Jersey, and they are plentiful throughout the Garden State. We’ve assembled a list of some of the best pick-your-own farms NJ has to offer for kids, along with a few blueberry festivals. Happy picking!

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