We’ve all had those days—you’re cooped up in the house, and the entire family is going a little stir crazy because it’s pouring rain, swelteringly hot, or just too bitter cold to go outside. Why not try some indoor activities in NJ and burn off that excess energy? Get moving at an indoor rock climbing gym, play space, or trampoline park (where bouncing off the walls is the point), enjoy live entertainment at a kid-friendly play or musical, or learn something new while stargazing at a planetarium or exploring a museum. Scroll down for a ton of great indoor activities in NJ, along with some of our top picks in each category. And when the sun is out again, visit outdoor activities for any season. (feature photo credit: American Dream)
British Swim School is not just another swimming school; it’s a place where water survival skills are paramount. The school’s unique curriculum prioritizes water survival before transitioning to learn-to-swim programs, ensuring students understand the significance of swimming as a lifesaving skill. But learning here isn’t just about safety; it’s an engaging journey of songs, games, and fun. Several features distinguish British Swim School:
- No Floaties Policy: From day one, students learn to float without aid, encouraging self-reliance.
- Expert Instructors: Over 60 hours of in-house training ensure our instructors are industry leaders.
- Safety First: Highlights include our “Survival Week,” teaching students to swim in clothes, mimicking real-life accidents.
- Structured Curriculum: Goal-oriented and structured, students progress swiftly, graduating when truly ready.
- Gentle Teaching Methods: Classes are not only engaging but are delivered with a gentle and nurturing approach.
- Small Groups: A favorable student-to-instructor ratio guarantees personalized attention.
- Flexible Enrollment: Continuous classes mean no session constraints.
- Decades of Experience: 40 years in the field and over 400 pools nationwide speak to our tried-and-true methods.
- Inclusivity: From babies as young as 3 months to adults, everyone is welcome.
- All-Season Facilities: Our heated indoor pools ensure year-round learning.
With over 40,000 satisfied parents nationwide, it’s evident why British Swim School stands out. Visit British Swim School online or call 201-645-1300.
Indoor Activities in NJ for any season
Snowboard in the summer? Yup, you can be on the only slope on this side of the world that’s got real snow blowing all year at Big Snow in American Dream. Gear up, then take a chair lift to the top over trees and a lodge facade and ski, board, or sno-bike down. Lessons are available, and kids can learn to snowboard through the Camp BIG program before the (outdoor) ski season starts. And this year, kids can climb, slide, and sled on real snow at the all-new SNOW Play and Sledding area (rentals for outwear are available if you don’t have yours).
Shop ’til you drop
Have you even lived in NJ if you haven’t gone to a mall? No longer just spaces to shop, malls in NJ are one-stop destinations, thanks to gourmet restaurants, fast casual food, entertainment, and events so that the whole family can find fun beyond shopping. From Westfield Garden State Plaza to The Mall at Short Hills to Cherry Hill Mall, you won’t want to miss these landmark shopping centers that put New Jersey on the map.
Climb into a new activity
Rock climbing at one of New Jersey’s indoor rock gyms is a challenging way for kids to stay active and reach new heights together. And doing it as a family can be a bonding experience, especially when overcoming a complex wall or conquering unique challenges like blindfolding and three-legged climbing. Don’t worry if you’re all beginners—most centers are family-friendly and welcome all skill levels.
Think waterparks are only a summertime thing? Nope—you can plunge down a waterslide, drift in the lazy river, or get knocked down in the wave pool indoors. There are indoor waterparks to discover up and down the state, including American Dream DreamWorks Waterpark in East Rutherford and Big Kahuna’s Water Park in West Berlin. Kids will have a ball getting soaked indoors, and you’ll all feel like you want on a resort vacay miles away.
Entertain the whole family
Having an all-in-one experience is always a hit with the fam and avoids the driving and time going from place to place. Luckily, plenty of spaces entertain all ages under one roof. Hit the indoor rollercoaster at the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park, take a ride on Geoffrey’s Train Ride at Toys R Us or see NYC views in the Dream Wheel at American Dream, cheer on a jousting match at Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, load up your Power Card at Dave and Buster’s in Wayne, Woodbridge, or Blackwood, or become a kingpin at Humdingers in Paramus.
One of the most recognizable names on the Jersey Shore, Lucky Leo’s has been a sure thing for Family Fun for the last 70 years. Open all year long on the Seaside Heights Boardwalk with weekly specials, complimentary food, games, prizes, and contests. Inside, you’ll find games of chance, video games, and the newly opened Sweet Shop. Lucky Leo’s is in the business of fun, but make no mistake about it—their prizes are serious business. Redeem your winnings for name-brand prizes like Fanatics Sports, designer purse bags, top brand gift cards, Disney brand, and Apple products, to name a few. They also are a great location to host birthday parties and a place to go during Seaside Heights events that happen throughout the year.
311 Boardwalk, Seaside Heights, NJ 08751
Bounce your way to a good time at a trampoline park
Bounce your way to fun at an open jump session at one of New Jersey’s trampoline parks, which feature wall-to-wall (and sometimes floor-to-ceiling) bouncy trampolines. Kids can go freestyle and jump around to their heart’s content, try to slam dunk a basketball, leap into a foam pit, or take on the whole fam in a lively game of dodgeball (trust us, mama, it’s way more fun than the one you’ve done in gym class). Got littles? Most trampoline parks have dedicated areas for toddlers and younger kids so that everyone can get in on the action.
Get up close to the hippos at Adventure Aquarium, one of those indoor activities in NJ you won’t want to miss. Photo Credit: @vikki_1110
Go under the sea at an aquarium
You’ll find Nemo and all his ocean-dwelling friends at New Jersey’s aquariums, which offer an up-close glimpse of amazing marine life, like sharks, sea turtles, otters, and penguins. Besides seeing fascinating sea creatures, littles can learn conservation lessons and participate in educational programs from marine professionals. Some aquariums offer touch tanks with stingrays and other animals for an exciting hands-on experience.
Game on at these retro arcades
Do you remember the good old days of video games, when Pacman and Donkey Kong ruled, and you spent your whole day (and all the quarters you saved) at the arcade? Lucky for you (and the kids, too, of course), the classic childhood games are back at these retro arcades. And you don’t even have to bring your quarters or tokens—pay one price for a free-play wristband and play all the games you’d like within an allotted time.
Give a standing ovation for live performances
Whether your family is a bunch of theater lovers or have never experienced a live production, there are plenty of venues in New Jersey to see a kid-friendly show. Performances range from classic children’s plays, and toe-tapping musicals to singalongs and cool interactive stage shows that let the kids in on the fun. And if they catch the acting bug, it may even inspire them to audition at one of New Jersey’s children’s theaters.
Stargaze at the planetarium
Sit back, relax, and get lost in space while looking up at the stars above and watching a special film presentation in the domes of New Jersey’s educational and entertaining planetariums. Kids (and their grownups) of all ages will get lost in the enchantment of the dome’s crystal-clear projection—all while learning something new.
Bowling is fun in your “spare” time
The shoes might not be the cutest, but bowling is a crowd-pleaser for family entertainment. It’s easy enough for almost all ages (we won’t tell if you want to use the bumpers), comes with a snack bar, and often includes an arcade or other fun attractions to keep everyone occupied. Look for special events like family fun nights and glow bowling that could be right up your alley.
Rev up for this new and exciting place to have your kids’ next birthday party! Teaneck Speedway offers Laser Tag, Slot Car Racing, Arcades, Mini Bowling, and much more. We offer 8,000 square feet of entertaining fun for everyone with different packages, including private parties, where you can rent the whole venue out to yourself, or other packages for smaller parties. Need something to do over the weekend? We encourage walk-ins, so come and enjoy time with your family and friends at our exciting and fun facility at any time.
545 Cedar Lane, Teaneck, NJ 07666
Create a lifelong reader
Is there anything more satisfying than watching your child get engrossed in a good story? Check out one of New Jersey’s family-friendly bookstores and spend the day scouring the aisles with your kids to find the latest and greatest titles or classic reads that can’t be missed. Local bookstores usually have helpful staff who can steer your children—even the ones who aren’t bookworms—to books that will capture their interest and inspire a lifetime of reading, and many offer storytime events that are great for budding readers.
A different kind of golf course
One of the best indoor activities in NJ is playing indoor mini golf, where kids of all ages can have fun and practice their swing in a relaxed, climate-controlled hitting bay. No golf experience is required, and simulators and cool technology help children and adults hone their skills. Kids (and kids at heart) will love the glow-in-the-dark mini golf at NJ’s five Monster Mini Golf locations, where the walls come alive with silly, animated monsters that talk, walk, and wiggle amid the backdrop of a pulsating soundtrack.
Make a family skate date
Lace up your skates and relive those fun childhood experiences at the local roller skating or ice rink. Taking a spin around the rink with tunes in the background is a refreshing and nostalgic way to spend a night or day with your crew. If you opt for roller skating, kids can choose between regular skates or rollerblades (often recommended for beginners). Book a lesson if you are a newbie, and check the rink’s schedule for cool events like glow skating.
Team up for laser tag
Indoor laser tag is a mission to have fun, should you choose to accept it. Grab your laser gun, strap on your sensor vest, and team up with the fam to engage in a thrilling and intense competition. You’ll run through mazes and dodge your opponents to be the last one standing. Win or lose, laser tag is a fast-paced good time that really gets the heart pumping.
Burn off energy at an indoor play space
There’s a reason that play spaces have become one of the most popular indoor activities in NJ—there’s something for every kid. Indoor play spaces offer Open Play sessions that allow your little ones to let out all of their pent-up energy by running, climbing, jumping, and playing on safe, full-sized playground equipment. These spots offer age-appropriate areas and toys, providing the opportunity to make new friends and meet new playmates. Need a break? Some facilities have special classes, camps, and drop-off sessions so that mommy can enjoy time to herself.
Ready, set, go-karts!
Feeling the need for speed? You can’t beat go-kart racing on an indoor track for an adrenaline-pumping afternoon that both children and adults can enjoy. Rev up those engines and engage in a little friendly competition with the kiddos to see who gets to the finish line first (moms, we’re rooting for you!)
Make new discoveries at NJ museums
New Jersey is home to over 200 museums, so there’s one to satisfy every child’s personality and interests. Stimulate the imagination and learn something new about science, history, art, and so much more. From Liberty Science Center to the New Jersey State Museum, there are plenty of great museums to explore in the Garden State.
What are your go-to indoor activities in NJ?
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