Love is all around this Valentine’s Day weekend, giving you the perfect excuse to spend some quality time with the ones you love most. And there are so many ways to do it—get fresh air outdoors at the Maple Sugar Celebration in Somerset, learn about the mystical fairies at the Winter Fairy Festival in Pennington, and sample the best of the best at the Chili and Chowder Cookoff in Cape May.
featured image via The Watershed Institute
Here are 7 family-friendly things to do this weekend in New Jersey:
Maple Sugar Celebration
February 15, 10AM – 3PM
It’s Valentine’s Day weekend, so that means indulging in the sweet stuff— especially our favorite pancake topping. Learn about the entire maple sugaring process at this celebration that includes tastings too (YUM). When you arrive, you can take a nature hike that focuses on wildlife and hear about tree identification, best forestry practices, and climate change as it relates to the Sugar Maple and our native forests. And be sure to watch the live demonstrations and experience the flavor of pure NJ delicious syrup.
1112 Dukes Pkwy W, Hillsborough, NJ
Cost: Free, advance tickets highly recommended
Kids Club: Valentine’s Celebration
February 15, 11AM – 1PM
Keep the holiday going at iPlay America where kids can decorate a Valentine’s Day cookie, enjoy free fudge samples, get BOGO ride passes, glitter tattoos and have a ball running around. When you need a break, stop by the Gametime Bar and Grill for adult and kid beverages and meet the Snow Queen for photos.
110 Schanck Rd, Freehold, NJ
Cost: Free with admission to Kids Club
Winter Fairy Festival
February 15, 11AM – 1PM
Littles can dress up in their fairy best wings and learn all about the mystical creatures at this lively festival. Inside, there will be dancing, magical games, winter tales and crafts making fairy art. Outside, you can walk among the winter woods on the many trails near the center and take part in a fairy exploration too.
The Watershed Institute
31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington, NJ
Cost: $10.00, no charge under 2 years old.
Planetarium Valentine’s PJ Party Shows
February 15, 11AM – 2PM
Kids will love staying in their PJs all day (and it makes it way easier to get out the door) at this party under the stars. First, you and your littles will make a Valentine-themed craft, then head into the “night” at the planetarium for an interactive tour of the sky, including lights, lasers, and songs, that the whole family will enjoy.
Robert J. Novins Planetarium
Toms River, NJ
Cost: $10 for all patrons age 3 and up. Shows for 6 and under (30-minute show) and 6 and up (45-minute show).
Summer in Winter Carnival
Sunday, February 16, 12PM – 4PM
Summer may be months away, but you can still have summer fun inside. Bring the entire fam to this carnival that features boardwalk favorites like Skee Ball and Milk Can toss, as well as kid-friendly food like chicken fingers, french fries, popcorn and chocolate chip cookies. Littles will have a ton of fun getting their face painted, watching a magic show and dancing to a DJ.
The Mainland Kitchen + Pub
151 New Jersey 72
Stafford Township, NJ
Asbury Park Vegan Pop-Up Shop
February 16, 11AM – 5PM
Hoping your kids will try some new foods that aren’t junk? Come check out over 35 vendors offering plant-based, gluten-free and clean food treats and yummy beverages at this all-day food festival. There will be plenty of samples to try—and your littles may just find a new mealtime favorite that doesn’t come in a dinosaur shape.
1300 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ
Cost: $5 in advance, $10 at the door
10th Annual Cape May Chili & Chowder Cookoff
February 16, 12PM – 3:30PM
Two winter comfort food favorites go head to head at this annual event, which will feature over 20 tastings of chili and chowder. After you try and decide winners (there’s also a cash bar on hand should you need to wash it down with a beer), peruse the vendors where there will be crafts, handmade gifts and much more for sale.
The Grand Hotel of Cape May
1045 Beach Avenue, Cape May, NJ
Cost: $10, kids under 10 are free
February 16, 1PM – 3PM
Bring the whole fam to this themed skating party where you can race around the rink as many times as you like and snap selfies along the way (superheroes will be gliding by for photo ops). The party continues off the ice—there will be pizza, hot chocolate, meet and greets with the characters, and superhero-themed activities for all.
Middletown Sports Complex
214 Harmony Road, Middletown, NJ
Cost: Adults $10, Kids $25 and kids under 2 free. Cost includes skating, rentals, pizza, and hot chocolate.