Summer is a great time to get out there with the kids and explore all the fun things NJ has to offer. Whether you are looking for places to beat the heat, find some sand, or even fight brain drain to teach the kids a thing or two, we have something for everyone. We have picked a sample of our favorite places to go. There is so much history to explore throughout the garden state. There are several historic villages that allow you to step back in time. Or spend the day exploring a battleship, WWII tower, or historic farm. Most of these are very inexpensive way to have fun and learn something at the same time.
The Historic Village at Allaire
4263 Atlantic Avenue, Farmingdale, NJ 07727 within Allaire State Park
Step back in time and tour the historic buildings to discover what life was like in an 1836 Industrial town. They host a fun special event every year the Ducky Derby Aug 2 10 AM – 4 PM Open now thru Labor Day: Wednesday thru Sunday 12-4 PM. Admission $3 per adult, $2 per child 6-12 years of age, 5 years and under – no charge
Batsto Village & Wharton State Forest
31 Batsto Road, Hammonton, NJ 08037
Wander through the village to explore any of the thirty-three historic buildings and structures including the Batsto Mansion, gristmill, sawmill, general store, workers' homes and post office. They offer guided tours via your smartphone. You can even canoe on the lake nearby. Open Daily 9- 4pm Admission $5 per vehicle ;
100 Clinton Street, Camden, NJ 08103
You’ll marvel at the size of the Battleship New Jersey which is one of the longest battleships ever built. Take a self-guided tour with an audio device that describes areas of the ship, provides historical accounts from former crew members and includes many sound effects of the ship. It’s right next to the Adventure Aquarium so you can get combo tickets for a little more to visit both attractions. Open every day, 9:30am - 5pm Adults $21.95, Children 5 – 11 $17, Under 5 free.
Historic Cold Spring Village
720 Route 9, Cape May, NJ 08204
Experience 26 restored historic buildings with historical guides in period clothing who demonstrate the trades, crafts and lifestyles of the 19th century including blacksmithing, woodworking, basket weaving and more. Visit the Ice Cream Parlor, Bakery (which has delicious cookies) and Old Grange Restaurant (good food); or browse the Country Store. They do several special events throughout the summer so be sure to check their calendar but many include free horse and wagon rides and hands-on kids’ crafts. The Village is open Tuesdays through Sundays, from June 17th through August 31st, 10am-4:30pm. Adults: $10; Children 3-12: $8; Children under 3: Free
Thomas Edison National Historic Park
211 Main Street, West Orange, NJ 07052
Visit the home and laboratory of Thomas Edison to learn about the inventor who was responsible for over 1,093 inventions including the light bulb, the phonograph, or motion pictures. They have a great junior ranger program for kids. They can draw their own invention or create a pretend advertisement for the park. Hunt for Edison's Logo, complete the timeline and watch some early Edison movies. Laboratory Complex - Wednesday thru Sunday, 10-4 pm; Glenmont Estate - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11:30am - 4:00pm Entrance Fee- $7.00 Audio Tour Available for an additional $5.00
Old Barracks Museum
101 Barrack Street, Trenton, NJ 08608
The Old Barracks is the last remaining British military barracks in North America. Today, the Old Barracks is an educational center for Colonial and American history providing guided tours and interpretations of American colonial life. The building offers a museum of 18th century artifacts and weapons, as well as a gift shop. Monday-Saturday, 10am - 5pm Guided tours on the hour; last tour starts at 4pm $8 Adults, $6 Students, and children 5 & under are free.
Howell Living History Farm
70 Wooden's Lane, Lambertville, NJ 08530
Visit this historic farm to see what farming was like in the past and how it has evolved over the last 250 years. You can see all sorts of animals – horses, sheep, pigs, chickens and more. During the summer they are offering hayrides on Saturday evenings. It’s great night to take a picnic or join their marshmallow roast. Rides will leave the barnyard area every 25 minutes beginning at 5:10, with the last ride departing at 8:00. Rides will be given on a first come, first serve basis to the first 200 visitors. They are open Tues – Sat 10-4 pm; Suns 12-4 pm Free admission & parking.
Historic Longstreet Farm (Part of Holmdel Park)
44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel 07733
Another historic farm located in Monmouth County is Longstreet Farm part of Holmdel Park. They have interpreters who work the farm to show how a farm existed in the 19th century including raising animals for help plow the fields, chickens for eggs, and even sheep for wool. There are several different programs available where you can participate from blacksmith demonstrations (July 13 & Aug 10), wood working (Aug 9), and even a potato harvest (Aug 2-3). The farm is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. with free admission.
World War II Fire Control Tower (Part of Cape May Point State Park)
1200 Sunset Blvd., North Cape May NJ
Fire Control Tower No. 23 is New Jersey’s last remaining World War II tower, part of the immense Harbor Defense of the Delaware system known as Fort Miles. You can climb to the top to see out over the beach, and walking around the outside there are plaques dedicated to all the veterans. Open daily 10 – 4 pm Admission: $6 for adults; One child (ages 3-12) FREE with paying adult; $3 each additional child
The Red Mill Museum Village
56 Main Street, Clinton, NJ 08809
This is a unique museum that focuses on the stories of the over 40,000 artifacts it houses. You will learn about all the different people who put the item to use from Colonial times through to 1928 when the Mill was closed. They host several special events there throughout the summer including the Black Potatoe Music Festival July 9-13 and a Kid’s Day July 19th from 12pm-4pm. For Kid’s Day you can take a pony ride, pet a goat, lamb or chick, get your face painted, bounce in a bounce house, and dance to the musical styling’s of Mr. Ray a children’s performer. Read to a therapy dog as part of the Paws to Read Pro-gram, or make your own ice-cream with our old time ice-cream makers and lemon squeezer. Visit the Hunterdon County Library Bookmobile and try your hands at any number of old time crafts and games like sack races, old school games, yard games and so much more. Don’t miss this rockin’ family event. Admission is $10 per family.
Contributed by Sarah Graves, NJ Mom Squad Team