For many families, cutting down a Christmas tree is an annual tradition that marks the beginning of the holiday season. For kids, the experience can be downright magical: you're set loose in a forest of trees, with a mission to find the perfect one. If you're thinking of going the cut-your-own route this year, start your tree search by checking out our extensive list of Christmas tree farms. Once you've checked that off your list, be sure to visit our Holiday Guide for even more ways to celebrate the season.
Shari Simpson has Anna Fader and Mommy Poppins to thank for learning to appreciate her own state. Before she started editing Mommy Poppins NJ, Shari dragged her spawn into NYC for any type of "culture"; now she knows all the good stuff to be had in New Jersey and is not so fast to hop on that PATH train. In her other life, Shari is a comedic playwright ("Maybe Baby, It's You", Dramatic Publishing, Inc.), a humor blogger ("Earth Mother just means I'm dusty"), and a freelance writer. She is mother to four (two human, two pug) and resides in Hoboken, where she can be found jogging along the waterfront or dragging her Brownie troop of 30 crazy little girls around town.
You can also follow Shari on Google+.
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Halloween and hayrides go hand in hand, but if you really want to up your game this year, take a trip on a Halloween train! If you have a junior conductor in your family, don't miss out on one of these four seasonal NJ railway adventures. From spooky to scenic, these rides offer a unique bit of fall fun for the whole family: passengers can take a seat in a vintage caboose, travel through gorgeous fall foliage, visit a pumpkin patch, and even trick-or-treat onboard. After the ride, round out the day with autumn activities like corn mazes, crafts, and a costume party.
Check out our NJ Fall Fun Guide for even more seasonal family fun around the state.
Whether you're looking for an alternative to traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, or you just want to have a little extra Halloween fun in the days leading up to the big event, the zoo just might be the place for you. Visiting with the animals is always an enjoyable way to spend a family day, but throw in some candy, costumes, and spooky activities, and you're bound to have a howling good time.
If you want to help your kids develop a lifelong love of skiing, snowboarding, and other snowy sports, this is a good place to start. We've rounded up some nearby ski resorts where you and your family can enjoy time on the slopes with minimal time in the car. We've also included safety tips for skiing and snowboarding from respected professionals. If you're looking for winter fun that's a bit less strenuous, snow tubing might be just the thing. And for even more options, check out our Ski & Snow Guide.
Looking for something a little different for the kids this summer in Jersey? A half-day or full-day spent indoors in a cool art museum or outside at a lively zoo may just be the ticket to an unusual summer experience. Here are the best museum and zoo camps we found in New Jersey. You can find many more New Jersey summer camps in our Camp Guide and Full Directory of Listings.
When it comes to winter activities, snow tubing is one of our favorites. Of course, we love ice skating and all manner of frosty sports, but snow tubing is something the whole family can enjoy—regardless of skill. No experience is necessary, and you can tube alone or in groups. In fact, tubing is a lot like sledding, but a whole lot easier. You can barrel down the snowy slope at thrilling speeds without having to hike back up the hill. It’s done for you! Now that's the kind of winter sport we can get behind.
Do you have an emerging star at home (and a long summer vacation ahead)? Try one of the many theater camps New Jersey has to offer. Whether your child is a shy newbie who just wants to build social skills or a junior Lin-Manuel Miranda who's aiming for Broadway, there are a myriad of choices in the Garden State. The following camps offer instruction in acting technique, musical theater, playwriting, improv, Shakespeare, and beyond. You can find more New Jersey summer camps in our Camp Guide and Full Directory of Listings.
Break a leg, New Jersey!
Now that my oldest child is a 'tween, I understand that phrase I heard often during those difficult baby/toddler times, "The days are long, but the years are short." Thankfully, filling those short years with quality bonding time is even easier with our top 100 not-to-be-missed family activities right here in New Jersey.
From indoor play to awesome zoos, and from quiet fun to thrill-seeking adventures, there's tons of incredible stuff to make memories that will last forever! We have beautiful forests for hiking, beaches for lounging, and cool playgrounds and parks—all of which make for a great day trip with Jersey kids.
Read on for our 100 best things to do right now in NJ.