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It’s August, it’s sweltering, and it feels like all the other members of your kids’ playgroups are
summering someplace else. Don’t sweat it!  We’ve done the research, and there are tons of
fabulous places to visit right in your own back yard. 

Whether it’s a scorcher or a wash-out, we’ve got some great ideas for local day trips that will
be groovy fun for the whole family.

Shoring It
If there’s one thing New Jersey’s got, it’s beaches. The Jersey Shore is home to 127 miles of
white sand beaches, so no matter where you live, you’re only a car ride away from a day of
surf and sun. 

“We love visiting Point Pleasant Beach. The beaches are clean and between the beach and the
amusement park my kids have a blast every time,” said Michele O’Brien, a Staten Island mom
who often hits the Shore on weekends with her three kids, ages 4, 6 and 8.

In the month of August, Point Pleasant Beach offers many family-friendly activities and bargains,
including kiddie beach shows and discounts on amusement parks rides on certain days. 

Known as ‘America's Greatest Family Resort,’ the eight miles of beach that make up Ocean City,
New Jersey is a great place to take the family for the day.  With beach passes costing only $4 a
day, and lots of activities, shops and restaurants, plus the added incentive that this is a ‘dry town’
(meaning that no alcohol is served in restaurant or sold in stores), it’s no wonder that the Travel
Channel recently ranked this destination as one of the most family friendly beaches on the shore. 

To plan your family’s day at the Shore check out NJ’s tourism website devoted to the region.

Summer Festivals and Pick your Own Produce
No matter what time of year it is, you can bet there’s a weekend festival going on somewhere in
New Jersey. From crawfish, to butterflies, to hot air balloons, to folk music, there’s always a
of some sort going on.  

Check out the New Jersey tourism web site for a list of upcoming events.

There are also a number of ‘pick your own’ farms across the state that are great fun for kids of all ages
to visit. To look up what’s in season and where you can pick it, check out the Jersey Fresh web site.

Museums and Zoos

From North to South, New Jersey is filled with many fabulous, kid-centered museums.

“One of the most kid friendly museums I’ve been to is the Newark Museum.  They have tons of
hands-on activities, and the staff is very accommodating to children,” said Megan Blake, a pre-K
teacher in Northern New Jersey, who also holds a B.A. in art history.  “We love to take our classes
there; they really get the
kids psyched about art.”

In Cherry Hill, kids can crawl inside a gigantic bubble, scale the branches of a tree house or the
rock-climbing wall, and craft their newest masterpiece in the art studio at the Garden State Discovery Museum – named one of Child Magazine’s top 20 children’s museums in the country.

Your budding scientist can explore to their hearts’ content with three floors of interactive exhibits at
the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City.  While your there, check out an IMAX movie, or even take
a ferry over to the Statue of Liberty.

“When we have no plans for the weekend, and the kids are restless, we often head to the New Jersey Children’s Museum in Paramus.  My toddler especially loves to run around there,” said Julie-Baxter Jordan,
a Glen Ridge mom of a toddler and a newborn.

Personally, I’m lucky enough to live a stone’s throw from the Turtleback Zoo in West Orange. My
two-year old loves the petting zoo, riding the train around the park, and the peacocks that just roam free around the facility.  

Beyond NJ
Simply put, the Staten Island Children’s Museum is fabulous in my opinion, especially for little ones. 
I recently spent a rainy Sunday there with my daughter, and thanks to the many hands-on exhibits,
the fully stocked art studio and great indoor and outdoor play spaces, we’re definitely heading back.

Not sure if it’s the intoxicating voice or that red fur, but it seems that every child is bound to love Elmo. 
At Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa, kids can visit Elmo's World in person, dance with their Sesame Street favorites, or get drenched on the park’s water rides.  A trip here will make you their hero; at least for
one day.—Liza Morse

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