Best Parks to Throw an Outdoor Birthday Party in New Jersey

Celebrate a birthday at Thompson Park under the picnic shelter. Photo courtesy of the park
Celebrate a birthday at Thompson Park under the picnic shelter. Photo courtesy of the park
6/11/24 - By Sasha Muzzarelli

Looking for outdoor birthday party ideas for New Jersey kiddos born in spring, summer, or early fall? Don't worry–we've got lots of outdoor birthday party ideas that take advantage of all the great natural beauty NJ has to offer. An added bonus is that outdoor parties are often more budget-friendly than indoor party palaces. 

Read on for New Jersey parks, playgrounds, and nature centers where kids can have some old-fashioned birthday party fun. And be sure to check out our Guide to Kids' Birthday Parties in NJ for more party planning inspo. 


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1. Liberty State Park – Jersey City

Liberty State Park boasts amazing views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. It also has one of the biggest playgrounds in New Jersey, surrounded by grills and picnic tables with a beautiful boardwalk meandering from one side of this expansive park to the other. Parties at Liberty State are free for up to 50 people and include the use of a grill and 8 picnic tables. Reservations are a must. Choose a picnic spot right next to their enormous playground (suitable for every age from toddlers to big kids), order pizza and cake, and you’ve got yourself a casual party with built-in entertainment for the kids! Note that Liberty State Park does not allow balloons on their grounds, but other decorations such as streamers are fine provided you don't use tape, tacks, or glue. 

2. Colonial Park – Somerset

This picturesque park has a large, modern playground with lots of climbing structures, slides, and swings for all age groups. In the summer, there's a small sprayground just off the playground. A short walk from the playground are pedal boats and a 1.5-acre mini golf course. Mini golf and boat tickets are discounted when you buy them in packs of 10. Two different pavilions are available for parties of 20-150 people, and prices range from $165-610, depending on the size of your group and if you're a resident.

3. Van Saun Park – Paramus

It's easy to spend a day at this destination park! Get tickets to the Bergen County Zoo, take a spin on the carousel, ride a pony, or take a mini train ride (fees apply). The zoo has party packages or you can rent a picnic pavilion and enjoy the beautiful playground. Rentals cost $75 (county residents) or $125 (non-residents) for 10-49 people.

4. Essex County Environmental Center – Roseland

Host a birthday party at this wooded wetland and choose various topics for guests to learn about. Educational themes include a fossil dig, a nature scavenger hunt, a campfire, or the creature feature (frogs, birds, or insects). Most topics are intended for kids ages 4 and up, but parties for 3-year-olds can include a nature stroll with a guide.

5. Thompson Park – Lincroft

If you’re looking to get the kids outside for a celebration, Thompson Park offers an impressive array of party packages for just about every age group and interest. Themes for 1.5-hour parties include canoeing, archery, climbing wall, birthday party games, scavenger hunts, and ceramics. Note that some parties have restrictions in terms of the ages of guests, the number of children in attendance, and the months for when the party is offered. 

6. Dorbrook Recreation Area – Colts Neck

For sports-loving kids, host a soccer or t-ball/baseball party at the Dorbrook Recreation Area. Packages start at $150 for 15 kids, with the host providing refreshments. Dorbrook also has a terrific playground and sprayground (reservations are recommended but are free), and parties up to 50 can reserve the nearby Barn View or Field Side Picnic Pavilion.

7. Duke Island Park – Bridgewater

This park has beautiful grassy areas, a paved walking trail, and a fantastic playground that kids up to about fourth grade will love. There's a toddler playset, swings, large slides, climbers, and more. A short walk from the playground are some covered pavilions and picnic tables. Be sure to reserve early as this is a popular spot for events.

8. Huber Woods Park – Middletown

This woodsy park has an Environmental Center and Reptile House, home to snakes, frogs, toads, and other creepy crawlies. There are also a bunch of exhibits and hands-on displays. You can also host a Nature Adventures party with themes like Dinosaurs Rock, Woodland Fairy and Wizard, Turtle Trails, Super Snacks, and more. Packages start at $215.

9. Regatta Playground – West Orange

Host a nautical-themed party at this awesome playground, which boasts a ship-themed play structure. Hosts can rent the Clipper Pavillion just off the playground (4 hours minimum). There are lovely views of the reservoir from here, where  If you have enough adults attending the park, you can also explore the park's swan pedal boats and Safari Mini Golf.

10. Watchung Reservation, The Loop – Watchung

The Loop Playground has lots for kids to do, from swings to slides to climbers and ramps. The nearby roofed pavilion can be rented and it includes five tables with a capacity of 50 people.

This piece was originally published in 2012 and has since been updated. 

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