New Jersey

30 Things To Do on February Break with NJ School Kids

With December's winter break a distant memory, it's time to start planning for the next one! This year, Presidents' Day falls on Monday, February 18—and depending on the district, NJ schoolchildren will have a three- or four-day weekend, making it the perfect time for a family outing or day trip, or two. 

Looking for indoor fun or outdoor activities like skiing, ice skating, or snow tubing? We've got you covered. To plan a family adventure, check out our best bets for winter day trips, and don't miss our February GoList, FREE February fun, and Events Calendar for even more suggestions. 

Read on for our roundup of the best February break activities for kids of all ages.

Mall of America's Most Amazing Attractions for Kids of All Ages

Mall of America, located in the heart of the American Midwest in Bloomington, Minnesota, is nothing short of an indoor entertainment epicenter for kids. Sure, it has over 500 stores, but there’s way more to do than just go shopping at the country's largest mall (so big that it requires its own zip code: 55425).

From Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower to the Harley Davidson museum in Milwaukee, the Midwest is full of fun, interesting, and educational things that kids and their parents will love. Mall of America might possess a more commercial feel than some of the area's other travel destinations, but it also likely offers the most entertainment per square foot (5.4 million square feet to be exact) with some of the most popular kids' characters and brands on hand, including Lego, Nickelodeon, American Girl, and Paw Patrol. There's an indoor amusement park, aquarium, arcade, mini golf, and so much more, all within just a few minutes of the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.

Read on to check out our list of the top 25 amazing things that kids of all ages can do at Mall of America.

Summer Camps for New Jersey Preschoolers

Before they grow up and want to go to sleepaway camp with their BFFs, preschoolers can get a taste of summer camp in a program created just for them. New Jersey is home to some wonderful day camps for the under-5 crowd, and we've rounded up more than a dozen of our favorites. In addition to low camper-counselor ratios, these programs offer developmentally appropriate fun for every interest, whether you want your little one to experience the great outdoors, bounce and tumble at a cool indoor spot, or delve into subjects like robotics, film, and fashion. 

To learn about more New Jersey summer camp options, check out our Camp Guide and Full Directory of Listings.

25 Free Events in February for New Jersey Kids

February is the month of love, and you’ll love all the FREE events our calendar has to offer! It's a month full of celebrations, with a Valentine’s Day craft at New Jersey State Museum, a Chinese New Year party at HudsonWay Immersion School, and a birthday bash for Elmo at Barnes & Noble. Get in all-around party-mode at State Theatre's Family Day and Westfield's Free Kids Expo.

Plus, stay cozy indoors at no-cost storytimes, held at unique locations like Tulpehaking Nature Center, Indigo, Hoboken Fire Department Museum, and the Lovin’ Oven.

Read on for this month's picks, and for more free and low-cost fun, check out our list of Free Indoor Play Spots for NJ Kids, and our Event Calendar.

Free Admission for Kids at 50 of NJ's Biggest Family Attractions

NJ is home to many wonderful places for kids—the state’s museums, zoos, farms, and lighthouses are all great venues for family outings. The only downside? Visiting all these attractions can get pricey, especially if there are multiple kids in your family. The good news is that many of these destinations offer free admission for kids under certain ages, and we've rounded up 50 of them here.

Keep this post handy, and make sure to strategically plan your visit before your child's next birthday!

Free STEM Summer Camp from Girls Who Code Opens Registration

Looking for more than mindless hanging out and screentime for your teenage daughter this summer? Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that aims to increase the number of women in computer science fields, is once again offering its FREE summer immersion program for girls entering their junior or senior year of high school. The 7-week STEM summer camp offering FREE coding lessons and more crucial skills will take place in select cities across the country, including the NYC metro area, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, and Chicago.

Keep reading to find out who is eligible, how to apply, and when and where the program is happening in summer 2019. Hurry, because the early application period for this FREE summer program is already open!

Weekend Fun: Cinderella, Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year

How much longer will this winter weather last? Find out when Watershed Wally the Woodchuck hosts a Groundhog Day Celebration on this first weekend of February. Before counting down to the end of the season, check out the great roster of winter activities happening Saturday and Sunday. 

Honor the upcoming Year of the Pig at Chinese New Year Family Day and Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company Celebrates The Year of the Pig. Bundle up for outdoor adventures at Wassailing the Apple Trees, A Winter's Day on the Farm, and Junior Naturalists: Birds at My Feeder. Or stay indoors and enjoy performances of Johnny Peers and the Muttville Comix and Cinderella and Jack & The Beanstalk.

Find even more weekend options in our Winter Guide, including 40+ Events This Winter for New Jersey Preschoolers. And look to our February GoList and event calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

The Best Museums for Kids in Northern New Jersey

When bad weather hits, a trip to a museum can be a great cure for cabin fever. With winter in full force, it's time to check out a few local gems that offer kids hands-on art and science exploration. At these northern New Jersey museums, kids can study the stars at a planetarium, learn about dinosaurs that once roamed New Jersey, create their own works of art, meet animals, make music, and much more. They're guaranteed to learn something—and get nice and tired in the process.

Read on for our favorite spots in northern New Jersey, and be sure to check out our roundup of museums in central and southern NJ, too.

February GoList: The Best Things To Do With NJ Kids This Month

There's so much to love about February! There's Valentine's Day, of course, as well as the Chinese New Year, President's Day (this month marks George Washington's 287th!), and Black History Month

Got a sweet tooth? Check out Morris Museum's Chocolate Family Day, or go maple sugaring at one of several spots around the state. You can revel in family-friendly festivals at State Theatre and Westfield YMCA  then head to the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum for the annual Lunar New Year and Welcome Spring Celebration.

There are tons of kid-friendly performances this month, including staged versions of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, Darci Lynne & Friends: Fresh Out of the Box, and Junie B Jones. And there are plenty of ways to celebrate Valentine's Day, including Family Date Night at Jenkinson's and a My Little Man and Me party at Liberty Hall Museum.

For a full list of happenings, don't forget to check out our Event Calendar. Happy February, NJ!

Stay on a Houseboat in Amsterdam for a Total Family Vacation Win

Amsterdam is a wonderful city to visit on a European family vacation. The city is kid friendly with lots of fun things to do for families, including wonderful parks, engaging museums, and many delicious restaurants to try. It's also relatively easy to navigate with children in tow.

The city is full of canals, which is another plus for kids as they often love to watch the boats or even take a ride. One of the most special (and affordable) ways to visit Amsterdam is to stay on an actual houseboat instead of in a hotel. 

When you visit Amsterdam, you can’t help but notice these charming houseboats lining the canals and Amstel River. They look so cozy, and many even have gardens growing around them. Our family stayed on a houseboat in Amsterdam for a long weekend and found it to be a comfortable and fun way to visit the city with children.

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