This month, there are lots of free events to keep you and family from feeling trapped inside: Check out the bonfire and fireworks at the Warren Recreation Winter Festival, learn about MLK and his mission at the Newark Museum Lift Every Voice Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., or sample chili and watch ice carving in real time at the Fire & Ice Festival in Mount Holly.
Here are 9 free events around New Jersey this January:
Winter Beach Walk at Fisherman’s Cove
Wednesday, January 8, 11AM
Who says the shore is just for summer? Bring the kiddos out for some fresh sea air at this guided beach walk in Manasquan with an expert naturalist. Besides learning how the beach survives in the winter season, they’ll get to collect and identify seashells as they walk along the shoreline. Make sure to bundle up and bring along a bucket to carry shells home.
391 Third Avenue at Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area, Manasquan, NJ
Warren Recreation Winter Festival
Saturday, January 11 4PM – 7PM
Bring the whole fam to celebrate all that’s wonderful about winter, at this lively festival featuring a roaring bonfire and lots of tasty food trucks. Littles will have a ball grooving to live music, watching the ice carver transform blocks of ice into sculptures, visiting the petting zoo and going on carnival rides. Round out the evening with a horse and carriage ride, then stop to roast marshmallows and sip hot chocolate by the fire as you watch the fireworks light up the night sky.
WarrenNJRec, 46 Mountain Blvd, Warren, NJ (rain date January 18)
Open House at NJPAC
Saturday, January 11, 11AM – 1PM
Got a tween or teen who’s interested in taking acting or dance classes? Come see firsthand why NJPAC has some of the most popular arts training classes in the state at this open house, where you can learn (and sign up) about spring and summer workshop offerings. You’ll have a chance to meet the faculty and ask questions, and your kids can take part in a trial class like jazz, hip-hop or film-making to see what program is right for them.
NJPAC Center for Arts Education, 24 Rector Street, Newark, NJ (for ages 10 and up)
First Lady Tammy Murphy’s Family Festival
Saturday, January 11, 1PM – 4PM
Take the littles to a day of unlimited family fun that will feature plenty of food, music, games and prizes for the kids, and community information for you. While the rest of family is entertained by balloon animals and face painting, you can hear more about how to access state, county, and local programs and resources—from health insurance to energy assistance programs to child care centers and much more.
Gilligan Student Union Building, 2039 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Jersey City, NJ
Annual North Jersey Orchid Show and Sale
Friday, January 17 – Sunday, January 19
Curious about orchids and why they are so intriguing or just love the beauty of a stunning colored orchid? Come to this show and sale to learn more about this magnificent plant and its species (the first orchid is said to have bloomed over 200 million years ago). You’ll be in awe as you look at the spectacular exhibits showcasing orchids grown in homes and greenhouses across the tri-state area. After, you can take part in a free workshop on orchid growing and then take one of your own home, from one of the renowned vendors offering species from all over the world.
Rutgers University – Douglass Student Center
100 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1412
Free Entrance Day at NJ National Parks
Monday, January 20
Sick of being indoors? Learn about our state’s history or just go on a winter hike on MLK Day, when over 10 parks throughout the Garden State will charge no entrance fee. Learn about Washington’s winter in Morristown, take in the beauty of the Delaware Water Gap, visit Ellis Island or stop by the area where Thomas Edison invented electricity.
Various parks throughout NJ, check individual hours of each park.
MLK Day Celebration: Lift Every Voice
Monday, January 20, 10AM – 5PM
Remember Dr. Martin Luther King and his impact as an activist when the Newark Museum has a no-charge, day-long celebration in honor of his life. Kids will learn about his mission through hands-on activities creating buttons and crafts using inspirational quotes, listening to storytelling, watching performances and viewing artwork by influential African American artists in the gallery. Don’t miss MLK’s original “I Have A Dream Speech” which will be playing on a loop all day in the auditorium.
The Newark Museum of Art, 49 Washington Street, Newark, NJ
Hot Chocolate Open House at Cora Hartshorn Arboretum
Monday, January 20, 10:30AM – 2:00PM
Stop by the arboretum on MLK Day to sip on steaming hot cocoa and learn more about the arboretum’s programs, including a new nature discovery area planned for late 2020. After, take a hike, play a game, hear a story and enjoy their winter wonderland.
324 Forest Dr S, Short Hills, NJ
Fire & Ice Festival
Saturday, January 25, 10AM – 4PM
Your kiddos will be thrilled to see ice carvers up close and be in awe as they transform 300-pound blocks of ice into beautiful crystalline works of art. The chili contest is legendary and attracts pro chefs (plan to sample them all) and they’ll be plenty of music from local duo Suze & Watson, as well as the mush pack from Jersey Sands Sled Dogs Racing Association. Stay all day to join in the games, contests and lots of family fun.
Downtown Mount Holly, NJ