30 Free Family-Friendly Events in January


The weather is certainly getting chillier in New Jersey, but that won’t keep us inside. Bundle up your little ones and head out to one of these free events happening around the state this month and you’ll be sure to build some unforgettable winter memories together. Be sure to tag us online @NJMOM and #NJMOM for a chance to be featured on our social media.

Food Trucks & Fireworks: Fire & Ice in Tuckerton. via

1. Food Trucks & Fireworks: Fire & Ice
Monday, January 1, 2018 | 12:00PM to 6:00PM

Celebrate the first day of the New Year at Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen’s Museum’s Food Trucks & Fireworks: Fire & Ice Festival. There will be live music, family activities, and a live fireworks display at 6pm.
Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen’s Museum
120 Main Street, Tuckerton, New Jersey 08087

2. Brigantine Polar Bear Plunge
Monday, January 1, 2018 | 10:00AM to 10:00PM

Join the town of Brigantine for their 18th Annual Polar Bear Plunge. The plunge has grown into a major fundraising effort benefiting Fisher House, a charity that provides housing and transportation to wounded military members and their families. Participation in the plunge is free however proceeds raised during the post-plunge will be going to Fisher House.
Laguna Rum Bar
1400 Ocean Ave, Brigantine, New Jersey 08203

3. Turtle Back Zoo Holiday Light Spectacular
Monday, January 1, 2018 | 5:00PM

Take a winter stroll through the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo this new year. The zoo will be adorned with over 50 winter themed decorations and animal characters. In addition, there will be family activities for guests to participate in.
Essex County Turtle Back Zoo
560 Northfield Ave., West Orange, NJ 07052

4. Morris County Winter Farmers’ Market
Monday, January 1 – Sunday, April 15, 2018 | 10:00AM to 2:00PM Sundays Only

The Foodshed Alliance Farmers’ Access Network partnered with the Morris School District to present the Morris County Winter Farmers’ Market. The market will have local produce, meat cheese, honey, baked goods, salsa, jams, jellies, and more.
Alexander Hamilton School
24 Mills Street, Morristown, NJ

NJ First Day Hikes. via

5. 2018 First Day Hikes
Monday, January 1, 2018 | Times vary by location, please click here to view the full schedule and list of participating parks, forests, and historic sites

The New Jersey State Park Service will be celebrating the New Year with First Days Hikes throughout the state. State Parks, Forests, and Historic Sites will be participating in this statewide event with 24 guided hikes, 2 mountain bike rides, and 1 horseback ride. Please check the weather before you leave the house and wear weather-appropriate clothing and sturdy footgear.
Various Parks, Forests, and Historical Sites Around NJ
Please click here to view the full schedule and list of participating locations

6. Rutgers Winter Farm Market
Monday, January 1 – Friday, April 20, 2018 | 11:00AM Fridays Only

The Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences partnered with the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station to present the Rutgers Gardens Farmers’ Market. This market has become a staple since 2008, providing grown and locally produced meats, cheese, vegetables, poultry, and baked goods.
Rutgers Gardens
112 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901

7. Barnes and Noble Weekly Story Time
Tuesday, January 2 – Wednesday, January 3, 2018 | 11:00AM to 12:00PM

Stop by your local Barnes & Noble for a fun Story Time. Kids will be read a story followed by a quick coloring activity.
Barnes and Noble
Multiple locations, please click here to view the full schedule of your local Barnes & Noble’s Story Time

8. Old City Hall Holiday Train
Friday, January 5 – Sunday, January 7, 2018 | 4:00PM to 8:00PM

The Holiday Train Show is stopping at Old City Hall this weekend. There will be trains dating back to the early 1900’s, HO trains, O Gauge trains, and a Lego City and Train display. There will also be door prizes.
The Old City Hall
13 Crosswicks Street, Bordentown, New Jersey 08505

9. Kids Club: Powered by Nat Geo Kids
Saturday, January 6, 2018 | 9:00AM to 10:30AM

Join 94.3 The Point for their monthly Kids Club. This month will feature a Nat Geo Theme, fun activities, and prize drawings. Plus, free Carousel rides will be available until 11 AM.
Freehold Raceway Mall
3710 U.S. 9, Freehold, NJ 07728

10. Battle of the Kegs Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, January 6, 2018 | 12:00PM to 4:00PM

Bordentown Historical Society is excited to celebrate the 240th Anniversary Celebration of the Battle of the Kegs. The entire museum exhibit will be dedicated to this event with activities and crafts for kids and adults, which they can take home with them. Musical performers “The Sea Dogs” will also be performing ballads and dressed in period costumes
The Friends Meeting House Museum
302 Farnsworth Avenue, Bordentown, NJ 08505

11. Patcong Valley Railroad Train Show
Saturday, January 6 – Sunday, January 21, 2018 | Saturdays and Sundays Only 10:00AM to 4:00PM

Visit the Patcong Valley Model Railroad for an hour to two to view the highly detailed, museum quality HO scale model railroads. Let your mind wander and the kiddies dream. There is something to see for everyone at this museum.
Patcong Valley Model Railroad
1315 US-40, Richland, NJ 08350

12. Art Together
Sunday, January 7, 2018 | 11:30AM

Art Together is an great program for families where they will explore the amazing world of art. In each session, an instructor will lead participants through one of the galleries, followed by an arts and crafts project.
Rutgers – Zimmerli Art Museum
71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

13. Lunch with a Master Gardener – Oh Deer!
Thursday, January 11, 2018 | 12:00PM to 1:30PM

Bring a brown bag lunch and discuss the deer population in New Jersey and its effects on the landscape. Get to know your gardening enemy and learn methods of control and plants that are deer resistant.
Big Brook Park – Elsa’s Lodge
521 CR-520, Marlboro, New Jersey 07746

14. 2018 Winter Carnival
Friday, January 12, 2018 | 5:30PM to 8:30PM

Further information to be announced at a later date.
Northfield Parent Teacher Organization
2000 New Rd, Northfield, NJ 08225


North Jersey Orchid Society Show and Sale in New Brunswick. via

15. 51st Annual North Jersey Orchid Society Show and Sale
Friday, January 12 – Sunday, January, 14, 2018 | Friday & Saturday 9:00AM to 5:00PM, Sunday 9:00AM to 4:00PM

The 51st Annual North Jersey Orchid Society Show and Sale will take place during the second weekend in January. It will feature out of this world orchid exhibits, showcasing plants grown in homes and greenhouses across the tri-state area.
Rutgers University – Douglass Student Center
100 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1412

16. Summit Winter Farmers Market
Saturday, January 13 – Saturday, March 31, 2018 | Saturday Only 9:00AM to 12:00PM

The Summit Winter Farmers Market will begin its second season on Saturday, January 13th. There will be high quality, locally produced products your family can choose. Don’t forget to stop at the restaurants, shops, and fitness studios and more in Downtown Summit.
Calvary Episcopal Church
31 Woodland Avenue, Summit NJ 07901

17. Cookstove Demonstration
Saturdays, January 13 & 27, 2018 | 11:00AM to 3:00PM

The Cookestove Demonstration at Historic Longstreet Farm will show families how cooking techniques, recipes, food, and the kitchen itself has changed since the 1890’s.
Historic Longstreet Farm
44 Longstreet Rd, Holmdel, New Jersey 07733

18. Blacksmith Demonstration
Sunday, January 14, 2018 | 1:00PM to 3:00PM

The Blacksmith Demonstration at Historic Longstreet Farm will show families how Blacksmiths forge some of the greatest tools used all around the world.
Historic Longstreet Farm
44 Longstreet Rd, Holmdel, New Jersey 07733

19. Entrance Fee-Free Day at NJ National Parks
Monday, January 15, 2018 | All Day

Tie your shoes and spend a day outside with your family. This event only happens four times a year so don’t miss out on it.
Various Parks throughout NJ

20. Haddonfield’s 8th Winterfest Sidewalk Sale
Thursday, January 18 – Sunday, January 21, 2018 | 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Celebrate the start of 2018 with four days of great specials and deals during Haddonfield’s 8th Annual Winterfest Sidewalk Sale. The sale will be held both in-store and outdoors – making it a true ‘sidewalk’ sale event.
Downtown Haddonfield
2 Kings Court, Haddonfield, NJ 08033

21. Lambertville / New Hope Winter Festival
Saturday, January 20 – Sunday, January 28, 2018 | Times vary by day, please click here to view the full schedule

The Lambertville / New Hope Winter Festival is a 9 day fun filled event including a ice sculptures, concert, chili cook-off, karaoke night, Hawaiian Luau, Winter Fest Blues & BBQ, and Taste of Winter Fest.
Lambertville, NJ

22. New Jersey State Museum – Small Explorers Series
Saturday, January 20, 2018 | 10:00AM to 10:45AM

The Small Explorers Series is held the third Saturday of every month, where participants are exposed to different themes through stories, crafts, and play. Also, if you stay until 11:00AM, kiddies can catch a Planetarium show.
New Jersey State Museum – 2nd Floor Discovery Den
205 West State Street, Trenton, NJ

23. Camp Riverbend “Beach Party” Open House
Saturday, January 20, 2018 | 10:00AM to 12:00PM

Take a break from the cold and visit Camp Riverbend for their Beach Party Open House. Play tropical games, make crafts, partake in cooking activities and even meet the counselors.
Camp Riverbend
116 Hillcrest Road, Warren, NJ

24. Plainsboro Preserve Summer Camp Open House
Saturday, January 20, 2018 | 12:00PM to 3:30PM

Are you looking for summer camps? The Plainsboro Preserve Summer Camp Open House might be your answer. Families will be able to toast some marshallows, visit the camp’s facilities, and make a simple camp craft.
Plainsboro Preserve
80 Scotts Corner Road, Cranbury NJ 08512


Winterfest in Thompson Park in Lincroft. via

25. WinterFest
Saturday, January 27, 2018 | 12:00PM to 4:00PM

Celebrate the winter with your entire family. WinterFest is a fun family day that included cross-country skiing, hands-on activities, wagon rides, arts & crafts, photo opportunities, and living history displays.
Thompson Park
805 Newman Springs Rd, Lincroft, New Jersey 07738

26. 50th Annual Open House at The Rutgers Geology Museum
Sunday, January 27, 2018 | 9:00AM to 3:00PM

Bring your family out to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Geology Museum. There will be educational activities, lectures, arts and crafts, a mineral sale, and free fossil and mineral identification for everyone to enjoy.
Rutgers – Geology Museum
85 Somerset St., New Brunswick, NJ

27. Winter Twilight Exploration
Saturday, January 27, 2018 | 4:30PM to 6:00PM

Enjoy Sandy Hook from dusk to dark with this exploration of Sandy Hook’s trails and beaches. Don’t forget to bring your flashlights so you can see all the wonders the area has to offer.
Gateway National Recreation Area
26 Hudson Rd, Highlands, NJ 07732

28. Meadowlands Home-Style Chili & Salsa Cook-Off
Saturday, January 27, 2018 | 7:00PM to 10:00PM

Get your family’s taste buds going at the Meadowlands Home-Style Chili & Salsa Cook-Off. Taste all the different kinds of chili and cast your vote for the People’s Choice reward.
The Meadowlands Race Track
1 Racetrack Drive, East Rutherford, NJ

29. Wassailing the Apple Trees
Sunday, January 28, 2018 | 1:00PM to 4:00PM

Wassailing is an ancient British tradition of dancing, singing, and chanting to the trees to insure a successful crop for the next season. In addition, guests can makes toasts of hot cider and place gifts of cider-soaked bread in the tree branches in hopes of a successful New Year. Don’t forget to warm yourself next to the bonfire and enjoy the live music. Lastly, remember to bring your noisemakers like drums, whistles, bells, and clackers because the louder the event is, the more fun it will be.
Terhune Orchards
330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton, NJ 08540

30. Celebrate Lunar New Year at the Shops at Riverside
Sunday, January 28, 2017 | 1:00PM to 9:00PM

The Lunar New Year at the Shops at Riverside is celebrating the Year of the Rooster with performances of the Korean Traditional Dance-Choomnoori. Dancers will be dressed in beautiful costumes performing traditional Korean dances, such as the fan dance and a drum dance.
The Shops at Riverside – Level 1 by The Cheesecake
390 Hackensack Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601

About Author

Paula is a short, bubbly writer for NJ Mom, who just graduated from Montclair State University. Everyone calls her Paula except for her family who calls her Pau. She loves to eat Thai food from Four Seasons in South Plainfield, NJ and anything that resembles an empanada (empanadas, samosas, spanakopitas, etc.) In the summer, she enjoys going to the beach with friends and family. At home, she has two blue nose pit bull puppies named Rosie and Rodney, who always have energy. Paula enjoys writing for NJ Mom because she loves sharing all things New Jersey with its readers. She aspires to become a visual merchandiser one day.