With the days off for the upcoming teacher’s convention next week (aka the unofficial fall break in NJ), the conundrum is—what do you do with the kids? Luckily, there are a bunch of things to do outdoors and in with openings and extra hours during the four days off. Catch the last breath of fall at one of the farm festivals, head to an amusement park you missed this summer, or check out special exhibits at NJ museums that will disappear by the end of the year. And if you are looking for more activities this season, take a peek at our Fall Activities in New Jersey Guide. Scroll down for what you can do to keep kids from feeling bored (and off the screens).
Featured Photo Credit: Liberty Science Center
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Get set for fun during Fall Break in NJ
Hop across the river (Delaware or Hudson)
One of the awesome things about living in NJ is the access to two world-class cities—New York and Philadelphia—that can put you in the heart of each one for a day trip or overnight. Use these days off to explore the NYC classics like the Empire State Building and Central Park Zoo or unique attractions like Little Island or the Museum of Ice Cream in NYC. Or check out the historical sights and museums in the City of Brotherly Love, like Independence Hall and The Franklin Institute, or different Philly spots like Candytopia or Once Upon a Nation Storytelling. And if you don’t want to head to a busy city, New Jersey is full of unique downtowns to explore, from historical Morristown to nostalgic Cape May.
Fall into colorful foliage
Have some fun indoors
If you are looking for something to do indoors for the whole family, why not try a retro arcade, challenge your family to a bowling competition, test your speed at an indoor go kart track, or bounce it out at a trampoline park in NJ? Bowling in NJ is more than just a bunch of lanes—many offer arcades, laser tag, games, and gourmet cuisine that’s come a long way from your grandmother’s bowling alleys. Or, if you are looking to go back in time and introduce your kids to the video games you played as a kid (hello, Donkey Kong), head to a retro arcade in the Garden State. If you’re looking for hours of indoor fun, perhaps this is your chance to visit American Dream Mall in East Rutherford or iPlay America in Freehold.
Get active outdoors
Climb to new heights indoors
Climbing as a family at an indoor rock climbing space is a fantastic way to work on team-building. Children and parents can work together to overcome a difficult wall or conquer unique challenges like blindfolded or three-legged climbing. Or try ziplining during this fall break in NJ— both the Treescape Adventure Park and Liberty Science Center are great spots to visit, and both are open the whole November break weekend.
Explore a state park
Reach the highest point in NJ at High Point State Park in Sussex, or take it easy on 10 miles of sandy beaches at Island Beach State Park in Seaside Park. You can find a state park in NJ without going far—catch the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park spanning several New Jersey counties or take in the fantastic views at Liberty State Park in Jersey City.
Pack in the last few autumn days at a farm
Get your thrills out at area attractions
If you missed out this summer, there are a bunch of amusement parks with special hours for break offering lots of fall fun. Head to Six Flags Great Adventure or Diggerfest at Diggerland USA to indoor amusement park Nickelodeon Universe in the American Dream Mall. Or plan a trip to a famous NJ attraction, like Lucy the Elephant where the time of year means the crowds are less (especially if you go during the week). There are also places in NJ where you don’t have to buy a ticket or pay an entry fee —from the Cape May County Park & Zoo to tours of the governor’s mansion at Drumthwacket—and these free attractions are worth checking out during the days off.
Go on a playground field trip
Playground time is always a good time, and the best part is that you can do it all year round. Instead of heading to the usual places, pack a picnic and take a field trip to playgrounds by the shore, lake, or beach that have awesome themes like castles, jungles, and ships. Heading to the shore? We’ve rounded up the best beach playgrounds to swing and slide over the sand, and if you can’t get to the shore, the Regatta Playground in the South Mountain Recreation Complex overlooking a pond is worth a visit too.
Get lost in space
Sit back, relax, and get lost in space while looking up to the stars above and watching a special film presentation in the domes of New Jersey’s educational and entertaining planetariums. Kids (and parents!) of all ages will get lost in the enchantment of the dome’s crystal clear projection – all while learning something new.
Check out a limited museum exhibit
Now is a great excuse to get to that museum in New Jersey you’ve been wanting to check out. Witness art coming to life indoors and outdoors in the fall weather at the unique Grounds For Sculpture. Or head to Liberty Science Center, where kids can step into the age when dinosaurs roamed with SUE: The T Rex Experience, an interactive special exhibit (ending in early January) that immerses you with the sights, sounds, and smells of dinosaurs.
Get wet indoors
Think waterparks are only a summertime thing? Nope—you can plunge down a waterslide, drift in the lazy river, or get knocked down in the wave pool during fall break in NJ. There are a bunch of indoor waterparks to discover all over the state, including American Dream DreamWorks Waterpark or Sahara Sam’s Oasis in Berlin. Kids will have a ball getting soaked indoors and you’ll all feel like you want on a resort vacay miles away.
Go on a fall weekend road trip
A long weekend road trip has been a long time coming, and sneaking away can be just the thing you need to recharge your family’s batteries. Luckily, there are plenty of family-friendly resorts in and around NJ for all ages and budgets you can drive to in under 2 hours. Whether you want to experience the shore at the Ocean Place Resort & Spa in Long Branch or stay overnight nestled in the mountains at the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY, a little getaway is always a good idea.
See the sea come to life
The temps may be dropping, but there is plenty of sea life to see indoors. From observing brilliant and bright fish at Jenkinson’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant Beach, seeing the sharks up close at the NJ SEA LIFE Aquarium in East Rutherford, or hanging with the hippos at the Camden Adventure Aquarium in Camden, there are a bunch of aquariums in NJ that are perfect for your little sea explorer.
Hang with animal friends
As fall starts to wind down, getting in those last zoos visits without having to bundle up can be a great way to spend the days off. Whatever animals your kids want to see, there’s no shortage of exotic species, wildlife education, and friendly farm petting zoos in the state. Check out what flamingos, lions, bears, and the like are doing at Turtle Back Zoo or Cape May County Zoo. And if fuzzy, soft creatures are more your speed, your littles will love getting to know the gentle alpacas at one of the alpaca farms in NJ.