There are some staples in Fairfield County when it comes to entertainment for little kids, and Earthplace is one of them. It is clean, easy and reliable as a go-to morning/afternoon killer, no matter what the season. Granted, you could also be done in there in about 20 minutes, but that’s only if you’re the type who need heaps of bells and whistles — which the preschool set does NOT! Here’s how to take
The Halloween season is filled with family-friendly fun all over the tri-state area, and a favorite fall destination is our sponsor, the New York Botanical Garden. NYBG is famous for its art installations throughout the grounds, and its annual Halloween exhibit of pumpkins and gourds in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden is particularly awesome. In addition to tons of kids' activities to enjoy, you can check out unbelievable pumpkin carving creations the weekend of October 18 and 19, followed by a display of North America's largest pumpkins on October 25 and 26.
My son and I are frequent visitors to the New York Botanical Garden, and we decided to mark the changing season by checking out the Haunted Pumpkin Garden on its opening day back in 2011. He kept squealing, "Hey Mom, look over here!" and "Dad, you have to see this!" as he came across caterpillar, black widow and giant scorpion pumpkin statues, and grinning gourds perched on fence posts and the Discovery Center's roof. He loved it so much that visiting the Haunted Pumpkin Garden has now become an annual fall family tradition.
In addition to the display, which is on view now through Friday, October 31, NYBG has scheduled a slew of related programing, like a special pumpkin carving weekend (October 18 and 19) when visitors can watch Master Carver Ray Villafane create intricate pumpkin sculptures. You can even learn how to make your own pumpkin masterpieces during a one-day workshop with Villafane on Thursday, October 16, where participants learn his signature carving techniques. Then on the weekend of October 25 and 26, the largest pumpkins in North America will once again call NYBG home (pose your little ones next to these giant pumpkins for great photos).
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.
What's better than a cool dip on a hot day? New Jersey is known for its outstanding beaches, but it also has some of the best lakes for swimming in the Northeast. This summer, if you're sick of the pounding waves, dive into the calm waters of one of these beautiful New Jersey lakes. For even more fun swimming alternatives, check out our post on Secret Natural Swimming Holes in New Jersey and for more water (and dry) summer fun, check out our NJ Kids Summer Activities Guide.
Looking for creative ways to celebrate Father’s Day this year? There are tons of family-friendly activities happening all over the state on June 15, but we’ve narrowed it down to our top ten picks. There’s something to suit every type of father, so whether Dad is a sports fiend, the outdoorsy type, a train fanatic or just wants to relax with a glass of wine, we’ve got him covered. Happy Father’s Day to all of New Jersey’s wonderful dads! For more fun all month long, check out our June Festivals for NJ Families post.
Number 46 on our list of 100 Things To Do In New Jersey With Kids Before They Grow Up is the outdoor family gem, Grounds For Sculpture. The 42+ acre sculpture park and arts center is part museum, part open-air adventure and whether you're an art expert or novice, you will be enchanted from the get go. For a great summer day trip, check out our tips on GFS and other sweet art parks in the tristate area.
A few weeks ago I let my daughter bring a pair of binoculars on our weekly hike. She is not always the most enthusiastic hiker so I was pleasantly surprised when she immediately perked up. The next week I picked up a birding book and she started checking off all of the different birds we saw. Turns out, bird watching can instill a real appreciation of nature in children. New Jersey's wide variety of distinct habitats and location on the Atlantic Flyway make it a great place for bird watchers to enjoy over 400 different species of birds. Kids naturally gravitate toward nature when given the chance, so give them a pair of binoculars and open their eyes to the wonders of birding at one of these great birding spots and sanctuaries. For more outdoor fun, check out our post on family friendly hikes in Central New Jersey.
New Jersey is teeming with amazing outdoor places to take active kids—everything from nature centers to Jersey Shore lighthouses offer a multitude of fun events for little ones. But our beautiful state arboretums are often overlooked. These fabulous botanical gardens offer a great opportunity for children to see nature up close. Many locations host educational and engaging programs too, featuring activities such as gardening, hiking and scavenger hunts. Visit one of these arboretums for the next family outing and discover one of NJ’s hidden treasures.
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?