Hey there…if you are reading this and classify yourself as a desperate parent of young kids, in need of ideas to keep your kids entertained over the weekends/holidays and have had enough of museums, aquariums, Zoo, Central Park, Broadway, etc. etc. Then BINGO!! You have stumbled upon the right article, written by another desperate mother of two, who has tried everything under the sun…moon and all planets! and has finally come up with this list of top things to do in NJ, tried and tested, this list is a 100% satisfaction guaranteed! It has been a herculean task to get this list together, and the process hasn’t been easy…the kids were subject to a number of tests..by being taken to a million places (most of which recommended by family & friends)…their reactions, facial and verbal noted, calculated and assessed on a scale, carefully designed by ME in my OCD Mommy Lab!!
Not that the activities mentioned above have not been enjoyed, it’s the sheer nature of repetitiveness that makes it boring, for eg, ask my 7 year old if she’d like to visit a zoo and pat comes a reply “I’d rather see them in their natural habitat” (Well your mommy is not that rich to take you to the Amazon or Antarctic yet darling😊), but you get the point!!
Here’s a list of top 5 things to do with kids that have stood the test of time and my patience😉
- Bushkill Falls in Pocono Mountains (Technically PA) Hike, waterfall, boating, fishing…NATURE. My kids particularly are very outdoorsy (thankfully!)…it’s a great place to experience a short comfortable hike with kids.. with fun elements like water falls (there are eight in total and if you choose red trail you can see all eight), well! We didn’t coz we took it slow…rustic bridges, perfect for photo Op,…area has a lake where you can do fishing, there is a shop that sells fishing gear, paddle boating, ice cream shop, lemonade stall…a perfect picnic spot. Place is open from April to November. We went in July…peak season I guess so it was crowded. We had to stand in a long queue for tickets…YES! there is a park admission fee to enter the trail…deal with it! It’s about $18.50 for adults and $8.50 for kids. My kids enjoyed the hike. Here are some pictures as proof!! Here’s a link to the place. https://www.poconomountains.com/listings/bushkill-falls/2069/
Rock climbing: I am talking about indoor rock climbing place called Rockville Climbing Centre. We all have our favourite hangouts/places to go to? For my kids this is it. with us there’s never a moment of “oh another weekend…what should we do”….as long as there is Rockville Climbing Center, I never have to rack my brain😊 It’s a perfect activity for young and old kids (I classify myself as an old kid! It’s the best form of physical activity, one that stimulates their brain, encourages them to use their cognitive skills…once they hit the top they feel a sense of achievement. The wall is the same and the pegs are the same, however fun is in using different climbing style and strategy every time. My daughter thinks she can climb Mt. Everest now coz she has been practicing at Rockville!! Innocently funny, but at least she is thinking about conquering the toughest climb in the world…50% of the job is done! http://www.rockvilleclimbing.com/
- Farm Life: Our favourites, Terhune Orchards, Milburn Orchards and Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm in Pocono Mountains (Quiet Valley is technically not NJ, it’s PA but it deserves to be in the list). Yet again…NATURE!! Back to the roots…farm life…let the kids experience the joy of farming…joy of picking fruits directly from the farm and not Shoprite:-). Feeding farm animals is a pure joy! My younger daughter is an animal lover, all she needs in life is to be surrounded by the love and warmth of friendly animals. As long as she gets that dose we are sorted… we can spend hours at stretch at a farm house! Quiet valley deserves a special mention as it is not any ordinary farm. It is a beautiful quaint place, tucked away in Pocono Mountains. The place transports you back to the time when original Pennsylvania German family lived on the farm from 1700s-1900s. They have kept the place as authentic as possible and that’s the beauty of the place. Period dressed staff, presentation on exotic birds and mammals, pony rides, a 20 min wagon ride to a river, hay jumps, kids games and refreshments makes this place oh so interesting coupled with all beautiful farm animals that you can think of. The farm is open year round, however the last two weeks of May brings something called Farm Frolic, where the kids can touch and see baby animals. Overall a fun place. There is an entry fee, $8 for adults and $5 for kids. Oh and did I mention that we got to see a white crow!! Some pictures from each farm follow as each farm deserves a special space!
Terhune Orchards – http://terhuneorchards.com/
Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm – http://quietvalley.org/
4. Jenkinson’s Family Amusement Boardwalk – Point Pleasant beach. This place has so much to offer…aquarium, arcade, rides, boardwalk lined up with restaurants and all of this right at the beach. Need I say more! Ironically we were so busy enjoying the rides that we forgot to take pictures at the boardwalk:-0. That’s how awesome it is!! I did take a video though while on a rollercoaster, one, it is hazy and two, all you’d hear is high pitched screaming!
5. iPlay America- Super hit with my kids. The place is always packed with people of all ages and at all times of the day. Bowling, Go-kart, Laser Tag, rides, arcade and restaurants. Two things that make it stand out, one, it is indoor and two, it is open till midnight!! Someone there understood the plight of parents too well! Great place for hosting birthday parties. We celebrated my daughter’s 8th birthday and it was amazing. The staff is really nice and arrangements very smooth. Again, no pictures here! Check it out : http://www.iplayamerica.com/
Here are some more activities we have enjoyed thoroughly, unfortunately they only happen once a year
- Night Nation Run- A yearly 5K night time fun run in early May every year. It is running and obstacles combined with music. There are music stations throughout the stretch with one big stage in the end where one can see performances and just groove to the music. This was the first introduction to EDM for my kids and how adults party!! The atmosphere was super eclectic. The tickets cost about $30 per person if you buy much in advance, otherwise $60. You get a Nght Nation Run T Shirt with it.
7. QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning: It’s an annual 3-day event held in July with up to 100 hot air balloons, concerts, crafters, vendors, rides, helicopter ride et all. Parking is a massive issue, other than that a crazy, fun and colorful event. One you shouldn’t miss. Pictures below shall prove!
Apart from this we regularly go to state parks and preserves for nature walks and chasing sunsets!
Enjoy now thank me later😊