New Jersey

Weekend Fun: NJ Renaissance Faire, Mayfest, Ocean Fun Days

A busy May weekend is a "shore" thing, with oceans of fun taking place Saturday and Sunday. Head to the Jersey Shore for delicious eats at the 33rd Annual New Jersey Seafood Festival, family-friendly nature activities during Ocean Fun Days, and a lively Mayfest in Historic Smithville. 

Whether your brood is into vehicles or fairies and pirates, this something for everyone to enjoy this weekend. Climb aboard all kinds of vehicles at touch-a-truck festivities in Scotch Plains and Westville, and explore aircraft at Open Cockpit Weekends. Have fantasy-filled fun at the 10th Annual Princess and Pirate Festival and The New Jersey Renaissance Faire. And take time to take in performances, including The Illusionists, Laurie Berkner, Roxey Ballet's Cinderella, and a live version of Double Dare

Find even more weekend options in our Spring Guide, including 13 NJ Restaurants with Kid-Friendly Backyards and Outdoor Dining. And look to our May GoList and event calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Best Water Playgrounds and Splash Pads in New Jersey

Who doesn't love running through a sprinkler on a hot and steamy summer day? Bring it to the next level at one of New Jersey's splash pads and spraygrounds, many of which are located in local parks and playgrounds.

We've rounded up some of our favorite water playgrounds around the state, some of which are newly renovated or even brand-new for the 2019 season. (And we’ve even got our splash pad radar at the ready for parks poised to open next summer—like North Bergen’s Paterson Plank Road Park, which just broke ground last month.)

Remember, these are not water parks, so you won't find a ton of bells and whistles—though some do offer interactive features like dumping buckets or whimsical designs like water spouts in the shape of cattails (Van Saun Park); animal fixtures (Bridgeton); or basketball sprayers (Manalapan). But the best part? Most of these splash zones are completely FREE.

Visit our Best NJ Water Parks article to go all in for theme park fun. Or strap on those water shoes, pack the towels, and read on for some of New Jersey's best water playgrounds and spray parks in your neighborhood. 

12 of the Best Outdoor Water Parks in the US

If your kids love the adventure of amusement parks but are looking for a way to cool off this summer, an outdoor water park might be just the ticket for your family. We've searched out some of the nation's best to compile this list of our favorite family-friendly water parks with relaxing pools, splash pads for toddlers, and thrilling water slides and rides for teenagers.

From New England to Orlando to California, there are plenty of water parks from which to choose. At some of these water parks, visitors can ride the ups and downs of a water coaster, slip through a trap door on a drop slide and spin around an oversized funnel slide for maximum thrills. To truly chill, just pick up a tube and float down a lazy river or rent a cabana with poolside dining.

Have your heart set on a water park vacation but don't want to risk the weather? Check out our list of the 10 Best Indoor Water Parks for Kids in the US.

Great Amusement Parks for Preschoolers and Toddlers in New Jersey

Looking for a place to take your little ones for gentle thrills and kid-friendly amusements? We've rounded up 14 NJ amusement parks that are perfect for the younger set. Some, like Storybook Land and Land of Make Believe, are geared exclusively toward small children, while others, like Morey's Piers and Jenkinson's Boardwalk, offer a solid selection of kiddie rides in addition to bigger thrills. 

We've limited our list of amusement parks to those located in New Jersey—to search for more tot-friendly spots in surrounding areas, check out the Best Amusement Parks for Preschoolers in and Near NYC.

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 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.

Family-Friendly Vineyards and Wineries in New Jersey

When planning a family day trip, vineyards and wineries may not be the first destinations that come to mind. Believe it or not, New Jersey is home to relaxing and scenic vineyards that welcome kids, and even pets. These vineyards offer outdoor fun that includes food truck events, music, farm activities, spacious fields, and of course, the Garden State’s homegrown wines.

Not all local vineyards and wineries permit children on the premises, but raise your glass to these seven that do! And be sure to check the policies on children in the tasting areas before you visit.

Mother's Day Weekend Fun for New Jersey Kids

Spend quality time with Mom and Mother Nature on this celebratory second weekend of May. Get up close with New Jersey's natural beauty at National Public Gardens Day, Azalea Festival, and Mother's Day at Mountain Lakes. Plus, enjoy more outdoor time at spring festivals like the Children's Festival in Smithville and the Lake Hopatcong Block Party. Need an indoor break? Productions of Daniel Tiger and Rapunzel take the stage this weekend. 

On Sunday, start your Mother's Day celebrations on a delicious note with brunch in Northern NJ or the shore. Make the day a memorable one, whether you choose to spend it at a theme park like Morey's Piers, a winery, such as Valenzano or Alba, a wine trail at Terhune, or watching races at Monmouth Park

Check out our full listing of Mother's Day events, and find even more weekend options in our Spring Guide, including 10 Destination Playgrounds in NJ. Look to our May GoList and event calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

SeaQuest Aquarium Coming to Woodbridge, NJ This Fall

Calling all marine and wildlife enthusiasts: SeaQuest Woodbridge, a 24,000-square-foot, hands-on global sea life education and entertainment experience, is coming to Woodbridge Center this fall.

Visitors will be able to travel through a variety of realistic environments like rainforests, deserts, caves, coastlines, and oceans to meet stingrays, fish, birds, snakes, caimans, iguanas, turtles, and more. SeaQuest will be the latest family-friendly attraction to open at Woodbridge Center, whose recent additions include a Dave & Buster's and an All In Adventures escape room center.   

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 strawberry 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 New Jersey 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 NJ kids this strawberry season. Happy picking!

50 Fun Things To Do in Las Vegas with Your Kids

Once America's playground for adults, in the last decade Las Vegas has become one of the most popular family vacation destinations. While it is possible to book a sitter to enjoy some grown-up time on the strip, it would be a shame to visit this desert town and not experience the great natural attractions, museums, and family fun you can find a little further afield.

We took a recent trip to Vegas with our young children (aged two and six) and really had a blast exploring kid-friendly activities both on and off the beaten track. Here are my recommendations for the top things to do with kids in Las Vegas.

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