A Parent’s Guide to Coronavirus New Jersey Closings, Resources, and More

Posted on: March 14th, 2020 by

What a week this has been! Who knew that the consequences of the Coronavirus would happen so quickly in New Jersey and the rest of the United States? As things developed we were in Orlando trying to have the perfect family vacation (with lots of hand sanitizing and handwashing.) By the end of the week we were feeling the stress and panic like many of you. We were ready to be back in New Jersey in the comfort and safety of our own home.

Events have been cancelled. Schools are starting to announce closings. The reality of our kids being home and not being able to really go anywhere is starting to sink in. Some of us maybe feeling stressed out. But here’s the thing


New Jersey is home to amazing beautiful places to go. We will get to them again. In the meantime we are here to help you give kids experiences that enrich their at home experiences while we all do our part to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

I may have just got home from Orlando late last night, but I’m already hard at work, with my team, following the news and announcements closely and helping moms, dads, grandparents, and caregivers get through this. We will continue to update this multiple times a day, until this threat passes, and things begin to return to normal. If you have anything to add please comment below.

Stay informed about the latest information about the Coronavirus and the number of occurrences in New Jersey

  • The CDC Website is a great resource for learning more about COVID-19 including How it Spreads, Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment, What to Do if You are Sick, and other FAQs. This is a federal agency providing information for the entire US and is the best resource for accurate information.

New Jersey coronavirus closings and cancellations

New Jersey closings due to the Coronavirus

As a result of NJ Executive Order 107, many nonessential businesses including schools, libraries, and playgrounds are temporarily closed until the Executive order is lifted for the safety of staff and visitors.

New Jersey School Closings

  • As a result of the Governor’s orders all New Jersey schools are currently closed until at least mid-April.

New Jersey Attractions closed

  • All New Jersey family attractions are closed. Many are hosting activities and virtual events online.

Sharks at Adventure Aquarium

New Jersey event cancellations

  • Home Depot Kids workshops – Limited supplies of kits are available to be picked up in stores.
  • Lowe’s Build & Grow workshops – Limited supplies of kits are available to be picked up in stores.
  • Rita’s First Day of Spring Free Water Ice
    • From Rita’s – “In light of the increasing concerns around COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the precautionary risks associated with large gatherings, Rita’s is postponing our annual Free Ice Giveaway to celebrate First Day of Spring. Every March, Rita’s First Day of Spring Free Ice Giveaway brings together thousands of guests for one-of-a-kind treats and a free Italian Ice. It’s our favorite day of the year, and one that has become a treasured tradition. However, the health of our community and guests is our highest priority, so we are postponing this celebration as a precautionary move.”
Having ritas for the first day of spring

Enjoying our free Rita’s on the first day of Spring 2011. |Photo Credit Jersey Family Fun

  • iPlay America Easter Events
  • Dairy Queen Free Cone Day – Dairy Queen has made the difficult decision to postpone this year’s Free Cone Day. Please see the official announcement to learn more: http://bit.ly/DQAnnouncement.
  • Camden Youth Art Gallery – March 21, 2020
  • Events on our Calendar of Events that we know are cancelled will also be marked as cancelled. We still recommend calling before heading out to confirm no changes have been made.

Other local closings

  • The Franklin Institute is closed until further notice. Read their Coronavirus statement.
  • The Academy of Natural Sciences
  • The Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • The Penn Museum will temporarily close at the end of the business day, Friday, March 13, 2020. The Museum plans to remain closed through at least April 17, but will continue to monitor the landscape regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. It will reopen its doors to the public as early as its possible to do so, while simultaneously keeping everyone safe.
  • Longwood Gardens

If you are looking for something your kids can do today, safely, from the comfort of their own home, visit our Calendar of Online Events for Kids. It’s filled with free online events happening every day of the school closures.

young girl attends online event from her computer

What is still open in New Jersey

New Jersey Beaches

  • Yes, New Jersey beaches are popular and busy during the summer, but during the spring they are pretty quiet. Visit our listing of New Jersey beaches to find a beach local to you. Beach tags aren’t required right now. Of course, we recommend no swimming since lifeguards aren’t on duty. But there’s no stopping you and the kids from digging your toes in the sand, walking along the beach, collecting shells, or building a sandcastle.
    • UPDATE: Many beach towns have closed their boardwalks and beachwalks due to crowds. Please respect their barriers. Many have also closed their beaches or will be policing for crowds on the beach.
    • UPDATE: We are aware of these temporary beach closings. Gates are up and access to the beach is blocked off.
      • Ocean City
      • Point Pleasant
      • Seaside Heights

boy on Wildwood beach

Hiking Trails

  • New Jersey State Parks, State Forests, and County Parks are currently closed for playing, hiking, and exploring.
family hike At Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

Family hike At Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

New Jersey State Parks

  • Effective April 7, 2020, by order of the Governor all State Parks and Forests are closed for all activities.
Bridge at Parvin State Park

Parvin State Park

National Parks in New Jersey

  • We are working to confirm that New Jersey State Parks are open as usual. We expect that some visitor centers and indoor buildings may be closed, but that they will keep outdoor areas open to the public. In the meantime, please visit Explore National Parks in New Jersey to see a listing of National Parks in New Jersey.
National Historical Park Paterson Great Falls in Paterson New Jersey

National Historical Park Paterson Great Falls in Paterson New Jersey

New Jersey Botanical Gardens and Arboretums

  • Theilke Arboretum,  Glen Rock, 201-447-0452
    • Public access to the Environmental Center and events are suspended until further notice. The outside areas will remain open to visitors.
  • Butterfly Garden, Eastampton, 609-265-5858
    • Events are cancelled, but we believe the gardens itself are still open.
  • Barton Arboretum, Medford Leas, 609-654-3000
    • Medford Leas has canceled the Pathways to Learning programs to be held during the month of March. The gardens are still open regular hours.

Camden Children's Garden Giant Garden

  • Butterfly Garden, Cape May, 609-861-0700
    • From their website, “We have made the difficult decision to close our offices, and nature centers to the public beginning 5:00 pm on Friday, March 13, through March 31, 2020. Our Sanctuaries and Preserves including parking and trails remain open.”
  • Cora Hartshorn Arboretum, Short Hills, 973-376-3587
    • Following the guidelines set out by the Millburn Department of Education and the Township of Millburn regarding COVID-19, the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum will be closed until March 30, 2020. The trails will be accessible but the building will not be open to the public.
  • Rutgers Gardens, New Brunswick, 732-932-8451
    • From their Facebook post, “Rutgers Gardens will remain OPEN until further notice and we invite you to come out and enjoy the progression of spring colors as the flowers have begun to open or take a walk in Helyar Woods!” Read more.
  • David Shaw Arboretum, Holmdel
    • Parks, golf courses and Monmouth Cove Marina will remain open but as of Saturday, March 14, all programs are cancelled and buildings are closed through at least March 22. Restrooms are available in select buildings. As always, Park Rangers are on duty to provide assistance as needed. (posted 3/13/2020 on the Monmouth County Park system)
  • Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown, 732-671-6050
    • Parks, golf courses and Monmouth Cove Marina will remain open but as of Saturday, March 14, all programs are cancelled and buildings are closed through at least March 22. Restrooms are available in select buildings. As always, Park Rangers are on duty to provide assistance as needed. (posted 3/13/2020 on the Monmouth County Park system)
  • Duke Farms Orchid Range, Hillsborough, 908-722-3700
    • From their website, Duke Farms has made the decision to close to the public starting March 14 until further notice.
  • Reeves Arboretum, Summit, 908-273-8787
    • From their website, “The grounds and Wisner House will remain open to the public during regularly
      scheduled hours.”
  • Merrill Creek Reservoir Butterfly Garden, Washington Twp, 908-454-1213
    • From their website, “The Visitor Center will be closed until further notice due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). – The Merrill Creek property will remain open.”

Special Coronavirus Deals in New Jersey

  • The Burger Shop in Matawan will be offering kids meals free to every student until school reopens. Monday – Friday (11 am -2 pm). Learn more on their Facebook page.
  • Mickey’s in Tuckerton is offering free kids meals everyday from 12 – 2 pm while schools are closed. Learn more in this Facebook post.
  • U-Haul Offers 30 Days Free Self-Storage amid Coronavirus Outbreak. Learn more in this press release.

Online Resources to keep your kids busy

Livestreaming & Videos

  • Soccer Lessons

    • Soccer Specific Training is offering live online soccer practices Monday Wednesday and Friday at 2 pm. Learn more.

30 Day Challenges & Themed Ideas

Virtual Tours & Field Trips

There are museums and family attractions across the country that offer virtual tours and e-learning experiences. Take a look at their videos. We’re also including links to our most popular videos so you can take a virtual field trip with us.

United States Destinations

  • Guggenheim Museum in New York – With a streetside view from Google your kids can tour the Guggenheim’s famous spiral staircase from their favorite spot IN your home. Discover incredible works of art from the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary eras.
  • NASA Glenn Virtual Tours – Get an inside look at NASA Glenn Research Center’s facilities. Select a tour and tap the icons to view videos, images and see testing in action.
  • National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. – The National Gallery of Art – the nation’s museum – preserves, collects, exhibits, and fosters an understanding of works of art. If you can’t visit it in person you can see the galleries online.
  • National Museum of the United States Air Force – The virtual tour allows visitors to take a virtual, 360-degree, self-guided tour of the entire museum by navigating from gallery to gallery either by using a drop-down map or by following navigational arrows connecting the individual nodes.

International Destinations

  • The Louvre in Paris – Visit the museum’s exhibition rooms and galleries, contemplate the facades of the Louvre.
  • British Museum, London – Tour London’s British Museum without the crowds with a virtual tour. See the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies. Examine hundreds of artifacts all with the museum’s virtual tour. Warning this site does take a while to load.
  • Musée d’Orsay in Paris – When you virtually tour this art gallery you can see dozens of famous works from French artists who worked and lived between 1848 and 1914.
  • Find more ideas here for museums around that world that have Google virtual tours.

We will continue to update this blog post as the situation develops and there is news to update. If there’s something we are missing please comment below.

Posted in: All, Things to do in Central Jersey, Things to do in New Jersey, Things to do in North Jersey, Things to do in South Jersey

Jennifer Auer is the hyperlocal mom blogger who runs Jersey Family Fun. From New Jersey, this mom of 3 boys just can’t sit still! Her husband likes to say she’s a work-at-home mom who never stays home. Jennifer started traveling as a child and hasn’t stopped since. Instead of letting her husband and boys slow her down, she brings them along! As her boys transition from tweens to teens there’s still so many places she wants to discover with them both across the U.S. and internationally. She has been a Jersey Girl for 35+ years, and a Jersey Mom for 15+ years and a New Jersey mom blogger for 10 years, although she'd much rather be referred to as an influencer or just by name. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus on Entrepreneurship from Bryant University in Rhode Island.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.