Skip to Content

3 Great Ways to Spend a Summer Day in Essex County NJ


NJ Summer Day Trip Ideas
This summer, while the kids are off from school, make sure you get out there and have fun with one of these 3 great ways to spend a summer day in Essex County, all of them would make a great day trip for New Jersey families.


3 Great Ways to Spend a Summer Day in Essex County New Jersey

Family Fun Nights at Applegate Farms

Applegate Farms has been an institution in Montclair for since the 1920’s. While it’s history goes back to 1848 which is impressive, let’s focus on important things like ice cream. They make some good ice cream. They have the staples of any ice cream retailer such as vanilla, chocolate, but they also are proud of their unique creations such as Graham Central Station and Caramel Cow. They have sherbets, sorbets, low fat yogurt, cookies, and baked goods. However, one cannot spend a significant amount of time in an ice cream parlor as much as they might try.


Including a night time activity may contradict the title of this post, however the Family Fun Nights are a great time for the family. Last year, Applegate offered family friendly films on Wednesday nights at the end of June until the end of July. The Family Fun Nights include additional entertainment such as music, prizes, and activities. On Sunday nights, there may not be a movie but there is plenty of entertainment such as a magician and games.


The calendar for this year’s events have not been published yet, but we will be adding their events to our New Jersey Calendar of Events.  Just remember; a formula that includes ice cream and movies is just a win for every member of the family.


Turtle Back Zoo

Considered one of the best zoos in New Jersey, the Turtle Back Zoo has consistently been building and adding on offerings for their patrons every year. Last year, they built the Dinosaur Playground which has been tested by all of my family members and approved for it’s extremely cool design as well as it’s ability to occupy my children for a solid length of time. This year, they are constructing a new educational facility which should open in July where they plan on expanding the programs offered to children. Let’s begin our blog tour with some fun features: touch tank for stingrays, new sea lion tank, train ride, diversity of animals, and of course the dinosaur playground.

Many treasures greet the kids at the new playground at Turtle Back Zoo.

Many treasures greet the kids at the new playground at Turtle Back Zoo.


In the summer, on Tuesdays after 2 PM Essex County residents pay a discounted ticket price of $1.00  Children under the age of two are free.  Members are invited to attend Family Fun Nights and Night Moves.  The zoo closes at 5 PM except during the Night Moves programs when you can see the animals at night. Family Fun Nights take place on Wednesdays when the zoo is open later and entertainment is available for the entire family. Lastly, if your children love animals then look at the workshops available to children that enables them to have  a closer look at the residents of the zoo.


Opening Memorial Day Weekend for an additional cost, children can walk through a butterfly tent to interact with vibrantly colored butterflies. The zoo charges admission but parking is free. Whether it is the monarch butterflies, wolves, or gibbons, Turtle Back Zoo offers a lot of attractions which can occupy a significant amount of time.


Turtle Back Zoo

One of the many dinosaurs that children can climb at the new park.


Cora Hartshorn Arboretum & Bird Sanctuary

Located in a residential area of Short Hill is this quiet little gem that is over 16 acres in size. The woodland gardens are filled with wildflowers native to New Jersey, 40 species of trees, many species of birds, and even a 100 year old tulip tree.


Interacting with the community, the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum serves to educate, research, outreach, and have horticulture and zoological displays. You can visit the Arboretum to enjoy the gardens or your children can participate in one of their educational programs (the one day workshops, the Saturday morning program called “Environmental Eagles”, the summer camp) or the family might enjoy volunteering here. Some of their unique events have even included ecologically responsible landscaping to camping under the stars.


A relaxing summer day strolling through the natural and diverse terrain of New Jersey will be a great way to spend time with the family.

Cora Hartshorn Arboretum is located at 324 Forest Drive South, Short Hills, NJ 07078.


We hope you’ve enjoyed these great ways to spend a summer day in Essex County.


Click on over for more great ways to spend a summer day in New Jersey.


NJ Beach Tag information


JFF Newsletter

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

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

error: Alert: Content is protected !!