For those who celebrate Christmas, the holiday season is hardly complete without a trip to visit Santa. Lucky for us, there's no shortage of places in Westchester and the Hudson Valley where kids can have a meet-and-greet with the big guy, and we’ve rounded them up for you here.
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Last week, Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers opened a brand-new, free play area, the centerpiece of which is the area's first Luckey Climber.
The outdoor climbing structure—part jungle gym, part work of art—was designed by Hartford, CT–based "kid architect" Spencer Luckey, whose distinctive climbers can be found in public spaces and private institutions around the world, including Liberty Science Center in Newark, NJ; The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia; and the Long Island Children's Museum in Garden City, NY.
Summer vacation may be staring you in the face, but there's no need to panic—several camps in and around New Jersey still have space. As of this publish date, all of the camps listed below are actually open for enrollment.
Whether you're looking for a day camp for your preschooler or a sleepaway camp for your tween, you'll find it here! Sign up for the whole summer, or just one week, depending on the camp and your needs. (After all, you might want to leave time to try some of our 100 things to do with kids in New Jersey before they grow up.)
NOTE: As of Thursday, March 12, Genius Gems will be closed until further notice due to the coronavirus threat. It will be offering its spring 2020 classes online.
"Goodness, have you ever seen so many Magna-Tiles?!" a mom exclaimed to her toddler on a recent day at Genius Gems, the brand-new STEM-based play space that opened in Millburn on May 3. It was an incredible sight: thousands of brightly colored magnetic tiles lay strewn about—in kaleidoscopic piles on the floor, in towering formations created by little builders, in geometric patterns on a giant magnetic wall—and the sunlight that poured in through the floor-to-ceiling windows set everything aglow.
My first thought was that this was an amazing place; my second was, "I'm so glad I don't have to clean up all these tiles."
Happily, my only job was to hang out in the bright, beautiful space and watch my 3-year-old play, occasionally jumping in to build alongside him. My son was engaged and entertained for a solid two hours, and I was impressed—not only with the clean, modern aesthetic of the place, but with the simple yet ingenius offerings on hand. Between Genius Gems and The Busy Bee, which opened in Millburn in March, Essex County parents now have two great indoor play space options, without having to schlep to Routes 10 or 22.
Calling all Rosie Reveres, Ada Twists, and Iggy Pecks! A new play space is coming to Millburn this spring, and it's sure to capture the imaginations of young engineers, inventors, and creators of all kinds.
Genius Gems, the brainchild of educator and founder Jennifer Romanoff, is a STEM-focused play space where kids can build and design with a collection of more than 24,000 magnetic tiles—and that's not all. The facility will also offer a variety of classes and camps focusing on art, architecture, engineering, chemistry, coding, robotics, and circuitry. A soft opening is scheduled for May 3.
Perhaps your birthday kid dreams of being a pirate on the high seas or donning a cape and mask to save the day. Maybe he or she wants to operate construction equipment, ride the rails, or gallop into the sunset in the Wild West. Luckily, New Jersey is bursting with options for birthday parties packed with action and adventure. Whatever your little adventurer is into, there is a party place to make his or her dream a reality—at least for a day!
We've rounded up a dozen of our favorite spots for superheroes, pirates, and transportation lovers to celebrate their big day. For even more ideas, including dinosaur-themed birthdays, a kid-friendly murder-mystery party, and other top NJ party spots, be sure to check out our NJ Kids' Birthday Party Ideas Guide.
Paint-and-sip parties at art studios have become so popular among grown-ups, you could almost forget that these studios are great spots for kids' parties, too (minus the wine, of course)!
We've put together a list of two dozen New Jersey art studios that host birthday parties with a focus on painting—on canvas, pottery, and even t-shirts. All offer party packages that include art supplies, instruction, setup, and cleanup, with more options available at additional cost. Many of the studios also host classes and camps—and, of course, adult evenings out.
Find even more ideas for festive fun in our NJ Kids' Birthday Party Guide.
It's time to party, New Jersey! We've rounded up 15 of our favorite places to celebrate in the Garden State. Whether your birthday kid is into cooking, laser tagging, bouncing, or crafting, there's a place that's perfect for hosting your next bash. And if you're looking for more specific ideas—for a first birthday, perhaps, or the best spots for preschoolers' parties—be sure to check out our NJ Kids' Birthday Party Ideas Guide.