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12 NJ Play Cafes with Fun for Kids and Perks for Parents

Once you become a parent, it’s all about the kids. That’s what "they" always say, right? Well, for the most part, that’s absolutely true—but, every once in a while, parents get a pass for fun (or at the very least, some time to fuel up for the rest of the day), too. The founders of some of our most-loved New Jersey indoor play spaces certainly seem to think so, and we couldn’t be more appreciative of the parental perks they’ve been brewing up!

From free Wi-Fi to seating that’s both comfortable and functional; and coffee that rivals cups from your favorite java joint to snacks and sips that go way beyond basic vending machine munchies; these premiere places put in the work to earn their stripes in the play cafe category—and have even become day trip–worthy in their own right.

Read on for 11 of the best spots catering to kids and their caretakers. At the end of the day, if the little ones love it, it’s well worth the cost of admission; if mom and dad get something out of it, too, then that’s grounds for repeat returns.

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. 

35+ Indoor Play Spaces for Kids in Northern NJ

Neither flurries nor rain, nor heat nor cold should keep New Jersey children from enjoying a day of play—especially when there are so many awesome indoor play spaces in Northern Jersey. From toddler play dates to teen outings, we've compiled a list of the best indoor playgrounds in Northern New Jersey where kids can drop in for play. No memberships needed! 

If you're looking for sites that are a bit farther south, check out this listing of Central Jersey play spaces.

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.

Basketball Exhibit at Yogi Berra Museum Is a Slam "Dunk" for NJ Kids

What do you get when you mix basketball and baseball? A new exhibit called Dunk! at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls.

The exhibit, on loan from Science and Arts Engagement New York, will be up through June 1, 2019. This hoops-focused installation combines memorabilia and interactive stations that kids can delve into. 

Located just north of Montclair on the campus of Montclair State University, the museum is a quick and easy day trip destination for sports-loving kids and families in NJ. Read on for more about its newest attraction.

Top Snow Tubing Spots for New Jersey Families

When it comes to winter activities, snow tubing is one of our favorites. Of course, we love ice skating and all manner of frosty sports, but snow tubing is something the whole family can enjoy—regardless of skill. No experience is necessary, and you can tube alone or in groups. In fact, tubing is a lot like sledding, but a whole lot easier. You can barrel down the snowy slope at thrilling speeds without having to hike back up the hill. It’s done for you! Now that's the kind of winter sport we can get behind.

Where To Celebrate New Year’s Eve with Kids in New Jersey

New Year’s Eve is one of those holidays that changes drastically once you become a parent. Any kind of grown-up fun usually involves weeks of planning. Who can babysit? How much do we pay on New Year’s Eve? Do we let the tweens stay up until we get home? Unless you truly need an adult night out (in which case, GO for it!), how about a happy compromise? Read on to get the scoop on events in NJ for families who want to ring in the New Year together, including parties at an indoor amusement park, an aquarium, and even a battleship. Just be sure to reserve your spot soon!

Looking for pre–New Year entertainment? We rounded up 25 great things to do this holiday break, plus even more fun events happening this week for the kids. Be sure to check our Event Calendar for more.

Woodland Indoor Playground Is a Treasure for NJ Tots (and Moms)

Woodland Indoor Playground, the brand-new play space in Cedar Grove, looks like my fantasy of a child's play room—the one I envisioned before I had kids, and plastic toys with blinking lights and annoying sounds took over my house. Quite unlike my living room, Woodland is a clean, modern, Scandanavian-inspired space stocked with beautiful wooden toys that promote imaginative, sensory play—including a farmer's market food truck, chicken coop, playhouse with slides, sensory sandbox, train table, building blocks, and lots more.

This charming spot, founded by two Montclair moms and geared toward ages 0–5, opened on December 12—perfect timing for a new play space where cooped-up tots can drop in and burn some energy on a winter day. And Woodland is more than just a pretty space—all of the toys and materials are eco-friendly and non-toxic, and a portion of each entry fee supports the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. (Also, there's coffee, and it's good!)

Where To Enjoy High Tea in New Jersey with Kids

If your little sweetie loves the finer things in life—and has the patience to make it through a sit-down meal—he or she may be ready to enjoy an afternoon at one of NJ's many local tea rooms. From the fine china and finger sandwiches to the tempting sweets, your little one will be enchanted during this special one-on-one mommy time. Many host sweet birthday parties, and several offer special holiday events.

New Indoor Playground Offers Eco-Friendly Fun for Little Ones

Just in time for those cooped-up, cold winter months, a new imaginative, eco-friendly play space has arrived in NJ: Woodland Indoor Playground in Cedar Grove, a Scandinavian-inspired play space created by Montclair mom-preneurs Julija Stoliarova and Marina Miller. Woodland will offer fun for kids and families while giving back to the community via a partnership with the Community Food Bank of NJ.   

The play space is open for business as of today, Wednesday, December 12.

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