Many people think taking little kids places can be stressful but it does not have to be! We’ve compiled a list of the best places in New Jersey for little kids, places we think younger kids will find exciting. Many of these kid-friendly New Jersey attractions also have either free or cheaper admission for younger kids.
From A to Z the Best Places in New Jersey for Little Kids
The best places in New Jersey for little kids listed below have a wide range of activities from art, rides, shows, hikes, fruit picking, petting and feeding farm animals, and more. I have personally visited most of these with my kids. The others come highly recommended by people we know. These New Jersey attractions are great places to spend some time with your little kids and maybe even have some new experiences yourself.
All Fired Up in Collingswood, NJ
One family event we did when I was younger was painting pottery. It was a nice and relaxing way to spend an afternoon. There are usually lots of options for what you can paint. You can pick out your color palette and relax while painting. We would always use the glaze paints that they would fire up for us in the store and then we would return at a later date to pick up our projects. It is a memorable way to celebrate a special occasion (Ex. painting flower pots for Mother’s Day).
The Paint at All Fired Up studio is great since it offers many options including painting indoors, painting outdoors with picnic tables and umbrellas, and to-go kits as well. They even have virtual painting parties and workshops.
The studio offers storytimes for kids and special events. Collingswood is a fun town to visit in general since there are often festivals going on and there are a plethora of dining options in multiple cuisines.
If you are too far from this studio be sure to check out other places that also have pottery painting. Color Me Mine has locations throughout New Jersey.
Big Brook Preserve in Colts Neck, NJ
What kid doesn’t love sharks? Big Brook Preserve in Colts Neck is one of the few places on the East Coast where people can easily find fossils, including shark teeth. Visitors can collect up to five fossils using trowels with a max blade of 6 inches and screens that are a max of 18 inches square maximum.
There is a parking lot on Hillsdale Road or along Laurel Creek Drive. I vividly remember finding a shark tooth on a school field trip when I was a kid so I am sure this will be a memorable destination for your own child.
Chesterfield Christmas Tree Farm
We visited Chesterfield Christmas Tree Farm when my daughter was 2 and she loved helping us pick out a Christmas tree. The pricing was cheaper for those 3 feet or less (her height at the time), so she loved walking around and measuring the trees with the yardstick. Afterwards, they had free hot cocoa that we all enjoyed on that chilly day.
Demarest Farms in Hillsdale
During the summer we met my sister-in-law and her family at Demarest Farms in Hillsdale and all of us enjoyed peach picking. The orchards were laden with rows and rows of peaches. We were given bags to pick that were able to fit about 20 peaches.
The kids were able to eat most of the peaches plain and were delighted to make a microwaveable peach crisp recipe they had learned in their virtual Shoprite Cooking Class.
The farm itself has animals to see that were a part of its petting zoo. They also occasionally have events there, such as outdoor movie nights.
Essex County Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange
The Turtle Back Zoo is full of different animal exhibits that kids would enjoy. Some favorites for little kids are the touch tank and the sea lion sound exhibit. The zoo is also a Sea Turtle Recovery station. They have special events throughout the year such as small shows or Character Meet and Greets.
Fairy Trail at South Mountain in Millburn
Fairy Trail at South Mountain is a half-mile trail that is full of fairy houses that are hidden in the landscape.
South Mountain also has a wildflower sculpture park. The waterfront has a 1.7-mile reservoir walking path that is accessible. Not far away is the South Mountain Preserve Recreation Complex. This consists of the Turtle Back Zoo, Park N Ride Zoo, Waterfront with Exercise Classes and Paddle Boats, and TreeTop Adventure Course. It would be easy to spend a whole day in this area.
Gymboree in Princeton
If you have kids that are very young then Gymboree is the perfect place for them. They have classes offered for the zero to five-year-old age range.
We had my daughter’s first birthday at the Gymboree Play and Music Princeton. She had already done a month of classes there the summer beforehand and loved them. As a new mom, it was also a fun place to meet others in a similar situation and we made some great friends there.
Their play area was always kept immaculately clean when we visited and I would always see them doing deep cleaning as we left at the end of the day. There were many soft toys for kids to play with, indoor playground-style equipment, and more. Periodically someone would come out even during open play to interact with the kids.
During their open gym times, there would often be balls and other soft toys for kids to play with. Sometimes obstacle courses were set up as well. Babies loved the mirrors that were put out. Occasionally an employee would come out to also do a song or two with the kids there as well.
There are also other locations in West Field, Jersey City, Toms River, Ocean Township, Howell Township, and Pine Brook.
Hill Creek Farms in Mullica Hill
In the fall if you are looking for another one of the best places for little kids in New Jersey to make some wonderful memories look no further. Hill Creek Farms is an amazing place.
Prior to the pandemic, we had gone to a cute cow-themed cafe there. As you walk into the building there is a large market with lots of produce. Outside there are numerous delightful outdoor dining spots with tables set up everywhere, many of which have umbrellas. There is a nice fountain and they also occasionally have food trucks or other food being served outdoors.
On the weekends, Hill Creek Farms has extra activities such as a barrel train ride. There is usually a parking fee on weekends in the fall. For weekend visits tickets need to be purchased in advance.
We prefer to visit Hill Creek Farms on weekdays. It is free to go and perfect for apple picking. They usually have lots of fall props set up which make for the best photo ops around the farm.
There is a small corn maze that is the perfect height for younger children and a fantastic kids’ play area in the back with things like large tires, a real, life-sized fire truck playground equipment, duck racing, and more. For an additional fee, kids can also do gem mining.
Ice Land Skating Center in Hamilton Township
In high school, I had all of my birthday parties at Ice Land Skating Center in Hamilton Township since I loved going there so much. It is a blast to spend an hour or two on the ice with your friends while listening to music.
For younger kids, Ice Land offers plenty of learn-to-skate classes. What I enjoy the most is that their rinks have lips around most of the sides which help those learning to skate and for those who do not know how to stop (like me). After skating, warm up with some hot cocoa from the snack bar.
Jenkinson’s Boardwalk & Aquarium in Point Pleasant
As a kid, one of my favorite memories was going to see the Point Pleasant fireworks on a Thursday night and wanting to be a pyrotechnician after seeing them lit on the beach. Another favorite was doing their wristband nights where my sister and I would go on unlimited rides. When I was older it was fun to do mini golf as well as jump in the waves.
Now as a mom Point Pleasant is one of the few beaches where I feel confident in taking my kids by myself. We visit during their events such as Christmas in July or Boo at the Boardwalk.
Each Jenkinson’s Boardwalk event usually involves additional inflatable decorations, shows, strolling performers, and free kid crafts. When visiting fall through spring, parking is free.
The Jenkinson’s Pavilion Bar and Restaurant has numerous options that kids would enjoy. The boardwalk also has lots of places for things to eat like ice cream, fudge, and deep-fried Oreos.
There is also Jenkinson’s aquarium as well. Here they have various events such as Beach Walks and Magical Mermaids running currently. Kids enjoy watching the feeding times of animals such as seals and penguins. Their touch tanks are also a great way for them to feel a stingray or a sea star.
Kip’s Castle in Verona
Verona Park is a great place for families to visit. It has a free summer concert series, boat rentals, and a recently renovated playground. Afterwards they may enjoy going to Kip’s Castle nearby for a picnic lunch.
Kip’s Castle Park is an 11-acre park that has a 9,000-square-foot mansion resembling a medieval castle. The first floor is occasionally open for self-guided tours and candlelight tours. Outside there are steps and gardens for kids to explore. It is a great spot for a picnic or outdoor family photo shoot.
Land of Make Believe in Hope Township
Land of Make Believe is a water and amusement park that is designed for kids under thirteen. Some unique features include a WW-II DC-3 Cockpit, an interactive play with the Middle Earth Theatre, a Red Baron Snoopy ride, dual racing water slides, Scream Machine 360, and an Off Road Safari Adventure. There are also other fun things for kids such as boardwalk games and farm animals.
Medieval Times in Lyndhurst
For kids who are fans of knights and the Renaissance Faire, this is another one of these great places for little kids in New Jersey. One of my friends took me along with her family as a kid and I remember it being a fun time. There was jousting, cheering, and eating food with your hands at your seats.
Buy Medieval Times New Jersey discounted tickets through Jersey Family Fun. Be sure to advise younger kids that the fighting is only pretend. If they do not understand this it may be better to wait till they are a little older.
To make the best memories as you dine with the queen and her knights read Tips for a Medieval Times Dinner
Natural Resource Area at Boundary Creek Park in Moorestown
Boundary Creek Park is a great place to go for an easy hike with kids. Near the parking lot, there are restrooms, a bike rack, and multiple small tables for eating. The trail is mostly shaded through the woods with various branches that go outwards towards some great water views of Rancocas Creek.
Along the way kids also see bird blinds, viewers, faux animal tracks on the boardwalk, a human sundial, a pond, and a gazebo. The end of the trail is near fields in the sun but it is a wonderful place to see some wildflowers and butterflies.
Oasis Farm in Robbinsville
If you have kids that are young Oasis Farm in Robbinsville is a good size farm to visit. In the fall they have various Halloween-related decor (this past year was related to the Nightmare before Christmas) with giant inflatables, painted hay bales, and more. There is a tractor ride that can be taken to a pumpkin patch.
Little ones can visit with the animals or pretend to ride a wooden train. The kids’ fun zone offers different activities such as tire horse swings and a spider web crawl.
Oasis Family Farm does charge an admission fee for kids and adults.
Pump it Up NJ in Marlton
If your kids are always complaining they have too much energy Pump it Up NJ is the perfect place to take them. They have an open play time with lots of inflatables for the kids to bounce around on.
If your kids have worked up a hunger, pizza can be purchased during your visit.
If you are far from the Pump It Up Marlton Pump it Up NJ has other locations in Blackwood, Roselle Park, Randolph, Secaucus, Lakewood, and Freehold.
Another popular trampoline park chain that we have visited is BounceU. My daughter had a spectacular time bouncing in the West Windsor location. Be aware though that some of the areas and activities are targeted toward older children and may be difficult for very young kids.
Visit our guide to New Jersey trampoline parks for more ideas on the best places for little kids in New Jersey to bounce.
Qdoba in Princeton
If dining out with little kids you know that obtaining food quickly is of the essence. In MarketFair Mall they have Qdoba Princeton which is a great place to dine with kids. They have a cheap kid’s meal that includes tortilla chips and a drink. Some other good items on their menu are their queso, tortilla soup, and heaping burrito bowls.
There are also 20 other Qdoba Locations in New Jersey.
Afterwards be sure to check out the rest of Marketfair with your kids. It is a small-sized mall that is perfect to take young kids. Their bathrooms are usually clean with diaper changing stations and it is rarely very crowded.
Marketfair Mall Events include musical performances geared towards kids during the week. Barnes and Noble has storytimes and there is a summer Kids Art Club as well.
Rainforest Cafe in Menlo Park Mall
It was rare we ate out when I was younger so a fond memory I have is of going to the Rainforest Cafe. Dining there is like entering another world for a young child. Their indoor decor really adds to the experience with the various rainforest animals and an indoor waterfall. There are details everywhere such as flowing water, foliage, and wooden and animal-themed chairs.
Some Rainforest Cafe kids’ menu items also have cute names such as Python Pasta. Their store is also filled with lots of cute merchandise. Who else had one of their hanging monkeys that they sported around their necks when they were younger? My sister and I also got Nile the Crocodile and Chai Chai Tree Frog Figurines another time that we were there.
Afterwards if your kids want some play time, Menlo Park Mall has a Disney Junior Play Zone upstairs with various activities based on Disney shows.
If you don’t live close to Menlo Park Mall don’t worry! There is another Rainforest Cafe location in Atlantic City.
Storybook Land in Egg Harbor Township
I went with my 3 and 5 year old to Storybook Land recently and this was the perfect New Jersey amusement park for little kids. My 5 year old could go on all of the rides and my 3 year old could go on almost all of them as long as I was with him.
We went while school was still in session so the lines were short. There are so many trees there that almost the entire park is in the shade, which really helps if visiting in the summer.
Storybook Land is also not huge which makes it easy to walk around. Some rides we liked were ones where you drove cars and actually pushed pedals to make them go on a track. Another was Bubbles the Coaster about a dragon blowing bubbles.
There are also lots of displays featuring stories such as The Three Bears as well as lots of eating areas. Food can be brought in from the outside as well as purchased at a few places through the park.
Tumbles in Princeton
If you think your toddler may have a budding career in gymnastics Tumbles in Princeton is a great place to take them. I used to take my daughter here when she was little. People come out to help kids do different routines or obstacle courses they set out.
Tumbles of Princeton has kid toys staff members put out in addition to their ride-on toys and ball pit, that my kids loved.
For older kids, there is a separate area that has a large play gym. It was always very clean when we visited. Tumbles is geared for little kids ages 4 months to 12 years old.
Under the Stars at a New Jersey Planetarium
There are a variety of planetariums throughout New Jersey. New Jersey Planetariums and Observatories are a great place to visit if you have a kid who is fascinated with space. They offer different activities such as watching public shows or laser light shows and looking through telescopes.
A popular planetarium show for little kids, 3 to 6 years old, is offered One World, One Sky featuring Sesame Street characters Big Bird, Elmo, and Hu Hu Zhu. The Sesame Street planetarium show is playing at most New Jersey Planetariums.
Van Saun County Park in Paramus
Van Saun County Park in Paramus is chock full of things that kids love including a carousel, splash pads, miniature train rides, and pony rides.
The highlight of Van Saun County Park is the Bergen County Zoo. This is a small zoo that features animals such as an ocelot, red wolf, and spider monkey. During the off season, the zoo is also free!
There are other park amenities such as sports fields, tennis courts, picnic areas, and playgrounds, too. We love the playgrounds, especially since there’s a sprayground! You can read all about the Van Saun County Park Playground in Paramus in our guide.
Westfield Friends Interactive Tree Walk in Cinnaminson
While trying to learn more about trees myself so that I could teach my kids, I stumbled upon the Westfield Friends Interactive Tree Walk in Cinnaminson. It is short and behind the Westfield Friends school and part of the cemetery.
We visited a few times when school was out of session and it was so much fun! Many of the trees on the property are labeled. There are also QR codes that can be scanned where a kid tells you facts about that kind of tree. Depending on where you visit there also may be some beautiful blooming flowers that you see along the walk. Since it is a short walk it works out well for toddlers with short attention spans.
Xanadu in the Meadowlands
Now known as the American Dream Mall, this is like an indoor wonderland for kids with many of the best places in New Jersey for little kids. The Nickelodeon indoor theme park is the largest in the Western hemisphere and the DreamWorks indoor water park is the largest on our continent.
There is a black light and Angry birds mini golf. They also have an indoor ski and snow resort, Legoland, Sea Life, ice skating, Tilt Museum, and surfing at an indoor freshwater wave pool.
You can get tickets to many of these American Dream attractions with Jersey Family Fun.
Yellow Brick Road Ice Cream Shop in Brick Township
We stumbled upon this great ice cream shop on the way back from the beach a couple of years ago. Yellow Brick Road Ice Cream Shop had great Covid protocols and made a terrificly delicious milkshake. There is also another location in Toms River that is carousel shaped with outdoor seating.
Zumbini in Cherry Hill
Ending our A to Z list of best places in New Jersey for little kids is Zumbini. When kids are younger parents are often looking for classes to help engage with them in new ways. Being a Zumba lover I decided to check out a couple of Zumbini classes myself. They are for ages zero to five years old.
Zumbini is a musical class that engages kids to learn rhythms, dance, and interact with others. There are multiple locations throughout New Jersey. Before signing up for a full set of classes many of them offer the option to try a single class which I really liked as some other kid classes do not give this option. Different sets of classes have different themes as well such as Hili and the Dance or Kalino Finds the Music.
All of the current locations where Zumbini classes are being offered can be seen here: Zumbini Classes.
More of the Best Places in New Jersey for Little Kids
In a state as great as ours, it’s really hard to limit a list of the Best Places in New Jersey for Little Kids to just 26 places. Here are a few more places where kids love to play.
- Liberty Science Center’s Wobbly World, Block Party, and The Pigeon Comes to Jersey City are big hits with little kids.
- iPlay America’s new Balloonocity is a blast for kids.
- More suggestions coming soon.
Still need more ideas for things to do in New Jersey with little kids?
- If you have younger children with lots of energy and inquisitiveness check out the Best New Jersey Activities for Toddlers.
- If your kid likes the outdoors check out our article here for the Ultimate Guide to New Jersey Nature Centers with details on each one to prepare you for your trip.
- If your kids enjoy seeing different animals check out our article for the best Places to See Animals for Free in New Jersey.