New Jersey

Best Science Museums for Kids in New Jersey and Beyond

With STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) at the forefront of most school curriculums, it makes sense to get kids engaged and excited about these subjects from an early age. Fortunately, the Garden State is home to many museums and science centers where fun and learning collide. 

From mind-blowing minerals to awe-inspiring archeology and astronomy exhibits, with plenty of hands-on learning opportunities for all ages, these destinations are as entertaining as they are educational. Read on for a dozen of our favorite spots in and near NJ.

Kids Free October in San Diego: Deals at the Zoo, Legoland, Seaworld, and More

The lazy days of summer may be over, but that's no reason to trade adventurous family outings for a never-ending cycle of school drop-offs, pick-ups, and algebra homework. Instead, pack up and head for San Diego during San Diego Tourism Authority's annual Kids Free promotion.

The citywide campaign kicks off October 1, enticing families to visit San Diego's big-ticket attractions like Legoland, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Wildlife Park, and Seaworld. Children can eat, stay, and play for free at more than 100 participating hotels, restaurants, museums, and parks until October 31.

We've selected 10 offers that we think are particularly good deals; put two or three together, and you've definitely got savings worth traveling for. Scroll down for a link to all 100+ free opportunities for kids in October.

Top Pumpkin Patches and Picking for New Jersey Families

Nothing says fall (or Halloween) quite like a pumpkin. When these festive gourds start appearing on front stoops and in windows across New Jersey, you know autumn really has arrived. This year, skip the grocery store pumpkins and take a day trip to one of NJ's excellent pumpkin patches, where you're sure to run into more fall fun, including barnyard animals, hay and corn mazes, and even the season's other favorite fruit: apples

Red on for more than a dozen spots where you'll be sure to find the perfect pumpkin.

Closer to the New York border? Check out these Westchester and Hudson Valley pumpkin patches. If you're in south Jersey or headed for a Bucks County getaway this fall, our Philadelphia site has the scoop on Pennsylvania pumpkin patches.

Indoor Obstacle Courses, Ninja Warrior Training, and Aerial Arts for NJ Kids

Got kids who are obsessed with American Ninja Warrior and want the thrill of climbing warped walls? Or junior acrobats hoping to twirl in the air like circus performers in The Greatest Showman? Well, they're in luck, because New Jersey is home to many indoor ninja-style obstacle courses and gyms with aerial arts training where your little acrobats and ninjas can practice the stunts and tricks they have seen on TV and under the big top.

These indoor adventures will get your kids climbing, vaulting, swinging, and balancing. From ropes courses and rock walls to trapeze swings and even plate-spinning, these New Jersey facilities will keep your adventure-seekers moving right through the winter. Many offer birthday party packages and group rates too. 

Find more active spots for NJ kids in our Kids' Sports Centers Guide and Indoor Play Spaces Guide

Weekend Fun: Harvest Fairs, Oktoberfest, Children's Book Festival

With a roster full of harvest festivals, apple picking, and corn mazes, it's beginning to look a lot like fall on this first official weekend of the season. Take in everything autumn has to offer at seasonal festivals like Morey's Piers' Annual Oktoberfest, Wildwood Crest's Annual Seafarers Celebration, and harvest festivals in Hopewell and Allaire. Experience the flavors of fall at Warinanco's Taste of Fall and Tenafly's Apple Cider Making.

The new season also brings fresh museum events. Explore New Jersey State Museum's Smithsonian's Museum Day Live, Morris Museum's Chemistry Day, and Montclair Art Museum's Drop-In Studio. The Princeton Children's Book Festival offers another option for indoor, educational fun.

Check out our Fall Fun Guide for NJ Kids for more options for family fun, including 20 Fall Day Trips and 50+ Fall Events for NJ Preschoolers. And look to our September GoList and event calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Interactive “Crash, Splash, or Moo!” Invites Young Readers to Play Along

My daughter and I have read Bob Shea’s brand new Crash, Splash, or Moo! so many times now that I’m pretty sure I could transcribe it here from memory. But instead of giving away the much-anticipated outcomes of the interactive book that plays out like a totally wacky quiz show, I’ll tell you why it’s quickly become “The Song that Never Ends” delivered in book form to our household.

The Best New Jersey Party Places for Your Kids' Birthday Bash

Call off the online search! Close out the spreadsheet! We've rounded up some of the best New Jersey birthday venues for kids and teens so that you can spend more time celebrating you kiddo and less time frantically party planning from your iPhone. From awesome indoor amusement parks and fun-filled playspaces, to STEMtastic activities, cookie baking, and real-life escape rooms, there's something for birthday girls and boys of all ages.

Looking for even more ideas? Head over to the New Jersey Party Guide, or browse our directory for party places, entertainers, and even party supplies.

Harvest Festivals, Hayrides, and Fall Fair Fun in New Jersey

The air is crisp, the apples are ripe, and fall fair and harvest festival season is about to get underway! We've rounded up 26 great harvest fests in New Jersey, all packed with signature autumn activities like hayrides, corn mazes, pumpkin decorating (and picking), pie contests, scarecrow making, live animals, live music, and more. Some even incorporate a little early Halloween fun.

Read on to find an event near you, including the Great Pumpkin Festival, the Blackwood Pumpkin Festival, and more.

For more seasonal activities around the Garden State, be sure to check out our Fall Fun Guide and our list of 40 Things We Can't Wait To Do with NJ Kids This Fall

Best Kid-Friendly Hotels for a Los Angeles Family Vacation

Finding bliss and relaxation on vacation is so much easier when the kiddos are happy. Whether you're visiting Los Angeles, housing out-of-town guests, or indulging in a staycation (though we can recommend some kid-friendly hotels all around the world), why not choose a hotel that caters to the smallest guests? These LA resorts offer a little slice of paradise, family-friendly amenities, and unique experiences that might make you want to ditch that faraway destination and spend the weekend in SoCal. The best part is watching the kids have a blast, too.

Cool Pumpkin Displays, Festivals, and Decorating Events in NJ

Are your kids already preparing for Halloween, with visions of candy, costumes, and pumpkins dancing in their heads? Kick off the festive fall season at one of the many wonderful pumpkin-themed events happening around NJ, from elaborate pumpkin exhibits and carving competitions to good old-fashioned pumpkin picking and decorating fun.

Read on for our top picks, plus a bonus event that’s worth a drive across the state line. You can find even more even seasonal events in our Fall Fun Guide

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