With all of our modern technology and conveniences, today's kids (and grown-ups!) have a hard time imagining what life was like in the U.S. in the 18th and 19th centuries. Luckily, NJ kids don't have to learn about life long ago just from books—they can experience it firsthand at one of the state's many historic villages.
From working farms to blacksmith shops, general stores to cottages, these villages offer plenty to see for day-tripping families. Whether you are looking for an authentic old-school outing or an afternoon of quaint shopping, we've got you covered. This spring, unplug the family and step back in time at one of these historic New Jersey villages that are fun for kids and adults alike.
The Freedom Trail is an excellent way to introduce kids to the rich history of our city, as well as a fun family outing. Though it was blustery the day we hit the Freedom Trail, my seven-year-old twins were as excited as I was about the things we were about to see. We'd recently read a book about Paul Revere, and had gone out to Concord to see one of the Patriots' Day reenactments, so they were definitely primed for some juicy history.
Keep in mind that while the Freedom Trail encompasses 2.5 miles of 16-plus historical sites, many of them can be viewed from the sidewalk or entered briefly for a quick look around. You'll only want to plan extra time for the types of sites that fill children with questions and curiosity. The following must-see stops made me proud of my aspiring history buffs:
As real estate in Park Slope skyrockets out of reach, many families have been turning their sights on its southern neighbor, Sunset Park. Its crown jewel, the 25-acre namesake green space, boasts an outdoor Olympic-size pool, sports fields, a soon-to-be-renovated playground and one of the highest points in Brooklyn, from which you can see the Statue of Liberty and New York Bay. The historic 478-acre Green-Wood Cemetery is also a highlight, and even hosts annual family events like its Memorial Day Concert and Battle of Brooklyn reenactment.
Walk the tree-lined side streets and you'll pass charming row houses, mostly built around the turn of the last century. The businesses on the avenues reflect the area's diversity. Seventh and Eighth Avenues make up Brooklyn's Chinatown and overflow with Asian restaurants and stores. Meanwhile, Fourth and Fifth Avenues are home to many Hispanic businesses. Both ethnic enclaves feel authentic, not touristy, so communication is, at times, challenging but worth the effort.
When we first visited the Culinary Arts Museum in Providence, Rhode Island, we fell madly in love. During the 18 months the museum was closed for inventory, we pined for it to reopen. You may be thinking, “Really? What’s so great about a bunch of old stoves?” OK, there are a few old stoves (which are actually pretty cool), but the museum offers a surprisingly wide variety of exhibits and fun, hands-on activities for families.
When the Culinary Arts Museum reopened this fall, we fell in love all over again. The staff showed us around, pointing out the newest additions to the collections. Thankfully, all of our old favorites are still there too. Read on for highlights, what's new, and tips for getting the most out of your visit to this gem of a museum.
No fancy vacations planned for this month? Not to worry, we've got you covered! New Jersey offers tons of great options for family outings close to home, whether you're looking for a beach adventure or want to visit a local farm or museum. Skip all the hassles involved with packing, crowded airports and sleepless hotel stays…your family can get their fill of summer fun right here at home in New Jersey. (And save you some money too.) Read on for our top 25 Staycation Ideas, and visit the Mommy Poppins NJ Summer Activity Guide for additional suggestions.
It’s impossible to resist Laurie Berkner. If the undisputed Queen of Kindie Rock doesn’t win you over with her bouncy attitude and curls, she’ll definitely have you with the can’t-stop-singing-'em songs that even grown-ups love. So, needless to say, we were thrilled at the opportunity to spend a whole day buzzing around New York City with Laurie.
Laurie has lived on NYC's Upper West Side since 1997. “My daughter has so far spent her whole life living here. There are so many things to do,” says Berkner.
Come along as Laurie Berkner shows us around her neighborhood. Discover her top UWS destinations, which shop owners she calls by name, her favorite place to spot celebrities (on stage, just like the rest of us) and the best place to pick up gluten-free treats for her daughter. Bonus: Download a FREE song from the Laurie Berkner Band's new album, Laurie Berkner Lullabies.
Kids. We can't stop them from growing up so fast, but we can try not to miss any of the best, most memorable things to do in their home town. Mommy Poppins LA treats you to our top 100 nifty, thrifty, and most heart-warming family bonding activities in LA. Being phenomenal Southern California parents, you've certainly already done several of these; but of the 100 not-to-be-missed, family-fun things to do we came up with around Los Angeles (in no particular order), there are likely a few you haven't yet scheduled. Why not start this weekend?
Whether you hail from the Garden State, are visiting for the weekend or need a break from the city, this welcoming, eclectic NYC neighbor has tons to offer. Looking for culture? Spend a day in an art museum. Like the great indoors, but art makes you yawn? Try this great family games complex.
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?