It’s a three-day weekend ahead, and with it, plenty of family-friendly things to do outdoors and in. Take a guided tour of Turret II on the Battleship NJ in Camden, splash around at American Dream, find out the Scoop on Sloths at Jenkinson’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant, or honor Martin Luther King Jr. with a Day of Service in Nature in Princeton. And for more things to do with the fam, check out our guide to free stuff to do this month and 14 ways to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this week.
Featured Photo Credit: Jenkinson’s Aquarium
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(Note: Since COVID-19 rules and regulations are continually changing, it’s best to check ahead for in-person events)
American Dream Winter Dream Pass
Spend your long weekend with American Dream! The Winter Dream Pass offers more parks, more fun, more savings for all the winter holiday fun—splash around the DreamWorks Water Park in 81-degree weather and ride world-record breaking coasters at Nickelodeon Universe. Purchase the Winter Dream Pass to get admission to both parks and save over 25% off your total ticket price.
1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ 07073
Evening Guided Tours: Turret II Battleship NJ
January 14 at 6 PM
Take a 90-minute, family-friendly, walking tour through the five stories of one of Battleship New Jersey’s 16″ gun turrets. Stand in the armored gun house where the gun captain oversaw reloading procedures and more. This experience is fun for all ages, with hands-on elements for guests to see and feel what it was like for a World War II crew member to fire the ship’s guns. Note: Tickets are limited and will sell out quickly.
Cost: $25 for children and $30 for adults
62 Battleship Place, Camden, NJ 08103
Polar Bear Plunge for the Special Olympics at Wildwood
January 15, registration opens at 10 AM
Get to the beach in Wildwood to plunge into the frigid Atlantic Ocean and know that you are supporting thousands of registered Special Olympics New Jersey athletes. Have fun, get dressed up in costumes, use plunge props, and make banners and signs. There is a virtual option too.
Cost: Register online for $25 to get started and set up a customizable fundraising page, the $25 registration fee counts toward the minimum. You can add an additional donation during the checkout process to get you there.
Wildwoods Convention Center – 4501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, NJ 08260
Scoop on Sloths at Jenkinson’s Aquarium
January 15 from 5:30 PM – 6 PM
Two-toed sloths spend most of their lives hanging upside down from trees. Meet Wally, the sloth, and find out why they do that and more. And right before the program, you can visit the aquarium on your own first, starting at 5 PM.
Cost: $30 Adults (13 years and up), $20 Children (Ages 5 – 12); pre-registration and payment is required.
300 Ocean Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742
Guided Nature Hike
January 15, 20, 23, and 29 at 12:30 PM and January 13 and 27 at 10 AM
Celebrate the winter season on a 1.5-2 mile guided nature hike for ages 8 and older. Make sure to dress for the weather, and you can bring Fido too (as long as he’s on a leash). Call on the day of the event to check for weather cancellation.
Cheesequake State Park, Trailhead Parking area, 287 State Park Road, Matawan, NJ 07747
Winter Geology Hike
January 16 at 1 PM
Bring the kids (ages 6 and up) to take an easy to moderate hike through the forest to focus on geology. Survey the landscape, look for geologic clues, examine the minerals, and learn the unique geologic history across New Jersey and Weis.
Cost: $8, This is non-refundable. In case of inclement weather, the program will be rescheduled.
The New Weis Center for Education, Arts & Recreation, 150 Snake Den Road, Ringwood, NJ 07456
A Day of Service In Nature
January 17 at 9 AM
Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by spending a day in nature working on the Riparian Restoration Project: Restore the Lakeshore at the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve. Volunteers will remove invasive plants species and install deer-exclusion caging around native tree and shrub saplings. All ages are welcome, and a parent must accompany children under 16.
Cost: Free; complete a waiver form and click here to complete the volunteer form (add “MLK DAY” to the Other Information section).
Mountain Lake House Parking lot, 57 Mountain Ave, Princeton, NJ 08540, and then walk over to the project site as a group
National Day of Service at Reeves-Reed Arboretum
January 17 at 9 AM
School-aged children and their families can stop by the Arboretum (on the patio outside the Stackhouse Education Center) to pick up supplies to create Valentine cards for Essential Workers in the community. Complete your card at home and return it to the Arboretum any time before February 10 in the container outside the Stackhouse Education Center.
Reeves-Reed Arboretum – 165 Hobart Ave, Summit, NJ 07901
10th Annual Scotch Plains Fanwood MLK Day of Service
January 17, Online 10 AM and In-Person at 11 AM
Families are welcome to join the Scotch Plains/Fanwood community to learn, remember, and volunteer. Volunteer, learn, and donate opportunities will be between 11 AM – 5 PM.
Virtual, Drop-off, and distant Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA – 1340 Martine Ave, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076
Celebrate the Art & Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the Arts Council of Princeton
January 17 at 10 AM
This event features a grab-and-go breakfast, family-friendly art-making, and a canned food drive. Please RSVP.
Center for the Arts – 102 Witherspoon St., Princeton, NJ 08542
National Maternal Health Awareness Day: Positive Pandemic Pregnancies
Learn about the importance of prenatal care, how to keep mom and baby well amid COVID-19, how to keep baby well should mom test COVID positive, if a mother can breastfeed COVID positive, the recommended wellness care, the benefits of breastfeeding, and prevention strategies.
Contact: Sophia Viamonte, RN-BSN, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant
Sponsoring Facility: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset and offered in collaboration with Friends Health Connection
King George’s Winter Walk
Run, walk, or roll 22 miles from the Twelfth Night (January 6) 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
Let it Glow: A Lantern Spectacular
Now-January 30, Thursday through Sunday starting at 4 PM
Take an enchanting stroll through the Bergen County Zoo to see over 30 scenes of handmade delight and the animals that live there. You can even hop aboard the train. This event is separate from Winter Wonderland in the park and requires a separate admission ticket.
Cost: $15 for adults, $7.50 for children, under 2 is free
216 Forest Avenue, Paramus, NJ 07652
Grounds For Sculpture Night Forms
Now-February 27, select dates at 5 PM
Glowing trees, sounds, art—it’s a multi-sensory experience at Grounds For Sculpture. Night Forms: dreamloop by Klip Collective takes place after hours, and it is a combination of video projection, light, sound, and storytelling.
Cost: $14 and up
80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619
Tuesdays-Sundays in January and February
Head to an adorable winter wonderland featuring live bands, firepits, igloo rentals, skating, sleigh rides, and more packed with family fun. A part of the proceeds supports Harbaugh House, a foundation that helps displaced families with the resources and tools they need to get back on their feet.
Cost: Tuesday-Wednesday $5 Thursday- Sunday $10, ice skating, igloos, and fire pits areas are extra
174 Route 77 Mullica Hill, NJ 08062
Morris County Winter Farmers’ Market – Grow It Green
Now-March 27 (except December 26) 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 holiday season as the grounds of Cape May’s only Victorian House Museum. The Emlen Physick Estate will be lit up and glowing. Join the Winter Wonderwalk to walk the grounds and view these fun and whimsical display of winter’s past. And continue the festivities by walking along the streets of Cape May’s decorated homes.
1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ 08204
RWJBarnabas Health: 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 Taste Testers in Hannah’s Kitchen, a Mommy and Me style class for 2-4-year-olds.