New Jersey

20+ August Fairs and Festivals for New Jersey Families

When it comes to fairs and festivals, August in New Jersey is like one big party! Flutter over to Pennington for a Butterfly Festival, indulge in sweet summer peaches at Princeton's Just Peachy Festival, or enjoy classic fair fun like carnival rides and games at a county fair. With so many options, the family calendar will be packed all month long.

Read on for our top picks, and find more ways to make the most of August with our Summer Fun Guide.

100 Awesome Kids Crafts for Creative At-Home Fun

Did you know that plastic milk jugs make awesome fairy houses, or that sugar cubes are a fun substitute for Lego bricks? Sometimes we all need a little push to get the creative juices flowing. Here is a mega list of 100 art projects that you can do with your kids in the comfort of your own home. From paper crafts to slime, from STEM activities to boredom busters, this list has something for everyone.

August GoList: Best Things To Do with New Jersey Kids

Make the most of the final full month of summer with awesome August activities. There are tons of fairs and festivals on tap this month, from the Middlesex County Fair to the Canal Day Music & Craft Festival. You can picnic on the lawn at the Princeton University Art Museum, march in a Butterfly and Bug Parade at the annual Watershed Butterfly Festival in Pennington, and hang out with pirates at Seafarers' Weekend at Historic Cold Spring Village

If you haven't made it down the shore yet or are looking for a new beach to visit, check out the Best Jersey Shore Beaches for Families, and find lots of other ways to stay cool and have a blast in our Summer Fun Guide. There's still time to squeeze in a super-fun summer day trip, or a visit to one of NJ's awesome amusement parks and water parks

August is peach-picking season in NJ, so head to one of NJ's pick-your-own peach farms to sample some sweet summer fruit. Give your wallet a break and check out one of NJ's many free summer movies, or take part in lots of other free fun

Read on to find out what we're most looking forward to this month. And don't forget to check our Event Calendar, updated daily with summer happenings across NJ.

Land of Make Believe: A Charming Family-Friendly Amusement Park in NJ

For more than 60 years, Land of Make Believe in Hope, NJ, has entertained and amused families and kids of all ages. Designed as an amusement park where kids and adults can have fun together, there’s literally something for everyone. And the best part is that it’s affordable. The Pay-One-Price policy covers both the amusement park rides and water park, giving you the convenience to move from attraction to attraction without the hassle of endlessly having to reach into your pocket. Parking is also free, and you can even bring your own food and drinks to picnic right inside the park.

Perhaps you visited Land of Make Believe when you were a kid. I know I did. That’s why I was eager to talk a walk down memory lane and introduce my 5-year-old daughter to the thrills and adventures of my own youth. While I found that a lot has changed since then, the essence of this charming amusement park remains.

Read on to experience a bit of this magical-sounding amusement park for yourself.

Where To Rent Paddleboats and Rowboats in New Jersey

Looking for a great summer outing that’ll float the family’s boat? A ride in a paddleboat (sometimes called a pedal boat) or rowboat offers panoramic views of New Jersey's scenic parks and lakes, and an opportunity for family time that may actually be peaceful. 

Paddleboat rentals are available throughout the state. Check the specific paddling locations for any age or weight restrictions, then sit back and enjoy the ride. (And don't forget the sunscreen!)

Feeling more adventurous? Find the best places for tubing and rafting in and around NJ.

Brookhollow’s Barnyard: A Sweet NJ Petting Zoo with the Cutest Animals

I’ve lived in New Jersey my entire life—30 years—and I’m devastated that it’s taken me so long to learn about Brookhollow’s Barnyard, a sweet petting farm that is Boonton's best kept secret. The family-run farm not only entertained my own baby animal, but it kept my husband and me smiling for hours (on one of the most humid mornings of the summer, yet!).

If you’re antsy to zip away from your own zany zoo at home, and have a few hours to kill on an upcoming weekend, you have to check this place out. And check out our guide to NJ farms for even more family-friendly fun, from pick-your-own fruit to top "agritainment" centers.

Weekend Fun: Alpacas, Monmouth County Fair, Festival of Ballooning

July ends on a high note with a sky full of beautiful balloons—don't miss the stunning spectacles at QuickChek Festival of Ballooning and Warren County Farmers' Fair and Hot Air Balloon Festival. You can also find county fairs happening in Monmouth and Gloucester counties.

Rock out to live music on three stages over the weekend at XPoNential Music Festival, and celebrate the past at Historic Cold Spring Village's Hands-On-History Weekend. Plus, catch a free movie or concert in Fort Lee, Belmar, Seaside Heights, or Long Branch

Check out our Summer Fun Guide for NJ Kids for more options for family fun, including 30 Best Things to Do with NJ Tweens and our list of 100+ FREE Things To Do with Kids in NJ This Summer. And look to our event calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

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.

30 Reasons Why New Jersey Is the Best Place To Raise Kids

Anyone who lives in New Jersey knows it’s a great place to grow up. Sure, the taxes can be astronomical—but there are serene sandy beaches and winding wooded trails to explore, the food and culture is first-rate, and all-American small towns with top schools attract young families.

The international nongovernmental group Save the Children recently added one more benefit: in a spring study, it named New Jersey the state most likely to offer a safe, secure, and healthy childhood. 

Whether you’re looking for reasons to move to New Jersey or want to remind yourself why you love it, here is our list of what keeps families happy and healthy in the Garden State.

Why You Might Enjoy a Disney Cruise to Europe As Much As Your Kids

When my husband suggested a Disney cruise as a way to introduce our kids to Europe, I was doubtful. Our girls had yet to take a plane ride, and we were going to tackle the great cities of Rome, Barcelona, Cannes, Genoa, and others with them? Couldn't we just hit a theme park instead? Ultimately, though, I gave in, even as I imagined dragging a reluctant kindergartener through scenic city streets as she begged to watch "DuckTales" instead. 

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