New Jersey

10 Themed Playgrounds in NJ that Take Fun to New Heights

Now that playground season has arrived, it’s time to pack your sunscreen, hats, and bottled water and head to the park. If you’re looking for some new options to captivate your kids, both young and old, choose an outdoor play space with a cool theme to keep them entertained. From a supersized sailing ship to an entire wooden village for tots, these unique playgrounds go beyond the usual swings and slides.

For more ideas, check out our Guide to Playgrounds & Parks in New Jersey.

30 Things To Do in Milwaukee with Kids

John Steinbeck once wrote that Wisconsin is full of surprises, and the state's largest city, Milwaukee, is no exception. With a cosmopolitan feel and midwestern charm, and just an hour and a half drive north of Chicago (plus one of the easiest airports you'll ever travel through), families looking for a new vacation spot should put Milwaukee high on their consideration list the next time they're planning a trip.

Check out our list of 30 fun and interesting things to do with kids in Milwaukee (plus five bonus spots if you're willing to drive a little outside the city). Whether you're looking for the arts or the sciences, a great day outside, soaking up the sun on the shores of Lake Michigan or a fun day in, sampling some of the country's best frozen custard, you'll find something for everyone in the family in Milwaukee.

10 Great Picnic Spots for Families in Northern New Jersey

Picnics are simple pleasures that kids of all ages can enjoy, so grab a blanket and your favorite goodies and head out to one of North Jersey's best spots for family gatherings. From majestic views and wooded trails to tranquil lakes and shady playgrounds, these parkland treasures are worth a visit. Whether you are celebrating a birthday, planning a family reunion, or just heading out for an afternoon of summer fun, New Jersey's parks will not disappoint.

For even more warm-weather activities, check out our spring fun guide, featuring our top picks for family campgrounds and more.

New NJ Play Space Genius Gems Sparkles with STEM Fun for Kids

"Goodness, have you ever seen so many Magna-Tiles?!" a mom exclaimed to her toddler on a recent day at Genius Gems, the brand-new STEM-based play space that opened in Millburn on May 3. It was an incredible sight: thousands of brightly colored magnetic tiles lay strewn about—in kaleidoscopic piles on the floor, in towering formations created by little builders, in geometric patterns on a giant magnetic wall—and the sunlight that poured in through the floor-to-ceiling windows set everything aglow. 

My first thought was that this was an amazing place; my second was, "I'm so glad I don't have to clean up all these tiles." 

Happily, my only job was to hang out in the bright, beautiful space and watch my 3-year-old play, occasionally jumping in to build alongside him. My son was engaged and entertained for a solid two hours, and I was impressed—not only with the clean, modern aesthetic of the place, but with the simple yet ingenius offerings on hand. Between Genius Gems and The Busy Bee, which opened in Millburn in March, Essex County parents now have two great indoor play space options, without having to schlep to Routes 10 or 22.

Echo Lake Park Offers Year-Round Fun for NJ Families

In the midst of New Jersey's Union County's busy highways lies a grassy, spacious retreat known as Echo Lake Park. The sprawling park offers an escape from the bustling surrounding towns and truly provides something for everyone, even the family pet.

At the heart of the park is the scenic Echo Lake, home to activities such as boating, fishing, and ice skating, as well as several peaceful walking paths. Surrounding the lake are green hills, ball fields, playgrounds, a dog park, and a snack bar. Echo Lake hosts a variety of seasonal activities, from sledding to Halloween fun to summer concerts. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or a day of activity, you can get the best of both worlds here.

Mother's Day Weekend Events for New Jersey Kids

Mother Nature and Mom are the big stars of this jam-packed, mid-May weekend. National Public Gardens Day is a great excuse to spend quality time outdoors, surrounded by nature. Events taking place throughout our Garden State include Macculloch Hall's National Public Gardens Day, The Lawrence Nature Center's Mother Nature Festival, Reeves-Reed Arboretum's My Edible Garden, and Deep Cut Gardens Open House & National Public Gardens Day.

Sunday is all about Mom. Enjoy amusements at Morey's Piers' Mother's Day celebration or Mother's Day at Jenkinson's, or chill out at family-friendly winery celebrations at Valenzano Winery, Terhune Orchards, Working Dog Winery, and Alba Vineyard. And don't forget the flowers: celebrate the day among beautiful blooms at events like the Azalea Festival and Mother's Day at Presby Memorial Iris Gardens.

Find more mom-worthy ideas in our list of 25 Things To Do in New Jersey for Mother's Day, and check out our Spring Guide for New Jersey Kids for more options for family fun, including a day trip to Camden Children's Garden. And look to our event calendar and May GoList for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Happy Mother's Day, NJ!

Get Merry and Go Round on Unique Carousels with NJ Kids

With all the crazy thrill rides found in theme parks these days, there’s something simply magical about taking a spin on an old-fashioned carousel. Often one of the first rides a child gets to experience, carousels have a special way of making even the most timid tiny ones crack a smile, and they’re a treat for all ages. New Jersey is home to both traditional and turned-up-a-notch carousels, and you don’t have to trek far to find one. Hop on a carousel at one of the area malls for a year-round shopping distraction, go for a spin in a park or zoo, or catch views of the Atlantic from a Jersey shore carousel on the Boardwalk.

We’ve rounded up 15 of the best and most unique carousels in and around NJ, so pack up your little ponies and give them a whirl.

Bucks County, PA with Kids: 25 Top Things to Do as a Family

New and old collide in the pretty Bucks County, Pennsylvania, countryside where young families can play the day away at Sesame Place and older kids can enjoy Revolutionary War history at Washington Crossing. From real castles to playground castles, ice cream shops to kayaking, Bucks County is a sweet spot for a family weekend getaway. Just north of Philadelphia and less than two hours from NYC, it’s easy to access.

Ready to plan a trip? Read on for our list of 25 must-do places to play and see, as well as eat and stay at in Bucks County. We divided it into four family-friendly mini itineraries. Choose one or get some ideas to mix and match an adventure of your own. Explore popular towns like New Hope and Doylestown.

Pick Your Own Strawberry Farms and Festivals in New Jersey

Nothing screams springtime in the Garden State like getting your hands dirty picking strawberries, and heading to a pick-your-own farm is an outdoor adventure with a sweet reward.

Whether this is your child’s first time at the berry patch or you’re looking to fill pies, jam jars, smoothies, and shortcakes for months to come, you'll want to check out our list of more than 20 farms and festivals around the state, where your sweeties can their hands on bushels full of juicy red berries.

Check out our May GoList and Spring Fun Guide to find more events and activities to enjoy with your kids this season. Happy picking!

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