It's Spring, what's open and welcoming families? Here’s a guide to fun things to do this Spring 2022. Whether you’ve opt for an OUTDOOR adventure, or are seeking indoor fun, we’ve listed some great ways to spend your pent up energy. Explore history, visit a seaport, walk through a village, or go back in time. There are so many in-person options to explore.
SPEND A DAY WITH WILDLIFE
Every loves animals, and now that Spring is here, many are coming out of hibernation. Visit a zoo you haven't been to or visit a wildlife refuge center. POPCORN PARK ZOO in Forked Way serves as a refuge for wildlife in Southern Jersey. Every animal is a rescue animal with a unique background. See cougars, bobcats, deer, black bears as well as a many farm animals. LAKOTA WOLF PRESERVE in Columbia is a unique animal sanctuary, home to wolves, foxes and bobcats. Check out what the lions and bears are doing at Turtle Back Zoo or drive Thru Six Flags Safari. For more ideas, read our Guide to NJ Area Zoos & Wildlife Habitats.
SEE CHERRY BLOSSOMS
Spring time is the best time to see Cherry Blossoms in the greater New Jersey area and in neighboring states. The color range of these cherry trees are amazing, from vibrant pink to gorgeous white. Cherry Blossoms are Japan’s symbolic national flower and represents friendship. The Cherry Blossom blooming season is short, usually lasting only 2 weeks. Find our list of The Best Cherry Blossom Festivals that are family friendly with great activities for kids of all ages.
ENGAGE IN WATER
THE WATERSHED INSTITUTE in Pennington is where you can see and learn all about protecting and keeping our water and environmental clean and safe. Walk through trails, visit the butterfly house and the organic farm and engage in the center’s programs. Visit The GREAT FALLS in Paterson and listen to the power of water. In the heart of Paterson, you'll find this majestic 77-foot waterfall surrounded by a Historical National Park. Ancient geology created this wonder. See more than 2 billion gallons of rushing water, then explore the grounds and take in the view of the Falls from different vantage points in the park. It's free and grounds are open daily from sunrise to sunset. For fun in the water, go to MOUNTAIN CREEK WATERPARK in Vernon, and experience the high tide wave pool, or thunder run, or alpine rush. For a slower relaxed experience, sit in the lazy river, plus enjoy the spray ground, and a fishing village.
GO ON A BIKE TRAIL
Biking is the best way to get exercise and explore. Depending on your riding experience, sticking to paved bike trails or pathways is a good option. Here are some of the Best Kid Friendly NJ Bike Trails. They make good day trips. These selected bike trails are wide enough and long enough to provide a good biking experience for kids of all ages. For some trails you may have to drive some distance but they are all worth it.
CONNECT WITH NATURE
It's time to get outdoors and smell the flowers. From nature centers, villages, zoos, to gardens, walks and hikes, here are out of the box ideas to get you outside. Enjoy our list of 22 outdoor activities that will connect you closer with nature. Best of all, these are FREE! Make it a day trip for the whole family. Read our big list of The Great Outdoors: Guide to Parks, Nature Trails and Gardens. ARBORETUMS are welcoming visitors to enjoy their outdoor trails and gardens; connect with nature and enjoy family-friendly programming at these nature centers. Many host seasonal crafts, story time, and maple sugaring events.
Admire Statue Liberty opened year round. Free daily guided tour lasts approximately 30-minutes, and takes visitors around the grounds of Liberty Island. Learn about the island’s history, and about busy New York Harbor. Park rangers will provide answers to many questions. Then visit ELLIS ISLAND, America’s largest and most active immigration station from 1892 to 1924, where over 12 million immigrants were processed. On average, the inspection process took approximately 3-7 hours. For the vast majority of immigrants, Ellis Island truly was an “Island of Hope”. For the rest, it became the “Island of Tears” - a place where families were separated and individuals were denied entry into the United States. Read The “STORIES” of Ellis Island’s ‘unsung’ immigrants. If you're in NYC, visit the TENEMENT MUSEUM gives interactive tours of historic tenement buildings on the Lower East Side of NYC where hundreds of immigrants lived. Virtual tours are now available. Take Statue Cruises, operating daily, to Ellis Island, 911 memorial and museum.
ENJOY SPACESHIPS, BOATS, TRAINS AND PLANES
THE NEW JERSEY MUSEUM OF BOATING in Point Pleasant is here to educate today’s youths on the history of boating in New Jersey. Several programs are available to children including basic boating safety, sailing for kids, and family boat building. See an inside look at the boats built in New Jersey and the related marine equipment and materials traditionally used. Also look for the 11 miniature historic lighthouses of NJ.
BUEHLER CHALLENGER & SCIENCE CENTER in Paramus offers simulated space missions that feel extremely real. Imagine traveling to Mars as an astronaut, or being on a ship and in mission control.
AVIATION HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM in Teterboro has real live aircraft, helicopters, airplane models, and the museum’s custom built “Fundamentals of Flight” interactive aerodynamics exhibit. Attend their open cockpit outdoor event April 23, 2022, and learn why they are one of the top 10 museums in the state.
BATTLESHIP NJ in Camden, is opened for tours. Experience a Fire Power tour of our nation’s most decorated battleship. Guests touring the ship can check out the massive 16-inch gun turrets, track a tomahawk missile in the Combat Engagement Center, learn how the crew lived aboard this floating city and more! Scout troops, school groups, youth organizations and families can even spend a safe night aboard the Battleship.
NORTHLANDZ in Flemington is unique train attraction for enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike, and appropriate for all ages. Walk through 16 acres on a self guided tour of the Guinness Book of World Records' Largest Model Railroad. Explore a 94-room Doll mansion, La Peep Doll House, as well as a 2,000 pipe theatre pipe organ, and fine art galleries throughout.
GET READY FOR DINOSAURS
FIELD STATION: DINOSAURS will be opening up May 28, 2022 in Leonia. Go back in time and imagine these creatures. With over 30 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs in a natural environment surrounded by one of North America’s most important bird estuaries, you will walk through dinosaur lined trails and experience a Jurassic Park in New Jersey. Come face-to-face with dinosaurs.
SEATON HACKNEY in Morristown will introduce you to all aspects of horses. Spend a day with horses.
SEE A PERFORMANCE
After 2 years of remote performances, these venues are now welcoming you back with in person performances. NJ PAC in Newark has upcoming family programs: Peppa Pig 3/30, Disney Princesses 4/13, Magician Michael Carbonara 4/16, Alvin Ailey American Dance 5/6-8. STATE THEATRE NEW JERSEY in New Brunswick has upcoming family shows in their fully renovated theater: Peppa Pig 4/3, Riverdance 4/19-21, PaddingtonGets in a Jam 4/23, Star Wars 5/12, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 5/13-15, Blue Man Group 5/24-26. They have discounted tickets with they Buy More program.
PLANETARIUMS AND EXHIBITS
RVCC PLANETARIUM in Branchburg takes you on a trip to outer space. See day and night skies from Earth. Watch stars and planets visible in tonight’s sky. Astronomy shows, laser concerts, and sensory friendly programs. Ocean County College NOVIN PLANETARIUM in Toms River has movie in a full dome, sky talks, and laser shows. Visit NEWARK MUSEUM OF ART'S DREYFUSS PLANETARIUM, a spectacular interactive theater for learning about astronomy, space, and planetary science.
EXPLORE A VILLAGE!
BATSTO VILLAGE dates back to 1766, is a preserved-in-time village with museum, sawmill, gristmill, post office and more, is open to all for free. Guided tours are available. Hammonton, NJ
HISTORIC VILLAGE AT ALLAIRE is a living history museum. Once an iron-producing factory town, the village is now an interactive museum welcoming visitors to experience history directly through hands-on activities. Farmingdale, NJ
HISTORIC COLD SPRING VILLAGE interpreters in period clothing will guide you as you explore 26 restored, historic buildings. Lower Township, NJ
DOUBLE TROUBLE VILLAGE
Tour 14 original historic structures dating back to the 19th century, including a general store, schoolhouse and cottages. Bayville, NJ
VISIT THE AQUARIUM
ADVENTURE AQUARIUM - Explore the fascinating underworld. One free child ticket with paid adult ticket.
ART IN THE GARDENS
GROUNDS FOR SCULPTURE-
A sculpture garden, arboretum, and museum. Experience a 42-acre landscaped park and its seasonal transformation; engage with new sculptures throughout the landscape with nearly 300 sculptures on view.
MOVEN MUSEUM AND GARDEN - Open Wed through Sundays with timed tickets.
STORM KING ART CENTER - Get outside and experience art in nature. But advance tickets for Saturday or Sunday visits 10am-4:30pm. New Windsor, NY.
INTERACTIVE MUSEUMS AND FAMILY FUN ENTERTAINMENT
AMERICAN DREAM is a theme park and shopping spectacle and family fun destination. Spend the entire day at this 3 million square feet destination. You'll find a waterpark, down hill ski, aquarium, playland, skating rink, arcade, theme park and more.
IMAGINE THAT!!! CHILDREN’S MUSEUM - General Admission Tues - Sun - with Special Appearances at Weekend events. East Hanover.
SAHARA SAMS - Reserve a one day ticket or season pass to visit the indoor waterpark. West Berlin.
MONSTER MINI GOLF -
Reserve your optional tee time! Swing your way to non-stop fun. Unique mini golf experience with 18 holes of glow-in-the-dark mini golf. Play in a state-of-the-art-arcade and enjoy a laser maze. Fairfield 973.244.0026, Paramus 201.261.0032,
IPLAY AMERICA- Reserve tickets to this indoor amusement park full of rides for all ages, including go-karts, minibowling, carousel, rollercoaster, skyscraper, laser tag, 4D theater, arcade, and new ride - Reverse Time. Freehold.
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