Rainy days may be perfect for curling up with a book or stomping in puddles, but sometimes busy kids need more boredom-busters on stormy days. No matter the season, NJ has a great array of indoor fun for the whole family, from museums and indoor play spaces to bowling alleys and roller rinks. If staying dry sounds better, check out our ideas for rainy day fun at home and make the most of those rain clouds!
Spend a day exploring Adventure Aquarium. Photo courtesy of the aquarium
1. Get up close to sea life at Jenkinson's Aquarium or Adventure Aquarium.
2. Visit a local museum, where children's programs and kid-friendly exhibits are often on offer.
3. Explore the special exhibits at Liberty Science Center and check out a stellar show at its state-of-the-art planetarium.
Paint or make pottery at Around the Corner Art Center in Freehold and Morganville. Photo courtesy of Around the Corner
4. Head to a drop-in arts and crafts session for painting, pottery making, jewelry designing, and even glassblowing.
5. Entertain young children with an afternoon at the Garden State Discovery Museum.
6. Or discover something new at one of these science museums in and around NJ.
7. Play retro video games and current favorites at one of these NJ arcades.
8. Explore and play at the newly remodeled Imagine That!!! museum and play space in Florham Park.
RELATED: Splash and Slide at Indoor Water Parks for NJ Families
Take a mini vacation at Sahara Sam's. Photo courtesy of the venue
9. Splash the day away at an indoor water park.
10. If you'd rather do some outdoor splashing, pull on your rain boots and hike to a nature center to stomp in as many puddles as you can (these spots offer plenty of indoor fun, too!).
11. Have some fun with your food at a themed restaurant.
12. Grab a coffee while the little ones have fun at these play cafes.
13. Get creative with these simple crafts for preschoolers or with these DIY sensory activities for babies.
14. Browse a local independent bookstore and let each child choose a new book, or visit Canadian bookseller Indigo's mega-store in Short Hills.
RELATED: Free Indoor Play Spots for New Jersey Kids
Jump, bounce, and slide at Pump It Up. Photo courtesy of the venue
15. Bounce all your energy out at an indoor trampoline park or bounce house, including the new Sky Zone in Springfield.
16. Check out one of New Jersey's newest indoor play spaces, including Woodland Indoor Playground in Cedar Grove and The Village Play Cafe in Chatham.
17. Save some dough at a play space that costs $15 or less, or have fun without spending at cent at one of these free indoor play spaces, including the new Disney Junior Play Zone at Menlo Park Mall.
18. Stop by a store that offers free and cheap classes for kids.
19. Battle it out and burn off some energy with a round of laser tag.
RELATED: Free Admission for Kids at 50 of NJ's Biggest Family Attractions
Monster Mini Golf puts a new spin on putt-putt. Photo by njn917 via Flickr
20. Tee up for glow-in-the-dark fun at Monster Mini Golf.
21. Climb, swing, and balance like a ninja at an indoor obstacle course.
22. Go skydiving—indoors—at iFly in Paramus.
23. Boogie around a roller rink like it's 1985.
RELATED: Top 12 Indoor Play Spaces for Kids Across New Jersey
iPlay America has more than 200+ games, rides, laser tag, go karts, and many other attractions. Photo courtesy of the venue
24. Try your luck at carnival games, ride a mini roller coaster, or hone your arcade skills at iPlay America.
25. Rock out with a local kindie band.
26. Or take your little music lover to the GRAMMY Museum Experience in Newark.
27. Wow your mini train enthusiast with a trip to this model railroad museum.
RELATED: A Dozen Museums for Kids and Families in Central and Southern NJ
Sample the delicious confections at the Montclair Bakery. Photo courtesy of the bakery
28. Treat the kids (and yourself) to a delicious doughnut.
29. Or indulge in a sweet treat (and a trip down memory lane) at a sweet shop that sells retro candy.
30. Dress in your finest frocks and ties for high tea.
31. Play a game of ten-pin at a modern or retro bowling alley, including the newly renovated Asbury Lanes.
32. Bring older kids to New Jersey's first family-friendly escape room, geared toward kids 8 and older.
33. Lace up your ice skates and glide around an indoor skating rink.
34. Check out one of two Dave and Buster's locations in NJ.
35. Have some indoor STEM fun at Genius Gems in Millburn or the new Snapology Discovery Center in Tinton Falls.
Originally published July 2012.