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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.

Best Shaded Playgrounds To Keep NJ Kids Cool

During cold winter days, I fantasize about picnics and lazy afternoons at the pool. But once summer temperatures soar into the 90s, a teeny part of me is starting to look forward to that first crisp fall breeze. Sigh. Instead of schlepping to the air-conditioned mall again, how about a shaded playground outing where the kids can burn some energy (and not their skin!), and the adults can relax on a bench without breaking a sweat?

Read on to get the scoop on where NJ kids and parents can go to beat the heat. And find more awesome places to play in our Guide to Playgrounds and Parks in NJ

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.”

Best July Fairs and Festivals for New Jersey Families

Fairs and festivals and feasts, what fun! It’s nonstop action in NJ this month—read on for our recommendations and choose your favorites. With everything from state and county fairs to music and food festivals—and of course, awesome July 4th celebrations—there’s something happening almost every day in July. Mark your calendar now, and have a blast all month long.

And for more warm-weather action, visit our Summer Fun Guide.

Best July 4th Fireworks for NJ Families from Jersey City to the Shore

From small town celebrations to waterfront extravaganzas, we've got the scoop on NJ's best options for family-friendly fireworks shows on July 4th. You can cheer on the red, white, and blue in Atlantic City, which hosts one of the country's biggest celebrations; spread out a beach blanket and enjoy a display down the shore; take in the fireworks extravaganza at the New Jersey State Fair; or choose from more than a dozen other great shows happening throughout the state. 

In addition to fireworks, these July 4th celebrations include lots of other fun activities, such as parades, a Revolutionary War encampment, live music, and even a canoe race. Read on for more than a dozen picks. 

For even more holiday-weekend fun, be sure to check out our Summer Fun Guide.

Day and Sleepaway Camps with Availability for NJ Kids

Summer vacation may be staring you in the face, but there's no need to panic—several camps in and around New Jersey still have space. As of this publish date, all of the camps listed below are actually open for enrollment.

Whether you're looking for a day camp for your preschooler or a sleepaway camp for your tween, you'll find it here! Sign up for the whole summer, or just one week, depending on the camp and your needs. (After all, you might want to leave time to try some of our 100 things to do with kids in New Jersey before they grow up.)

You can find even more camps in our NJ Summer Camp Guide, or in our NJ Summer Camp Directory.

Fun Family-Friendly Bike Rides in New Jersey

Riding a bike is more than a childhood milestone. It develops a sense of balance, strengthens muscles, fosters an appreciation of the outdoors, and makes for wonderful family bonding time. Luckily for NJ families, there are tons of family-friendly bike trails throughout the state, from the Kittatinny Mountains to the Jersey Shore

Read on for 15 of our favorite spots for a family-friendly ride. If you prefer to travel on foot, check out a dozen easy hikes in NJ for families with small children.

Father's Day in New Jersey: 25+ Fun Ways To Celebrate Dad with Kids

Father's Day can be more than golfing and barbecues this year, with such a great variety of family-friendly activities happening across the state. Whether Dad prefers baseball or fishing, airplanes or amusement parks, our list of Father's Day happenings has something for everyone. Read on for our top picks for celebrating Dad this June. 

For more ways to have fun with fathers throughout the month, check out our playground guide, roundup of family festivals, and Event Calendar. And if Dad really has his heart set on golfing, there's always (mini) golf! 

10 Fun Things To Do with Kids at Warinanco Park in NJ

I have fond childhood memories of my dad lacing up my ice skates and guiding me around the rink at Warinanco Park on the border of Roselle and Elizabeth, New Jersey. Much has changed about this Union County park since that time, but what remains constant is that families have tons of ways to have a great time at this 205-acre park—including sports classes, skating, trails, and paddle boats

Read on for 10 fun things to do at Warinanco Park with kids. And don't miss our Guide to NJ Playgrounds and Parks for even more options.

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