Generations of kids were firefighters, postal workers, grocery store clerks, construction workers, and doctors at the Jersey Shore Children's Museum, which closed down in December 31 due to a lack of funding. Founded in 1998 by two local teachers, the non-profit museum promoted learning through play and was a favorite indoor play spot in the community.
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If you’ve been running around like a crazed elf for most of December, hang in there: the big weekend is almost here.
You can still find plenty of events that will let you soak up the holiday season as a family, whether you want to take in a classic performances of A Christmas Carol or The Nutcracker; take a Holiday Lights Trolley Ride through Cape May; or go walking in a Winter Wonderland. You can see Santa swim with the sea life at Adventure Aquarium, or watch him fly into Princeton Airport on Christmas Eve. And it's the perfect time to pack up the kids and see one of NJ's amazing holiday light displays.
We've also rounded up best bets for a quiet Christmas Eve filled with family activities. Looking ahead to the week off from school? Check out our jam-packed list of things to do with NJ kids during holiday break. And you'll find many more options in our Event Calendar and December GoList.
Whatever you decide to do this holiday weekend, we hope you enjoy it with family and friends. Merry Christmas!
As a mom, I live at Target.
No, really—I moved in a few weeks ago. A lot of moms are doing it. It just makes so much more sense than living in our houses, which we were constantly having to leave in order to go to Target.
"Gotta make another Target run!" I'd say, and my husband would tell me to "enjoy my mommy vacation." It was so funny—every time.
Looking for some ideas to help keep the kids entertained during the long weekend? We've got you covered. Go all-in on fall fun with a ride on a pumpkin train or a visit to a family-friendly farm for pumpkin picking, amazing corn mazes, harvest festivals, and more. Get into the Halloween spirit at Dinosaurs After Dark and the Asbury Park Zombie Walk, or have some scare-free fun at Pumpkin PAWlooza and Delicious Orchards' Pumpkin Fest.
It's also a great weekend to see a show—Peppa Pig takes the stage at BergenPAC in a brand-new live show on Monday (tickets are going fast!), and the popular kids' book Freckleface Strawberry comes to life in a new musical in Edison. Stop by Adventure Aquarium for the third annual Sea Turtle Awareness Weekend, or take a Columbus Day Hayride at Abma's Farm. And for even more ways to spend the holiday, check out our list of 20 Things To Do with NJ Kids on Columbus Day.
October is almost here, and pumpkins are popping up all over NJ. This weekend you can celebrate the season at a pumpkin festival, go for a ride on a pumpkin train, and of course, take a trip to the pumpkin patch.
Amusement parks including Diggerland and Storybook Land kick off their fall-fun weekends on Saturday, and iPlay America starts its month-long celebration of Halloween. Field Station: Dinosaurs gets in the spirit of the season with Dinosaurs After Dark, and the Historic Village at Allaire hosts a 19th century–style harvest celebration with its Fall Festival and Allaire Community Heritage Day.
Read on for more of this weekend's most fall-tastic events, and find many more ideas for weekend fun in our Fall Fun Guide, packed with harvest festivals and fall fairs, amazing corn mazes, top spots for apple picking, and more. And be sure to check our Event Calendar for a full listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.
Autumn is officially in full swing, and there's tons of fall fun to be had throughout the Garden State. This weekend, head to one of NJ's top family-friendly farms for events like the Great Pumpkin Festival at Heaven Hill Farm or the Fall Harvest Festival at Johnson's Corner Farm. Experience old-fashioned fun at Historic Longstreet Farm's Harvest Home Festival, or take a Harvest Moon Hayride at Alstede Farms.
There's plenty of indoor action, too: everyone's favorite tank engine rolls into Liberty Science Center on Saturday in a STEM-focused exhibit called Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails, and it's all about LEGO this weekend at BrickFair 2017 in Edison. Plus, more than 20 NJ museums will offer free admission on Saturday as part of Smithsonian Museum Day Live.
Find many more ideas for weekend fun in our Fall Fun Guide, which is packed with fall fairs, amazing corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and the best spots to go apple picking. And look to our Event Calendar for a full listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.
If you're knee-deep in back-to-school prep, never fear—we've got you covered with ways to unwind this weekend. You can meet the sweet residents of Bluebird Farm Alpacas, learn a new outdoor skill at New Jersey WILD Outdoor Expo, and celebrate gram and gramps with a scenic Grandparents Day train ride.
Jump right into autumn with a visit to an apple orchard, get lost in one of NJ's amazing corn mazes, or head to Camden Children's Garden for its Hefty Harvest and Scary Scarecrows weekend. You can find even more fall fun activities in our list of 35 Things We Can't Wait To Do with NJ Kids This Fall.
For more options, take a look at our full Event Calendar and Fall Fun Guide for NJ Kids. And check out our Guide to NJ Classes and Enrichment Programs to find something new to engage your kiddo this school year.
Last but not least, visit our local DEALS page to score discounts on camps, classes, birthday party packages, and more for NJ kids. Check back often because we're constantly adding new ones.
As schools across the country cut recess in favor of test prep, and kids spend more time indoors staring at screens, there is a growing movement to reacquaint children with nature, free play, and the joy of exploring the great outdoors. Modeled after the forest kindergartens that have long been popular in Germany and Scandinavia, nature-based preschools, kindergartens, and other outdoor programs for young children are popping up all over the U.S., including New Jersey.
In these programs, children examine flora and fauna, climb trees, make art, splash in streams, play with mud, count sticks, sing, listen to stories, and more. Proponents of outdoor learning point to its many benefits, saying it can improve cognitive function and physical health, boost confidence and empathy, and even counter symptoms of ADHD.
The Garden State offers a variety of options, from preschool programs that take place entirely outdoors to more traditional schools that place a premium on spending time outside. There are even parent-and-child classes, so grown-ups can get in on the fun, too. All promote child-led, unstructured play as a means to spark curiosity and foster learning and a love of nature.
To find more opportunities for outdoor learning and exploration, check out NJ's great nature centers, and for a comprehensive selection of classes of all kinds, take a look at our guide to Classes and Enrichment Programs for NJ Kids.