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 indoors with openings and extra hours during the week and weekend. 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)
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 with Independence Hall and The Franklin Institute, or different Philly spots like 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
With the weather turning cooler, indoor activities like challenging your family to a bowling competition, testing your speed at an indoor go-kart track, or bouncing it out at a trampoline park in NJ are just some of the things to do inside. Got kids obsessed with gaming consoles at home? Go old school and head to a retro arcade in the Garden State to introduce them to the classics. And if the weather turns chilly, this may be your chance to finally visit American Dream in East Rutherford, iPlay America in Freehold, or any of the malls in New Jersey.
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 Trescape Adventure Park and Liberty Science Center are great spots to visit, and both are open the whole November break weekend.
Explore a state park
If you missed it this summer, now is the time to pack a picnic with your crew and scout out a state park in NJ without going far. Whether it’s climbing the highest point in NJ at High Point State Park in Sussex, leisurely strolling along 10 miles of sandy beaches at Island Beach State Park in Seaside Park, or taking in the stunning views at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, there’s no shortage of diverse landscapes to explore.
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 the fall break in NJ offering lots of fall fun. Head to Six Flags Great Adventure or Diggerfest at Diggerland USA to the indoor amusement park Nickelodeon Universe in American Dream. Or plan a trip to a famous NJ attraction, like Grounds For Sculpture, 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. Or, if you are looking for the unusual, explore one of the unique places to visit in New Jersey, where you can see everything from the longest boardwalk in the world to the world’s largest lightbulb.
Go on a playground field trip
Playground time is always a good time, and instead of heading to the usual places, take a field trip to playgrounds by the shore, lake, or beach. Many have fantastic themes like castles, jungles, and ships, and they are worth the drive for a different experience. 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 coast, the Regatta Playground in the South Mountain Recreation Complex overlooking a pond is the next best thing to being on the water.
Soar into 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 –and learn about science and space without opening a book.
Check out a limited museum exhibit
Now is a great excuse to check out a museum in New Jersey you’ve been wanting to see. Witness art coming to life indoors and outdoors in the fall weather at the unique Grounds For Sculpture, see Stella, the giant dinosaur at Monmouth Museum, learn everything to know about insects at Insectropolis, or discover the Science Behind Pixar or Wild Kratts Ocean Adventure at Liberty Science Center—two of their newest exhibits this fall.
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 and Big Kahuna’s Water Park in Berlin. Kids will have a ball getting soaked indoors, and you’ll all feel like you went on a resort vacay miles away. Travel a little further to the new Great Wolf Lodge in Perryville, MD, if you are looking for a getaway to stay and play at.
Go on a fall weekend road trip
Sneaking away from a busy fall schedule can be just what 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, stay overnight nestled in the mountains at the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY, or have an incredible time building and playing at LEGOLAND New York Resort in Goshen, 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 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 winds down, getting in those last zoo visits without bundling up is an ideal 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. 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. Or try something new and experience horseback riding in NJ, where you and your littles can take a class, ride on a trail, or take a group lesson.
Have some indoor entertainment
If it’s a chilly day and you want to keep the fam indoors, make it a day of indoor entertainment. Step back in time at Medieval Times or power up at Dave and Buster’s for a day of gameplay. LIttles can run loose at an indoor play space, and older kids will get that energy out by zapping the competition at one of the laser tag places all over the Garden State.
What are you planning to do over your fall break in NJ?
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