Can’t wait for vacation? Kids bored with the same park every day? Take a mini-trip without even leaving the state! Hop in the car and head to one of these great NJ day trip destinations. Pick fresh fruit and let the kids pet some barnyard animals; check out a national monument; visit NJ's own Victorian seaside town; head to a giant lake water park; or visit the beach, boardwalk and aquarium all in one day. Enjoy our list of fun day trips for this summer! Looking for more summer fun? Check out our Ultimate Summer Play List!
School’s out for summer! Now that the kids are home full-time, it can be somewhat challenging to find new ways to keep them busy every day. Yes, there’s always the playground and the beach, but those looking for something different this summer will find that New Jersey is full of surprises. How about visiting the six-story tall elephant in Atlantic County? Or getting up close and personal with wolves in Warren County? Here’s the scoop on seven of New Jersey’s most unique destinations…there are plenty of fun ways to occupy everyone until September rolls around! And for even more summer awesomeness, check out our New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide.
My husband and I are big fans of Lancaster County's family amusement park Dutch Wonderland, and dread the day our nine-year-old outgrows this sweet Kingdom for Kids. We take at least one road trip here every summer but this year we were invited to visit on opening weekend to check out the park's brand-new dinosaur attraction, Exploration Island.
With so many other animatronic dinosaur spots around, like the Bronx Zoo's Dinosaur Safari and New Jersey's Field Station: Dinosaurs, plus the show Walking with Dinosaurs set to stomp into Brooklyn's Barclays Center this July, you might think my son would have soured on the saurs. But he's as fascinated by the prehistoric creatures as ever. And since the rest of Dutch Wonderland's 43 bucolic acres features a nice variety of safe and clean family rides, live shows and strolling performers, it makes for a great weekend getaway.
A brand-new theme park opens this Saturday in West Berlin, NJ but it's not like anything you've ever seen before. That's because it's the first-ever construction-themed amusement park in all of the US! Inspired by (but not affiliated with) the four Diggerland parks in the United Kingdom and located right next to popular indoor water park Sahara Sam's Oasis, Diggerland USA features a variety of rides made from real-life construction equipment. If your child is fascinated by construction sites, a trip to Diggerland is a no-brainer. But you don't need to be obsessed with bulldozers and tractors and dump trucks to have a blast at this unique theme park.
My two sons and I were recently invited to a media preview to experience what Diggerland USA has to offer families. And considering the older one is a typical hard-to-please tween, I can attest that Diggerland USA isn't just for preschoolers going through that inevitable Bob the Builder phase.
Before I had children, I spent the weekends exploring the wildlife of Paramus malls (the Manolos, the Choos, the Louis Vuittons). Now that time is spent with my own wildlife, my kids, and at least one weekend a month we go to a state park. Why? One, because sticks and rocks can occupy my children longer than any toy we have in our house. And two, because there are so many beautiful state parks to explore in our little state. Most outsiders do not equate “New Jersey” with “beautiful state parks”, but exploring at least one of our 36 state parks and 13 state forests should be on your summer fun to-do list with your kids. They’re the perfect venue for a fun-filled day trip in New Jersey offering hiking, sightseeing, geocaching, swimming, fishing, picnicking and sometimes even overnight camping, if a day trip just isn’t long enough.
Nothing will make your family hungrier than a day of fun in the sun at the beach. Whether you are taking your NJ kids on a day trip or for vacation – the Jersey Shore is a great place to visit for the whole family. Finding a kid-friendly place to dine can sometimes be a challenge, however, especially if you're not familiar with the area. Here are some of my personal favorite Jersey Shore eateries (including ice cream!) that are great for kids of all ages! And for more shore fun, check out our Jersey Shore Family Guide.
During the summer months, it’s great to spend time out in the sun. But what about when the weather doesn't cooperate? Rain - or even extreme heat - can really put a damper on plans, and those are the days when an indoor bounce place is a mom and dad’s dream come true. Kids can have a ball jumping and running around, and parents don’t have to worry about their children being outside in the elements. For New Jersey residents, Bounce! Trampoline Sports in Village Cottage, NY, is a short car ride away and a perfect day trip when the kids need to be kept occupied (because keeping them in the house will drive both parents and kids crazy!).
Ever since my kids saw the stop-motion animated film Chicken Run set in a very tightly-run chicken coop, they’ve been obsessed with factory tours. The precision and organization of a factory assembly line is fun to watch and, despite the repetition, doesn't get tedious (unless you happen to work there). Going behind the scenes and seeing how products are made is always interesting, though I admit my family is partial to food factory tours that culminate in sampling the finished product.
Here is a list of six sweet (and salty) food factory tours that are fun and educational for kids, all located in the Northeast. Some are easy day trips from the tri-state area. Others require a weekend and make great destinations for any upcoming school breaks.
Welcome to Mommy Poppins New Jersey! The free online resource for parents and kids where you’ll get the scoop on what’s fun, unique, outdoorsy, indoorsy, artsy, bouncy, sassy and splashy in the Garden State. Come play with us, won’t you?