Passaic

Great NJ Gardens and Lush Arboretums To Explore with Kids

New Jersey is teeming with amazing outdoor places to take active kids—everything from nature centers to Jersey Shore lighthouses offer a multitude of fun events for little ones. But our beautiful state arboretums and gardens are often overlooked. These fabulous green spaces offer a great opportunity for children to see nature up close. Many locations also host educational and engaging programs, featuring activities such as gardening, hiking, and scavenger hunts.

As spring shifts into high gear, gather the kids and head to these beautiful local gardens. We're not known as the Garden State for nothing!

Dave & Buster's Opens Its Second NJ Location in Wayne

Parents looking for a way to beat the mid-winter blues have a new alternative: Dave & Buster's, the family-friendly arcade and sports bar-style restaurant, is celebrating the opening of its second New Jersey location today, February 14! (Family Valentine's Day outing, anyone?) 

Providing a fun-filled experience for all ages, this gamer's paradise is located in Wayne's Willowbrook Mall, which recently underwent a multi-million dollar facelift. 

A Dozen New Party Spots to Celebrate Kids' Birthdays in New Jersey

New year, new birthday party to plan! And luckily for Garden State parents, there are new party places popping up every day. From just-teed-up trampoline parks to Brooklyn-transplant ice cream parlors, these new-to-Jersey hot spots have more than enough hype to meet your little ones’ birthday riders. Check out some of the newbies below—and if you need more inspiration, brush up on our list of the best places for kids to party in NJ. The old standbys never fail to make them smile!

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.

Captive with Clues: Family-Friendly Escape Rooms in NJ

Sometimes 15 minutes alone in the car with kids can seem like an hour, especially when they’re in the back seat fighting or asking “are we there yet?” So why would a parent choose to lock themselves in a tiny room with their children? Well, to figure out how to escape, of course.

Escape rooms are the latest entertainment craze for those brave enough, clever enough, and not too claustrophobic to take on the challenge. Up to 10 participants get “locked” in a thematic room with a compelling story line such as finding your way off an island, out of a mysterious location, or escaping before falling victim to a terrible curse. The group has up to an hour to find and solve clues hidden literally anywhere in the room and free themselves. Clues can be as simple as a color or a number; they can be in code; they can be subtly hidden in a picture or painting, on a piece of paper, in a decorative item in the room. A Game Master monitors all the action on video screen and is available to offer help upon request.

Read on for our our list of family-friendly escape rooms in NJ!

Outdoor Fitness with Babies and Toddlers in Northern New Jersey

We want to spend as much time as possible with our kids. They grow up so fast; we don’t want to miss a thing. Sometimes that means sacrificing the gym for time with our little munchkins. However, since we all still need to burn those extra calories before our skinny jeans become a distant memory, here are some ways get your heart pumping without losing out on those precious moments.  

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Kids in NJ

May is right around the corner, so don your sombrero, dust off that marimba and head out for some Cinco de Mayo family fun! There’s music to dance to, food and drink to consume, monarch butterfly celebrations and more. With all this activity, your kids may enjoy a relaxing siesta while you mix up that margarita you so richly deserve. For even more seasonal fun, check out our list of 25 things we can't wait to do with kids this spring in NJ.

Peanut-Free and Nut-Free Bakeries in Northern New Jersey

New Jersey is home to some of the best bakeries in the country. There's nothing like stepping into your local bake shop and picking up a few freshly made cupcakes and cookies. Unfortunately, families with nut allergies have to be extra careful about where they buy their treats. If you or your kids have a nut allergy, don't despair. The Garden State is home to several fantastic peanut-free and nut-free bakeries. The following North Jersey shops carry everything to satisfy your family's sweet tooth, from specialty cakes to scones and pies. For even more nut-free bakeries, check out our post on Nut, Gluten and Dairy Free Bakeries in New York City.

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."

Makerspaces for New Jersey Kids

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is not only a huge buzzword in education, but also with parents hoping to raise the next Steve Jobs. The term STEM has been around since 2003, but lately there's been a greater focus on education integration at an early age. Makerspaces are locations that foster the notions of STEM, where children and adults can build things, take risks, celebrate successes and failures, collaborate and most of all, have fun! Check out these great Makerspace locations. From 3D printers to sewing machines and software, each of these destinations is stocked with high-tech equipment that will help you and your kids turn ideas into reality. 

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