We won’t know until February 2 whether winter will be short or linger on, but there are plenty of FREE things to do with the fam all month long. Celebrate Groundhog’s Day with local legend Milltown Mel in Milltown, watch dancers, make crafts and enjoy stories at the Lunar New Year Celebration in Metuchen, or check out ice sculptures, firepits, and chocolate vendors at the Fire and Ice Festival in New Egypt. And for more ideas to do this winter, don’t forget to check out our winter activities guide.
Featured Photo Credit: istock.com/Aleksandr Bushkov
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(Note: Since COVID-19 rules and regulations are continually changing, it’s best to check ahead for in-person events)
Milltown Mel – Groundhogs Day
February 2 at 6:45 AM
Bundle up and check out the real deal when the legendary groundhog Milltown Mel predicts whether we will see an end to winter or another six weeks of cold weather. Attendees are recommended to arrive just before 7:00 AM to wait for Milltown Mel to wake up and make his prediction.
Joyce Kilmer American Legion Post 25 – 4 JFKennedy Drive, Milltown, NJ 08850
Arts Institute of Middlesex County’s Black History Month
Wednesdays in February at 4:30 PM
Grab your littles and kiddos for afternoon storytime with a DIY craft with the Civic League of Greater New Brunswick. Listen to Dave The Potter, The Sweet and Sour Animal Book, Why Mosquitos Buzz In People’s Ears, and Dancing In The Wings.
Winter Beach Walk at Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area
February 4 at 11 AM
Get ready to collect some shells and natural treasures during the winter beach walk in Manasquan. A Park System Naturalist will take you on a guided walk. Make sure to dress warmly.
391 Third Avenue, Manasquan, NJ 08736
Tap The Sugar Maples
February 5 at 10 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM, 2 PM, and 3 PM
The banks of Moore’s Creek are filled with sugar maple trees and even more at the foot of the Baldpate Mountain. Join Howell’s Farm for a lesson on tapping backyard maple trees and making syrup at home.
70 Woodens Lane, Hopewell Township, NJ 08530
Lunar New Year Lion Dance
February 6 at 1 PM and 4 PM
Observe the magic of the traditional lion dance to offer good luck and fortune in the Lunar New Year at Bridgewater Commons. Fong’s Hung Ga Kung Fu Association will be on hand to treat visitors to a lively performance celebrating the Year of the Tiger. Don’t miss the chance to take photos at the event and receive special gifts too.
Bridgewater Commons, Center Court (Lower Level near Pottery Barn), 400 Commons Way, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
Wonderous Winter Walk
Manasquan Reservoir, February 9 at 10 AM and Clayton Park, February 23 at 10 AM
Bundle up and lace up your boots—a Park System Naturalist will guide you through the wintry park. This event is open to all ages, but under 18 must be with an adult.
Manasquan Reservoir – 331 Georgia Tavern Road, Howell, NJ 07731 (732) 751-9453
Clayton Park – 161 Emley’s Hill Road, Upper Freehold, NJ 08526 (609) 259-5794
A Tiger New Year
February 10 at 4:30 PM
Visit the Somerville library for a drop-in program all about tigers to celebrate the 2022 Lunar New Year.
35 West End Avenue, Somerville, NJ 08876
Bark, Branches, and Buds
February 10 and 14 at 3:30 PM
Identifying trees in winter can be difficult without the leaves to help you, but differences in bark, buds, and branching patterns can become apparent once you begin to look closely. Learn the tricks to identify trees on a guided walk with a naturalist.
Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area, 472 Boonton Avenue, Montville Township, NJ 07045 (Intersection of Mars Court and Boonton Avenue)
Old-Fashioned Valentine’s Day at Howell Living History Farm
February 12 at 10 AM
Cozy up for Valentine’s Day ride on a two-seater sleigh or carriage, or families can take a bobsled or hay wagon. There will be soup on the stove, and a children’s craft is available for a small fee between 11 AM and 3 PM.
70 Woodens Lane, Hopewell Township, NJ 08530
Metuchen Lunar New Year
February 12 at 11 AM – 1 PM
Come to Town Plaza in Metuchen to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Learn about the culture, watch Lion Dancers, and enjoy crafts and stories at this family event.
Downtown Metuchen, NJ 08840
Asbury Park Valentine’s Bazaar 2022
February 12 at 12 PM
Shop local and regional vendors selling goods and gifts handmade with love at both The Asbury Hotel and Grand Arcade of Convention Hall. There will be handcrafted jewelry, art, home goods, and chocolates for your Valentine’s Day sweetheart.
The Asbury Hotel – 210 5th Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
Grand Arcade of Convention Hall – 1300 N. Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
Winter Tree ID: It’s NUTS!
February 12 at 1 PM
Learn how to identify some tree species by looking at their leaves, bark, buds, and nuts. Determine the age of a tree and learn about the many products we make from trees. Test your newfound knowledge into the park and see if you can identify the tree species in Roebling Park.
Tulpehaking Nature Center, 157 Westcott Ave., Hamilton, NJ 08610
Black History Month Pop Up
February 12 at 11 AM
Support local Black-owned businesses at this maker and artisan pop-up market. Shop from vendor stalls, discover new businesses in the area, and then grab something to eat with the fam.
Pop Up Next Door, 1169 Elizabeth Avenue, Elizabeth, NJ 07201
Valentine’s at Historic Walnford
February 12-13 at 12 PM
Make your own valentine and get inspired by the historic 19th century Valentine’s on display at Historic Walnford.
62 Walnford Road, Upper Freehold, NJ 08501
Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge
All children ages 12 and under will receive free admission to the refuge when they bring a handmade Valentine to one of the resident animals.
4 Sawmill Road, Medford, NJ 08055
February 18 at 3 PM
Take a 45-60 minute interactive program that will teach you all about nature on the move. Learn through games and activities along the way. Meet at Shark River Park in the main parking area.
1101 Schoolhouse Road, Wall, NJ 07753
February 19 at 9 AM at Freneau Woods Park, February 20 at 9 AM at Huber Woods Park, and February 22 at 9 AM at Crosswicks Creek Park
In celebration of the Great American Backyard Bird Count, search for winter birds with a Park System Naturalist and learn how to identify different birds along the way.
Freneau Woods Park – 360 Monastary Lane, Aberdeen, NJ 07747 – (732) 264-7277
Huber Woods Park – 25 Brown’s Dock Road, Locust (Middletown), NJ 07760 – (732) 872-2670
Crosswicks Creek Park – County Route 537, Upper Freehold, NJ 08514 (609) 259-5794
February 19 and 26 at various times
Help farmers collect sap in the woods, make syrup in the sap house, and taste whole wheat pancakes after visiting the farmhouse kitchen. Visitors can learn how to maple sugar in their backyard.
70 Woodens Lane, Hopewell Township, NJ 08530
February 20 at 8 AM
Explore the New Egypt Flea Market to see ice sculptures, hang by the firepit, and taste handmade chocolates. There will also be a Pet Adoption at Doggie Sweets. The rain dates are February 25 and 27.
933 Monmouth Road, Cream Ridge, NJ 08514
February 20 and 21 at 12 PM
Ice Sculpture Philly will be back for a two-day live ice sculpting event in Palmer Square. You can watch giant ice blocks transform into 3D figures. Princeton University’s all-male a cappella group, the Tigertones, will also be there to entertain the crowd.
On the Green at Palmer Square, 40 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542
February 27 at 2 PM
Bring the whole family to this event with vendors, giveaways, performances, games, and more. There will be a painting activity for kids with Mr. Aidoo. This event is free.
The YMCA Turell Gymnasium, 314 Williams St., East Orange, NJ 07017
Various dates and times in February
All month long, kids can celebrate Black History Month with various events. Take a Black History Month Trivia Challenge virtually, try a Black History Month Make & Take Craft at the Brick Branch, teens can Blind Date a Book at the Jackson Branch where they choose a wrapped book and unwrap it at home to discover which one they got. Learn about the first black astronaut, Mae Carol Jemison, at the Stafford Branch or participate in a Black History Month Family Book discussion at the Manchester Branch.
Various locations in Ocean County
King George’s Winter Walk
Run, walk, or roll 22 miles at your own pace through Washington’s Birthday (February 22). This walk is open for all ages. Return a completed walker’s log by March 1 to enter a lottery for a Washington’s Birthday surprise.
Cost: Donations appreciated
Morris County Winter Farmers’ Market – Grow It Green
Now-March 27 at 9:30 AM
The Morris County Winter Farmers’ Market features more than 20 farmers and local food vendors to develop a local food system that patrons can eat locally and seasonally. There will be freshly grown produce, farm-raised beef, pork and poultry and fresh seafood, baked goods, farm eggs, and so much more.
Convent Train Station, Convent Road, Morris Township, NJ 07960
Now–into Winter 2022
Wrap yourself in the warmth of the season as the grounds of Cape May’s only Victorian House Museum—the Emlen Physick Estate—will be lit up and glowing all winter. Take a self-guided walk on the grounds and view these fun and whimsical display of winter’s past.
1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ 08204
RWJBarnabas Health: Virtual Cooking Classes for Kids
Dates and times vary depending on the program
Kids of all ages will love cooking up healthy treats in these virtual hands-on cooking classes (adult supervision required during class): Try Healthy Kids in Hannah’s Kitchen for kids 8-12, where they’ll learn to use a recipe, cook with nutritious ingredients, and utilize kitchen basics or try My First Cooking Class in Hannah’s Kitchen, a beginning cooking class for 4-7-year-olds.