New Jersey

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!

Must-See Cherry Blossoms in New Jersey's Branch Brook Park

You don't have to travel to Washington, D.C., to see a stunning display of cherry blossoms this spring. You can enjoy the lush pink blooms right here in New Jersey this month at the 42nd annual Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival, held in Newark's Branch Brook Park from April 7–15.

The event features two festivals-within-the-festival—Essex County Family Day and Bloomfest!—both of which offer plenty of family fun, including performances, bounce houses, a nearby playground, live music, and Japanese cultural demonstrations. It all takes place under the fragrant canopy of the sprawling park's 5,000 cherry blossom trees—the largest collection in the country. 

Read on for an overview of Branch Brook Park and the festival, along with tips for visiting with kids.

Best Spring 2018 Events for New Jersey Toddlers and Preschoolers

Hoping these spring Nor'easters get hopping before Easter arrives? Us too! If your little chickadees are frantic to fly the coop, they'll be chirping with excitement at all the events they can look forward to through the rest of the season. We've rounded up some of the best things to do with your firecrackers under 5 from now through the end of May, and they're sure to put a little spring in all of your steps. From amusement park openings to egg hunts, alfresco festivals to mesmerizing stage performances (many of them sensory-friendly), there's something for everyone in your family to love.  

Read on for our top spring event picks for NJ kids under 5. And be sure to sneak a peek at our Spring Fun Guide to find even more great things to do. 

Weekend Fun: Egg Hunts, Springtime Fest, Storybook Land

It might not feel like it, but spring is officially here. The first weekend of the season is an eggs-traordinary one, with egg hunts and springtime festivities galore. Egg hunts are springing up all over New Jersey, including unique experiences like EGGstravaganZOO at Cape May County Zoo, iPlay America's Sonny the Bunny's Colossal Carrot Adventure and Easter Egg Hunt on the Farm at PAWS Discovery Farm. 

Kiss winter good-bye and get into spring mode at Alstede Farm's Easter and Springtime Family Festival and opening weekend at Storybook Land. If the weekend proves too chilly for outdoor adventures, keep the kids entertained indoors at Building Montclair in Lego at the Montclair Art Museum or Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny at SOPAC.

Check out our Spring Guide for New Jersey Kids for more options for weekend family fun, including 40 Things We Can't Wait to Do This Spring. And look to our event calendar and March GoList for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Spring Break Staycation: 35 Fun Things To Do with New Jersey Kids

Who says you need to get on a plane for spring break? Skip the long airport security lines (or road trip meltdowns) and enjoy a spring break staycation right here in your home state.

Different school districts are closed during different dates, but you can expect roughly 10 days of uninterrupted playtime anywhere between March 29 and April 15. 

Luckily, you don’t have to go far to make the most of your time off. New Jersey is home to museums, playgrounds, zoos, and other fun zones that are just a short drive away. There are also many special events and activities taking place on specific dates within this timeframe to give you and your kids something to look forward to. 

Read on for 35 fun things to do with kids right here on your home turf—no plane ticket required. You can also find great nearby getaways in our Day Trips Guide, and for far-flung destinations, check out our Family Travel Guide

Can You Visit Legoland on a Disney World Orlando Vacation?

Planning a theme park vacation in Orlando, Florida? Disney World and Universal are the common highlights of an Orlando trip, but there are several other tempting theme parks in the area. If your family has Lego lovers—especially if they're between the ages of 2 and 12—Legoland Florida is a great add-on to an Orlando vacation. But with only so much time and a limited budget, the big question is, "Is it possible to go to Legoland and Disney World on one trip to Orlando?"

40 Things We Can't Wait To Do with Kids this Spring in NJ

Spring is on its way! (Or we hope it is.) It's almost time to trade in boots, mittens, and winter coats for fresh air, parks and playgroundsspring getaways, and even New Jersey farm fun. Get outside to take advantage of all of the seasonal fun the Garden State has to offer, including those outdoor Easter egg hunts and Easter Bunny train rides!

Read on for 40 fantastic spring activities to enjoy with your family. Looking for more? Check out our Spring Fun Guide, with new events added throughout the season.

Top New Amusement Parks and Rides Opening This Summer

The summer family vacation season is right around the corner, so it's never too early to start dreaming of your escape. Amusement parks, of course, are always top of mind for the kids come summer, so we've trekked up and down the eastern seaboard (virtually, anyway) to find the coolest new theme park attractions set to open this spring and summer.

There's a brand-new thrill ride at Six Flags New England, a pint-sized coaster at Sesame Place, a whole new Toy Story Land in Orlando, and Thomas Town opens near Pittsburgh with plenty of locomotive fun. Read on for more than a dozen new top attractions we're looking forward to checking out at amusement parks spanning from Massachusetts to Florida this summer.

Best Nature Centers in New Jersey to Visit with Kids

If you’re feeling burned out on indoor play spaces and museums, and longing for spring, try a visit to of New Jersey's awesome nature centers. No need to worry if the weather's still a little iffy—there are plenty throughout the state with programs happening year-round.

We've rounded up 10 nature centers that combine both indoor and outdoor fun for kids of all ages. Spend some time exploring nature and checking out hands-on exhibits and activities that explain our local flora and fauna. Most places on our list are open year-round, except for major holidays.

Birthday Party Spots for NJ Kids with Both Indoor and Outdoor Play

Every fall, I face the same dilemma planning my girls’ birthday party. Do I take advantage of the crisp autumn weather with an outdoor venue? Or do I play it safe with something indoors? Planning a party is stressful enough in any season, without the added anxiety over weather. If an outdoor party is what you have in mind, don’t let Mother Nature put a damper on your child’s special day. From nature centers to water parks, the following party venues offer outdoor party options with indoor alternatives.

For even more ideas for fun in our NJ Kids' Birthday Party Guide.

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