FREE! FREE! FREE!
We all love getting things for free!
With the holidays around the corner, we will likely be spending extra money on gifts, decorations, and food, so, let’s make sure we set aside quality time to enjoy fun activities. This doesn’t mean we need to spend more, though. We can all have a great time with the family without squandering a dime. So, put your wallet away and get out there to enjoy the following activities with your family and friends for FREE!!!
FREE PLACES TO VISIT & ENJOY
Enjoy some relaxing moments by the water while our weather still allows it. Play on the sandy beaches, walk the boardwalks, and sit back with a good book, some music, and great food. Soak in the sun’s rays now before our colder months arrive, and breathe in the invigorating, fresh air.
31 Batsto Road, Hammonton
Known for its historical significance in New jersey, dating back to 1766, this preserved-in-time village, with museum, sawmill, gristmill, post office and more, is open to all for free. Guided tours are available for a minimal $3 per adult and $1 per child. Virtual, live webcams are also offered on their website.
707 RT 9N, Cape May Court House, NJ
Open daily from 10am to 4pm, (except Christmas) this park and zoo offers free admission and free car parking. Enjoy strolling the grounds, admiring all the animals and exhibits, then take a break for a picnic lunch or some playtime on their two playgrounds.
2020 Burnt Mills Rd, Bedminster Township
Free admission to roam the halls and exhibits of this contemporary art gallery. Explore the talents of renown and emerging artists alike, and perhaps use this inspiration to create masterpieces of your own at home. If interested, this center also offers wonderful classes for a cost or a discounted fee for members.
45 Mayor Aitken Drive, Bridgeton
Open daily from 10am to 3pm, this small zoo allows you to walk around, for free, admiring all your favorite animals. A few high contact areas during the pandemic are closed, however, with new, one-way paths and requirements for mask-wearing and social-distancing, the majority is open for your enjoyment.
353 East Hanover Avenue, Morris Township
Horticultural landscapes for your viewing pleasure, open Saturdays and Sundays, 8am to dusk. Enjoy a stroll, a family backpack, or a group tour, and a delicious lunch break at their Café. Before heading home, you can also view their shop should you be needing a few new plants for the home. Spend the day exploring the blooming landscaped gardens, including wetlands, native woodlands and the meadow. There is a Braille Garden for our sight-impaired friends. Before heading home, you can also view their shop should you be needing a few new plants for the home.
70 Woodens Lane, Hopewell Township
Experience a local, working farm. Admission, tours, and educational programs are free. Enjoy some fresh air and learning about all the hard work it takes to be a successful farmer. This farm also has a huge corn maze which is free for children 4 and under, however, $8 for older kids and $10 for adults.
3625 Brigantine Boulevard, Brigantine
Open Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 2pm, tour this center that saves and houses stranded and injured marine life. Tour the pool house, the Quonset hut, the museum, and gift shop as well as the observation tank. Learn all about our local marine life and ways to keep them safe.
528 Dock Road, Beach Haven
Open 10am to 4pm Fridays-Sundays, this free museum, by the beach, invites you to come learn about our maritime history, view artifacts from shipwrecks and exhibits about navigational equipment, marine life saving procedures, as well as historical diving gear to name a few.
72 McBride Avenue Extension, Paterson
A most magical and peaceful place to enjoy waterfalls, geology, and great, natural trails and landmarks. Self-guided tours and Junior Ranger booklets are available for all. Most trails are open, however, a few bathrooms might not, due to new COVID protocols.
474 Upper Mountain Avenue, Montclair
Referred to as the “rainbow on the hill”, this gorgeous garden invites you to soak in the beauty of over 100,000 blooms, some of which bloom late into the fall. Don’t miss your opportunity for a pleasant walk through their beautiful grounds.
130 Log Cabin Road, New Brunswick
Tour 180-acres of fragrant botanical gardens which are also used as a living laboratory by students and staff of Rutgers University for their studies and experiments. Enjoy the sites, the trails, the shop, and many learning opportunities along the way. Open Saturdays – Thursdays from 8am-7pm.
2 Lighthouse Rd, Highlands
Although the exhibits and gift shop remain closed due to COVID, you can explore the grounds and breathtaking views of NY Harbor and the Jersey Shore for free and schedule a tour any day between 9am and 4pm. Enjoy virtual challenges, as well, such as October’s 2020 NJ Lighthouse Challenge.
109 Boulevard Rt 50 S, Mays Landing
With over 15 miles of hiking trails, a nature center with wonderful, educational exhibits, a helpful staff, and occasional free events and classes, this is a great option for quality, family time this fall. Open 8am to 4pm daily.
BURN SOME ENERGY ON A HIKEGreat Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Hike on boardwalks through a swamp to observe wildlife in this interesting park, covering 7,768 acres of varied habitats. There are easy hikes with many ADA accessible. This an important resting and feeding area for more than 244 species of birds; Fox, deer, muskrat, turtles, fish, frogs and a wide variety of wildflowers and plants can be found on the refuge. Stop by the Visitor Center to get a map of their miles of trails and boardwalks to explore.
Liberty State Park
Enjoy miles of nature with the NYC skyline as the backdrop. Central Railroad Terminal of New Jersey AND Richard Sullivan Nature Area are adjacent and there are ample spots to play and picnic.
Trailside Nature and Science Center – It may seem small, but it is chock full of displays, including live animals, dioramas, the night sky and more. Located in Watchung Reservation, there are miles of trails, a deserted village, and a fabulous playground in the “Loop”.
Gateway National Recreation Area – Thousands of ocean and bay front areas for swimming, sailing, fishing, bird watching, and of course nature hikes. Fort Hancock and the Sandy Hook Lighthouse are also located here. It is free admission until Memorial Day.
OBSERVE WILDLIFE AT A SANCTUARY
Hawk Rise Sanctuary - A short, but beautiful hike along a converted landfill, marshlands and wooded boardwalk. Interpretative signs explain the history of Hawk Rise and provide a good lesson on landfills and how they can be returned to nature PLUS lots of birds.
The Scherman - Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary - Owned and operated by the New Jersey Audubon Society, it has 276 acres of woodland, field, and floodplain habitat that is home to over 200 species of wildlife over the course of a year. The Sanctuary is open to the public and offers a variety of programs throughout the year. Be sure to stop by the visitor’s center to see some live animals.
The Raptor Trust - Close to the Great Swamp, this is one of the premier wild bird rehabilitation centers located in central New Jersey. You can view at close range the many hawks, eagles, falcons and owls that are permanent residents at the facility.
Poricy Park Conservancy – You can explore over 250 acres of open space, wildlife and their habitats, dig in prehistoric fossil beds, and wander through the Historic Murray Farmhouse.
ATTEND FREE VIRTUAL CLASSES
Art: Multiple, free art & design classes from MOMA (Museum of Modern Art-NYC)
Schooling: Free classes in all core subjects, plus computer programming, life skills, arts & humanities, and test prep.
Woodworking Basics: Learn woodworking skills, for free, virtually through videos and step-by-step program.
Quality time alone or with the family doesn’t mean you need to shell out any money. New Jersey has quite a few wonderful, free activities which are perfect to enjoy right now before the cold weather greets us. Grab the picnic basket, some good shoes, and a camera, and enjoy as many of the above free opportunities as you can!
Happy Free Fall !!!
***As with any activity or business we mention, please always double check with them directly before partaking in their services in the event information may have changed for any reason***
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