This January, go seal watching in Monmouth County, visit the Hot Chocolate Open House at Cora Hartshorn Arboretum in Short Hills, or take a first day hike in one of NJ’s many participating state parks, all at no cost to you – because who doesn’t love saving a little after the holiday season.
Here are 30 free events around New Jersey this January:
Historic Smithville Holiday Light Show
Now through January 6, Dusk to 8:30 PM
Enjoy popular holiday songs synchronized to a dazzling Christmas tree light show. These trees “float” over peaceful Lake Meone in the Historic Smithville Village. With over 120 trees and thousands of sparkling lights, this show will keep you in the holiday spirit.
615 East Moss Mill Road, Smithville, NJ
The Craft Farm Christmas Light Show
Now – January 8, Dusk
The Craft Farm Christmas Light Show was created to spread the joy and happiness of Christmas through colorful musical displays. The show runs every year between Black Friday and January 8th and features four Christmas season related songs totaling about 16 minutes in length. Attendees enjoy the show from their cars, they tune to the correct radio station and the show begins!
19 Craft Farm Dr, Bridgewater, NJ
2019 First Day Hikes – New Jersey State Parks
January 1, various times
The New Jersey State Park Service is hosting 20 guided hikes, 2 mountain bike rides, 1 horseback ride, and 1 lighthouse climb in state parks, forests and historic sites on New Year’s Day as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes program. These free First Day Hikes offer a great incentive to get outside, exercise, experience history, enjoy nature, and celebrate the New Year with friends and family in one of your state parks. Check out NJMOM‘s guide to First Day Hikes around New Jersey.
At participating New Jersey State parks
Fire & Ice, Food Trucks & Fireworks
January 1, 12PM – 6PM
Enjoy the first day of the new year with Fire & Ice, Food Trucks & Fireworks. Tuckerton Seaport will be offering complimentary admission for a full day of family-friendly activities, including yummy food trucks and a dazzling fireworks display. Take a sip of the best craft brews from Pinelands Brewing.
The Tuckerton Seaport, 120 Main Street, Tuckerton, NJ
2019 Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge
January 1, 8AM
The 2019 Sons of Ireland Plunge will benefit the following two organizations: Mary’s Place by the Sea(home for women going through cancer treatment) and You Can NOT be Replaced(educates and raises awareness of teen suicide). This event is free to spectate, bring the family out and see who’s freezin’ for a reason this year.
Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ
Brigantine Polar Bear Plunge
January 1, 10AM
The Brigantine Polar Bear 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. Your family will enjoy costume contests and live music. Participation in the plunge is free, but donations are strongly suggested.
Laguna Rum Bar, 1400 Ocean Ave, Brigantine, NJ
Old City Hall Holiday Train
January 4 – 6, Friday and Saturday, 4PM – 8PM, Sunday, 12PM – 8PM
All aboard for some holiday fun. There will be train displays dating back to the early 1900’s, HO trains, O Gauge trains, and a Lego City and Train display. If you missed any holiday gifts for the train lovers in your life, Old City Hall’s Whistle Stop and Shop will be offering an array of items for purchase and collection.
The Old City Hall, 13 Crosswicks Street, Bordentown, NJ
55th Annual Reenactment of the Colonel Hand March
January 5, 10AM – 12PM
Looking to learn history and watch it put into action? Don’t miss the 57th Annual Reenactment of the Col. Hand March. An unsung hero is Edward Hand, a colonel of the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment. Historical programming and musket firings take place at the Municipal Center before a two-mile march along the historic highway leads to a cannon fire at the Shabakunk Creek.
Lawrence Township Municipal Building; 2207 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrence Township, NJ
West Windsor Community Farmers’ Market’s Indoor Farmer’s Market
January 5 & 19, 10AM – 1PM
The Indoor Farmers Market attracts folks from far and wide around amazing local food and producers. Meander throughout the rooms of the Windsor Athletic Club to find winter produce, pastured meats and poultry, fresh seafood, mushrooms, artisan cheeses, sauces, jams, chocolates, wine and much more. Plan on a morning filled with good food, live music, and positive vibes in this warm and inviting communal space.
Windsor Athletic Club-USAWAC; 99 Clarksville Rd, West Windsor, NJ
January 6, 1PM – 3PM
Art Together is a great program for families to explore the amazing world of art and work side-by-side to complete arts and crafts projects. 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
Morris County Farmer’s Market
January 6, 13, 20, & 27, 10AM – 1PM
The Morris County Winter Farmers’ Market is an indoor market your family will love during this frigid winter season. The market features local vendors selling produce, bread, desserts and more. Check out Stefan’s Polish Food or Valley Fall Farm‘s fresh ingredients.
Alexander Hamilton School, 24 Mills Street, Morristown, NJ
Family Fort Night
January 11, 4:45PM – 6PM
The Cranford Public Library will be hosting a “Family Fort Night.” Bring an old sheet or blanket and a pillow and stay in the library past close to create a fort to read in. Who doesn’t love forts? And books? It’s a win-win.
Cranford Public Library, 224 Walnut Avenue, Cranford, NJ
Polar Bear Plunge at Wildwood
January 12, 1PM
The Polar Bear Plunge at Wildwood is so much more than an icy dip into the Atlantic Ocean. Special Olympics New Jersey provides year-round sports training, competition, leadership opportunities and health screenings to more than 25,000 athletes. As always, it’s free to spectate.
Wildwoods Convention Center, 4501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, NJ
Blacksmith Demonstrations at Longstreet Farm
January 13, 1PM – 3PM
While visiting Longstreet Farm, be sure to head to the blacksmith to see this skill in action. It’s a fun way for your littles to learn about older techniques and traditions. The Longstreet Farm has many other fun events too, like Cookstove demonstrations and a mini sewing camp for ages 7 and up.
Historic Longstreet Farm, 44 Longstreet Rd, Holmdel, NJ
Goldfish Swim School Manalapan Family Swim Event
January 13, 4:30PM – 6:30PM
Goldfish Swim School Manalapan is hosting an exclusive event for local families that includes free family swim and facility tours. Meet other families and get in the pool.
Goldfish, 359 U.S. 9, Englishtown, NJ
Story Time with Queen Elsa
January 16, 2PM – 3PM
Enjoy a very special storytime session with everyone’s favorite ice queen, Queen Elsa. Local character actress Nola Bunny will be portraying Queen Elsa and telling fun stories. This event features refreshments, coloring, and lots of Frozen fun.
The Eclectic Chic Boutique, 547 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, NJ
Seals of Monmouth County
January 17, 7PM
A variety of seals come home to Monmouth County each winter, including harbor seals, harp seals, and grey seals. Find out where to see them and when, and other information about the lives and ecology of our local seal population. Bonus: you’ll learn new ways to protect the NJ marine environment.
Bayshore Waterfront Park, 719 Port Monmouth Rd, Port Monmouth, NJ
Family Bingo Night at Keyport Public Library
January 18, 6PM – 9PM
Make memories at family bingo, enjoy free pizza, and enter to win prizes. Space is limited to the first 30 people who sign up. Please reserve a space for each person in your family.
Keyport Free Public Library, 109 Broad Street, Keyport, NJ
North Jersey Orchid Show & Sale
January 18 – 20
The 50th annual North Jersey Orchid Society Show and Sale includes spectacular orchid exhibits and showcases plants grown in homes and greenhouses across the tri-state area. Bring your family to an event that’s covered in flowers – sure to keep you smiling.
100 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ
Rutgers Winter Farm Market
January 19, 11AM – 3PM
The Rutgers Winter Farm Market has become a staple since 2008, providing locally grown and produced meats, cheese, vegetables, poultry, and baked goods. Stroll through this indoor market and find fresh ingredients, make it an interactive dinner night with the kids.
Rutgers Gardens, 112 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, NJ
Bellview Winery’s Winter Wine Weekend
January 19 & 20, 12PM – 5PM
Ring in the new year with family, friends, and vino. Beat cabin fever with wine tasting, special platters just for the weekend, the sounds of acoustic guitar in the tasting room, and a toasty bonfire. Wine tasting is optional at $6 for 8 tastes and a souvenir glass to bring home.
Bellview Winery; 150 Atlantic St, Landisville, NJ
Entrance Fee-Free Day at NJ National Parks
Tie your shoes and spend a day outside with your family. At various parks throughout the Garden State, your family can enjoy free entrance, which only happens about four times a year. This includes the Delaware Water Gap and Pinelands National Reserve.
various parks throughout NJ
Hot Chocolate Open House at Cora Hartshorn Arboretum
January 21, 10:30AM
Spend the day at the arboretum to learn about the exciting things going on in 2019, including their plan to build a nature discovery area. Experts from Wild Birds Unlimited will be teaching everyone how to attract a variety of winter birds to their yards. Take a hike, play a game, hear a story, and enjoy a winter wonderland.
324 Forest Dr S, Short Hills, NJ
Appreciate a Dragon Day
January 23, 6:30PM – 8:30PM
Celebrate “appreciate a dragon day” by watching a movie and crafting your own version of Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. Please register in advance.
Warren County Library, Northeast Branch, 40 US HWY 46 West, Hackettstown, NJ
Haddonfield’s 8th Winterfest Sidewalk Sale
January 24 – 27
Celebrate the start of 2019 with four days of great specials and deals during Haddonfield’s 9th 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
Rotary Polar Plunge and Party
January 26, 9:30AM
Join the Asbury Park Rotary in supporting Holiday Express and Rotary Eye Rescue. Register to plunge, support a plunger or just come and party with the Moroccan Sheepherders. This event, sure to keep you smiling, is free to spectate.
1200 Ocean Ave, 2nd Floor, Asbury Park, NJ
Fire & Ice Festival
January 26, 10AM – 4PM
Downtown Mount Holly will host a Fire & Ice Festival that features ice carvers who will transform 300-pound blocks of ice into beautiful crystalline works of art. Take lots of photos and be sure to use the hashtag: #FandINJ.
Downtown Mount Holly, NJ
Lambertville Historic Walking Tour
January 26, 2PM – 3:10PM
Go on a free walking tour through historic Lambertville with your family. Many of the buildings and roads you will walk were built in the 1800s – take a step back in time, get some fresh air, and get your blood pumping on this tour.
Lambertville Station, 11 Bridge St., Lambertville, NJ
Elisabeth Morrow School’s String Instrument Musical Petting Zoo
February 10, 1PM – 3PM
Children will have the opportunity to play real musical string instruments with professional music teachers along with students who are Musical Mentors. This event features Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, face painting, balloon artists, and STEAM activities.
Port Imperial Ferry Terminal, 4800 Avenue at Port Imperial, Weehawken, NJ
Canal and River Walk
January 27, 2PM
Explore two historic canals and cross the Delaware River on this scenic and informative 2-mile, guided walking tour. See the lift lock and the outlet lock on New Jersey’s D&R Canal and learn how canal boats crossed the river from New Hope to Lambertville. Enjoy the river vistas and then follow the Delaware Canal to Lock 11 and its Locktender’s House where hot chocolate and cookies will be waiting.
Lambertville Station, 11 Bridge St., Lambertville, NJ
Wondrous Winter Walks
January 31, 10AM – 11:30AM
Nature walks are like snowflakes, each one is unique in its own way. Tag along with a Park Naturalist as you explore the serenity that is nature in the wintertime.
Manasquan Reservoir, 311 Windeler Rd, Howell, NJ
Featured images via Gold Fish Swim School Manalapan
More fun things to do this weekend:
10 Outdoor Activities To Do in January and February
Top Romantic Getaways in NJ
13 Top Ice Skating Rinks in New Jersey
10 Best Ski Resorts for Families
Diggerland’s Winterfest at the Park
Aquariums around New Jersey
Museums around New Jersey
Lighthouses around New Jersey
Zoos around New Jersey
Get inspired by NJMOMpreneurs