Looking for creative ways to celebrate Father’s Day this year? There are tons of family-friendly activities happening all over the state, but we’ve narrowed it down to our top ten picks. There’s something to suit every type of father, so whether he's a sports fiend, outdoorsy, 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 NJ’s wonderful dads! For more ways to have fun with fathers throughout the month, check out our Event Calendar and our roundup of family festivals.
We're big fans of the abundance and availability of fresh food at this time of the year. Being able to pick our own fruits and vegetables at local farms makes the bounty taste even sweeter. Not only is it a fun family activity, it's also a great way to teach kids about where their food comes from.
Right now it's berry-picking season and happily, there are farms all over Connecticut offering lots of different varieties. We've rounded up 15 top spots to pick strawberries, blueberries and other fruits with your family. For more pick-your-own options in CT, check out our posts about strawberry picking in Hartford County and blueberry picking farms. Happy picking—and eating!
The East End of Long Island is ripe with places where you can pick your own strawberries. Deciding where to go can be a challenge, so we've handpicked a few of our favorites. Harvesting your own fruit is not only fun, it connects you to where your food comes from and supports locals farmers. It also allows you to experience food at its freshest, right off the vine. This is especially important for Long Island strawberries, which are sweeter and more delicate than most grocery-store varieties, and tend to have a shorter shelf life. Be sure to call ahead or check the farms' websites to confirm that the fields are open and the strawberries are ripe.
For more places where you can pick your own fruit and vegetables in the tri-state area, check out our Farm Guide.
"Pink petals passing, scents above so high, painted porcelain perfection, blossoms caress the sky." Wow. Reminds you of... Newark? Hey, stop snickering! Branch Brook Park in Newark, NJ is home to the largest Cherry Blossom Festival on the East Coast and one of the most famous in the country. With events like the Cherry Blossom 10K Race, Cherry Blossom Challenge Bike Race, Family Day and Bloomfest, this is a spring extravaganza that you don't want to miss!
Now that spring is (finally!) in the air, we can't wait to make the most of milder temps and sunshine-filled days. All winter long (as we played with every toy in the house and exhausted every possibility in our arts and crafts bin), we've been dreaming of April, fresh flowers, birds chipping and, more than anything, open space to play and run! Our great state is filled with nature centers that make exploring the outdoors both educational and fun in any season. Usher in spring with these awesome festivals and classes at New Jersey nature centers:
Baby, it’s cold outside! The winter months can be tough, especially when it’s just too frigid to play outdoors. The kiddos are probably going stir-crazy and there are only so many craft projects they can do and movies they can watch. We’re here to help with 20 fabulous activities to keep the family busy all winter long. With everything from story times to music events to fun with animals, kids will have a blast all season long. And go ahead and supplement your idea list with our Indoor Activities: 25 Ways to Spend a Rainy Day in NJ.
All aquariums have tropical fish, penguins and some sort of seal or sea lion, but what they don’t have are the amazing touch tanks offered at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey. Nearly every exhibit has a touchable component (think sharks and jellyfish) plus they have two hippos on exhibit! We checked out the whole aquarium (well, except for swimming with sharks--we're not into that type of thrill-seeking) last month and are certainly glad we did – it is totally worth the trip. You can trust me I have been to every aquarium in the northeast with my 5 year old sea creature–obsessed son!
While we've written plenty of posts about downhill skiing with NYC kids, we've never covered cross-country skiing. Also known as Nordic skiing, cross-country skiing is a great winter sport for families. Children as young as five can ski alone, and parents can tow tots in a sled or carry them in a backpack while on the trails. You can't do that while swooshing down a mountain!
Cross-country skiing is a fun way for active kids to burn off energy in the colder months and spend time outside. While you use most of the same equipment that you'd need for a day on the slopes—skis, boots, bindings, poles, goggles, helmets and warm clothing—cross-country skiing is nowhere near as dangerous or as expensive as downhill skiing. You won't be at risk for slamming into a tree at full speed, and trail passes usually cost about $20 per person.
After a good snowfall in New York City, you can cross-country ski just about anywhere. I've seen people doing it in parks and even right down the middle of Fifth Avenue before the snow plows cleared the street. But if you're looking to go cross-country skiing in a more scenic (and less bumpy) environment, there are tri-state area destinations that offer many miles of well-groomed trails, as well as amenities like warm lodges where you can sit back, relax, sip on hot cocoa and enjoy a family meal.
Unlike traditional ski resorts, most cross-country trails aren't in the business of making their own snow. So you're going to have to wait for the white stuff before you can get out there. Once that happens, here are six spots where families can enjoy cross-country skiing, most less than a two-hour drive from New York City.
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?