You don’t have to have perfect weather to seek out family fun— there are plenty of kid-friendly NJ attractions throughout the state to entertain everyone in your family all year long. Whether it’s seeing lions roar at the Turtle Back Zoo, spending time on a real wartime battleship to hitting the rides, or seasonal attractions at Six Flags Great Adventure, you can find a new place to explore or hit again (and again) with your crew. Read on to find New Jersey attractions for tons of family fun in any season. (featured photo credit: @mymoments.jackie)
NJ attractions and things to do in NJ that are guaranteed fun for kids (and parents) of all ages
The Turtle Back Zoo is a zoo made up of different animal habitats from the barnyard to the Great Plains, making it one of the best NJ attractions around. Over 33 animals call this zoo home in a hilly layout where they hang out in natural environments. Littles will love the old-fashioned choo-choo that gives you a scenic ride around the adjoining pond and wooded areas. After, check out the African Adventure section, the newest part of the park, and features lions, giraffes, hyenas, and the recent addition of penguins, then enjoy some delicious shaved ice before heading home.
560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052
New Jersey’s largest and most popular theme park, Six Flags Great Adventure and Wild Safari Drive-Through, should take a top seed on your fun bucket list for NJ attractions. The Wild Safari Drive-Through Adventure is open from March-November, and the main park opens in the spring and stays primarily open through Christmas with events for Halloween and the holiday season. Aside from thrilling rides for kids of all ages, their drive-through safari allows the whole family to experience elephants, giraffes, lions, bears, and more—up close and personal, from the comfort and safety of your car. From May to September, get wet and wild at Six Flag’s water park, Hurricane Harbor, and spend the rest of the day sliding and splashing on the lazy river and pools.
1 Six Flags Blvd, Jackson, NJ 08527
Liberty State Park is a Hudson County gem with breathtaking views of the NYC skyline and ample outdoor space (1,212 acres, to be exact). Pack a picnic lunch, take in views of Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty, play on the large playground, stroll the 2-mile Liberty Walk Promenade, and enjoy the urban outdoors. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is currently planning to design a new area of this northern NJ attraction.
200 Morris Pesin Dr, Jersey City, NJ 07305
One of the most popular national parks in the country because of its unique ecosystem (it has a beach and a maritime forest with a large population of wildlife), Sandy Hook is where you can spend a family day connecting with nature. There are designated picnic areas, basketball and tennis courts, and of course, the beach.
128 South Hartshorne Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732
Reconnect with nature at this national historical park and New Jersey tourist attraction home to the awe-inspiring Paterson Great Falls, a 77-foot high waterfall nestled within the Passaic River. Rich in history, this landmark and surrounding park is home to Alexander Hamilton’s plan to make Paterson the center of the Industrial Revolution.
72 McBride Avenue Extension, Paterson, NJ 07501
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park – Closed for restoration until October
Heading down to LBI? Be sure to stop by Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, right at the northern tip. This NJ lighthouse is known to have been one of the most important navigational points for ships at one time. With a historic lighthouse that offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, it’s considered one of the top NJ tourist attractions. This 32-acre park makes for a great day trip any time of the year.
208 Broadway, Barnegat Light, NJ 08006
At the western heritage-themed Wild West City, littles can get their cowboy fix and travel back to Dodge City, circa 1880. The train, pony ride, mini-golf course, barnyard zoo, and select “living history” stations are perfect for your little cowboy or cowgirl. This Wild West town is open from May through September, with Haunted Wild West Fest activities starting in October.
50 Lackawanna Drive, Stanhope, NJ 07874
Kids who love dump trucks and watching any and every construction vehicle will be in awe at Diggerland USA —the only construction theme and water park in America. Families can operate specially engineered machinery and swim, soak, and slide in the themed water park area. In the fall, check out the annual Diggerfest from September to November, and starting in mid-November, get into the holiday spirit at Winterfest and the Holiday Light Show.
100 Pinedge Drive, West Berlin, NJ 08091
Won’t be going to Disney any time soon? Timeless childhood tales come to life in rides and kid attractions in a tree-filled park setting at this beloved 20-acre family amusement park. Kids will have a ball riding spinning teacups, a carousel, a railroad train ride, flying elephants, and more. Storybook Land is open from March-December with special events all year round.
6415 Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234
The Cape May County Park and Zoo is one of those must-see NJ attractions, and it’s free (donations are appreciated). Head on an adventure where you’ll see animals like alpacas, snow leopards, and everything in between. The zoo is open all year round but check ahead because their summer hours and fall/winter hours change.
707 North Route 9, Cape May, NJ 08210
With 9 NJ attractions under one roof, American Dream has it all any time of the year (oh, and did we mention shopping too?). Kids will make a beeline to the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park with thrilling coasters and themed rides, and the Dreamworks Water Park, where a steady tropical temp of 81 degrees feels like paradise every day. And if you’re up for skiing or learning to ski, you don’t have to pray for snow—this is the only place with a year-round ski and snow resort in the entire country (temporarily closed). Other fun places at American Dream include the wacky Tilt Museum that plays with your imagination; the Oreo Cafe devoted to everything—you guessed it—Oreo; and Sea Life, an underwater world of fish and creatures swimming in NYC themed exhibits.
The 6-story Lucy The Elephant was built in 1881, and it is the oldest roadside attraction in the world, even earning the honor of being a US National Landmark. Sign up for a tour of this historical NJ attraction, which once housed a tavern inside, and it has also been an Airbnb. Don’t miss Lucy’s birthday party every July, and she gets a new pedicure every year for the big event. While Lucy is currently under construction for restoration, expect her to reopen Memorial Day weekend with a refreshed look.
9200 Atlantic Ave, Margate City, NJ 08402
Sink into the ocean and go deep diving at Adventure Aquarium in Camden. You’ll see sharks, giant turtles, hippos, fish, and even a few mermaids swimming all around you as you wander through this aquarium. It’s the only aquarium on the planet where you can see lovable hippos up close. There’s also the unique little blue penguins at the Penguin Park exhibit and for the brave—the longest, V-shaped rope shark suspension bridge in the world that hovers above the 21-foot deep Shark Realm exhibit. Making a reservation online is strongly suggested.
1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ 08103
Ready for action? Step into the Land of Make Believe for a day of water park and amusement park fun for all ages. The whole fam will have a blast on the Rockin’ Tug Thrill Ride, or if you’re more daring, try the Scream Machine 360. When it’s time to cool off, check out the water playground featuring Black Beard’s Pirate Ship, where littles can scramble up the plank and practice their best “ahoy there matey” impressions. This NJ attraction is open from May to September.
354 Great Meadows Road, Hope, NJ 07844
Roar into this northern New Jersey attraction featuring over 30 moving and roaring life-size dinos. The Field Station: Dinosaurs is open from June to November, with Dinosaurs After Dark in September and October. You’ll find dinosaurs and much more—check out the exciting shows, fossil digging, and a sky-high Jurassic Jump too.
Overpeck County Park Henry Hoebel Area
Fort Lee Road, Leonia, NJ 07605
Hop aboard “Big J,” “BB 62” (for Battleship #62), “Black Dragon,” or what we all know today as Battleship New Jersey (America’s most decorated Battleship). Take a tour of this historical ship, where you can explore everything from the crew’s mess to turbines and propellor shafts. The Battleship is open for self-guided Power Tours on Saturdays and Sundays, and you can add extension tours.
62 Battleship Place
Camden, NJ 08103
Twin walls transect a gently sloped mound leading directly toward Ground Zero at the Empty Sky Memorial. The length of each wall at the memorial is precisely equal to one side of the former World Trade Center Towers as the wall’s height reflects the proportion of the former buildings sideways. There are 749 New Jersey victims named on the stainless steel walls, and give any visitor pause looking at them. This memorial is located at Liberty State Park, and it is open to visitors.
1 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City, NJ 07305
Grounds for Sculpture is one of the most popular NJ attractions featuring nearly 300 contemporary sculptures covering 42 landscaped acres. Check out the larger-than-life art, or wander through the landscape to view ponds, wildflowers, and architectural reflecting pools on the grounds—your kids will marvel at seeing art come to life.
80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton, NJ 08619
Which NJ attractions are on your bucket list? Let us know!
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