Take a Day Trip

Take a Day Trip

Luckily, New Jersey is small enough that you can go to many different parts of the state for a day trip and be home in time for bed.  The following are all places about 45 min- 1.5 hours from the Princeton-Plainsboro area. I’ve linked their webpages so you can easily check important information before your visit (i.e. hours, costs, location). No automatic alt text available.

Garden State Discovery Museum  in Cherry Hill

If your child likes to play “make believe” they will absolutely love this place. They can serve up food to customers in a child-sized diner, pretend they are giving a news report on TV, run around a dinosaur playground, and so much more that I cannot remember.  It can get crowded so I would suggest going early or on a weekday. Children have free admission on their birthday with proof of birth date.

Paws Discovery Farm in Mount Laurel

All visitors enjoy and learn from many interactive exhibits and over 80 birds and animals housed here.

Visit a farm

Learn about animal care/how farms work.  

NJ State Aquarium at the Camden Waterfront

Take a trip to the Camden Waterfront and visit the aquarium.  They have fish, sharks, jellyfish, and more. There’s a tunnel through one of the tanks where the fish are swimming above your head and all around you.  And in addition to different sea creatures, you can also see penguins and HIPPOS! Image may contain: one or more people, child and outdoor

Children’s Garden at the Camden Waterfront

I have to mention the Children’s Garden because I used to volunteer there in high school.  Located directly in front of the Aquarium, it’s a cute place to go when on a trip to the aquarium.  You can walk around the garden and check out the different themed areas. If you go, make sure to check out the butterfly house.

Image result for camden children's garden butterfly house

Battleship NJ at the Camden Waterfront
You and your family can take a self-guided tour of "America's Most Decorated Battleship."  The Battleship NJ holds artifacts and information from the ship's glory days and you get to check it all out as you explore every level of the ship.  It was definitely more fun that I thought it would be.  

Storybook Land

Okay, I haven’t been here in many years so it has probably changed since my last visit….but I have very fond memories of going here as a child.  Walk around Storybook Land and visit scenes, houses, and characters from your favorite stories. There are also some themed rides. It’s a great text-to-life connection.

Storybook Land Railroad

Island Beach State Park

Spend a day at the beach.  Make sand sculptures, read on the beach, splash in the ocean.  Island Beach State Park is great for families because there are conveniently located bathrooms and your entry fee is by the car instead of per person.  There’s no shops once you get into the park so pack a cooler and have a picnic on the beach. This is a popular beach and once the parking lot is full, they do not allow any more people into the area - so get there early.

Turtle Back Zoo
in West Orange Turtle Back Zoo used to feature animals indigenous to NJ but not houses species from every continent except Antarctica. There were about 1400 animals, as of 2016, including hundreds of birds in a free-flight aviary. This zoo is open year-round

Burlington County Farm Fair

If you’re looking for something to do July 17-21, check out the Farm Fair; there’s food, rides, and lots of animals.  Last year, I watched some adorable little pigs race around an obstacle course, went on a ferris wheel, and ate a deep-fried pop tart.  Rides are a bit overpriced in my opinion, but it’s a fun time.

Monmouth Museum

They have a green arts studio which is cool and the "exhibits" include learning opportunities for both older and younger kids.  

Ringing Rocks Park
in Upper Black Eddy, PA Check out this state park for a fun day in nature. Have a picnic, go for a hike, and check out the musical "ringing rocks" that make bell-like sounds when you hit them.

Does your child enjoy STEAM activities (science, technology, engineering, arts, math)? If so you should check out the 
Liberty Science Center in Jersey City and/or the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia for some interactive and educational fun.
Crawl through an artery in the Giant Heart exhibit at The Franklin Institute.

Diggerland in Berlin, NJ

If your child is interested in trucks, construction, and having fun, you should visit Diggerland. If your child is at least 42" tall, they can drive many of the vehicles at the park, otherwise they can ride with a parent. Make sure you wear closed-toe shoes or you will not be allowed on all the attractions (this happened to me and I had sit and watch everyone else have fun) z MoMath Museum in Manhattan

The National Museum of Mathematics explores how math is all around us. They have interactive exhibits, an art gallery, and different programs that all center on mathematical concepts MathSquare