Kids have long been fascinated with things that go. From boats to planes to trains, there are several state parks, museums, and things to do to capture that fascination. Why not make a take a fun and educational day trip to explore one of the many transportation attractions NJ has to offer?
Pack up your bikes and explore one of the many bike trails NJ has to offer.There are several family friendly bike trails that have been built on top of old railroad lines. The Henry Hudson Trail starts in Matawan and goes all the way to Leonardo. It is a paved, 10-foot wide, 24-mile long trail. It is relatively flat, traveling through both man-made and natural environments. Much of the trail is tree-lined, though some parts have views of surrounding wetlands, streams and fields. It is easy to hop on and off at different locations so you can do a portion of it or the whole thing. Or try the Atlantic County Bike path which is a 7.5 mile paved path between Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township and the Atlantic County Institute of Technology in Mays Landing. Duke Farms is a favorite destination to go biking and for their educational programs for kids. It is located on 2,740 acres in Hillsborough. They offer numerous paved paths to explore the grounds. They also have a bike share program where bigger kids (60 inches and up) and grown-ups can rent a bike for only $5. It is recommended that you go early as they only have a limited number of bikes available.
Rent a canoe, travel by bike, or on foot along the 70-mile Delaware and Raritan Canal.This state park is a great place to see wildlife because it connects a lot of fields and forests. A recent bird survey conducted in the park revealed 160 species of birds, almost 90 of which nested in the park. You can follow the Delaware River through historic New Jersey towns such as Frenchtown, Stockton and Lambertville. The main canal passes through the charming villages of Kingston and Griggstown to Blackwells Mills, ending up in New Brunswick.
Hit the rails for a Reading Railroad story time.
The Black and Western Railroad created a new event that begins with a train ride in their antique passenger coaches from Flemington to Ringoes. Once you arrive at Ringoes, enjoy a reading of a popular railroad-themed children's book. Kids can follow along with their own copy of the book. After the reading, explore the museum car and gift shop, then ride the train back to Flemington. While you are in the area, be sure to stop at Northlandz in Flemington. It is a model train museum that has over 100 trains traveling over 8 miles of track. It is a multistory building that you can tour around to see model trains travel through canyons, miniature villages, castles, farms and more. They also have a train you can ride on there as well. Other train themed destinations in New Jersey include Morris Museum model train display, Museum of Transportation’s Pine Creek Railroad in Allaire State Park, Delaware River Railroad Excursions Mine Train Ride, and Whippany Railroad Museum.
Take a step back in time at the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum.
It is a very unique non-profit museum located at the Cape May Airport inside historic Hangar #1. It showcases a number of aircraft (you can even sit in the cockpit of some), engines, special exhibits, and educational interactive displays. The museum invites visitors to explore aviation, New Jersey, military and WWII history through “hands-on,” fun and educational activities for the entire family. Your kids will travel back in time in this 92,000 square foot sampling of the 1940’s. While you are in the area, head to Atlantic City on Aug 13th for the 12th annual “Thunder Over the Boardwalk” airshow. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are back and will be making their renowned rumble over the Boardwalk. Other headliners include the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, a demonstration by a U.S. Navy Harrier Jet and the famous Geico Skytypers.
Take a ferry ride.
The Cape May-Lewes Ferry ride leaves from Cape May and goes down to Lewes, Delaware. Quite often in that area you will see dolphins on your trip. You can take the car and all with you to explore or just yourselves. It’s fun to go just for the boat ride or there is a lot to do once you dock. They have shopping outlets, parks, beaches, and more for the whole family to enjoy. They also do several special events in the summer. Bring the family on Weds from July 10 – Aug 22 at 6 pm sailing for a fun-filled adventure with the ferry's adorable mascot, Lighthouse Pete the Pirate. Pete will be joined by other family entertainment featuring Magician Ken Northriddge and face painting by Snazzy Doodles. Or if you would rather head to NY for the day, check out the Seastreak Ferry. They provide daily year-round ferry services from Atlantic Highlands and Highlands, NJ, to Pier 11 Wall Street, East 35th Street, and shuttle service to the World Financial Center. It is a fun way in the summer to avoid the traffic.