This is not a sponsored post.
Living with kids near the beach in the summer is like a dream come true. The possibilities are endless: walks on the boardwalk, nighttime picnics by the ocean, and more playgrounds than you can shake a stick at. With three kids, we are always on the go and almost never inside once the weather warms up. But during the cold winter and early spring months, it sometimes seems like our neck of the woods turns into a bit of a ghost town. Sure there are bounce places and the occasional indoor playground, but the appeal seems to wear off after a few visits, even for the kids.
Our favorite place to visit in the winter time has become the Monmouth County Parks System. With tons of activities happening at over 30 county locations, the Parks System offers a huge variety of things to do for an affordable price.
We love to visit the Historic Longstreet Farm, located in Holmdel Park. (see our review here) The farm is open year-round and is free to visit and park. It’s fun for the whole family to bundle up the kids in their winter coats and gloves and take them to see the animals. Longstreet Farm also offers weekend activities that allow visitors to experience life during the 1890s. Check our calendar of events for fun events like blacksmith demonstrations and winter walks.
A new addition to the Monmouth County Parks System is the Fort Monmouth Recreation Area. The Fort hosts many indoor family-friendly activities such as family gym time, drop-in arts and crafts, and teen open-gym basketball. These events all cost no more than $5 per person, and the family gym time costs $10 per family – a steal if you have more than one kid. These programs are a great way to get your kids moving and active when the weather is just too cold to bear or the ground is covered in snow. As an added bonus, the Fort has a huge lobby filled with free table games like foosball and air hockey, big couches and loads of books to read. Once my kids were through with open gym, we spent a ton of time playing foosball and board games before we left for the day.
If arts and crafts interest your child (or you!), you need to check out everything that is offered at the Thompson Park Creative Arts Center. They frequently host free events, like the upcoming Pottery Open House, where kids and adults can sample hand building techniques and try out the potter’s wheel. It’s a great way to see if your child is interested in trying a crafting class without having to sign up for one first. The Creative Arts Center also offers affordable children’s classes like sewing, art, and painting. Thompson Park also offers a yearly Winterfest which has so many fun activities you’ll forget you’re cold! Don’t miss the dog park – our family can watch those pups play all day!
One of the most beautiful places to visit year-round is the Deep Cut Gardens. There are 54 acres of gardens and greenhouses where you can observe the different plants and blooms throughout all four seasons. Deep Cut Gardens has one of our favorite (and free) wintertime activities. Available daily from 10 am – 4 pm is their Garden Safari Backpacks program. Each backpack contains all you need to help you and your family discover new ways of seeing living and nonliving features of the gardens. It’s such a fun way for the kids to explore and learn about nature, and all that walking will really tire them out!
While the Monmouth County Parks System is no doubt a gorgeous place to visit in the warmer months, it also holds a plethora of activities for you and your family during the winter as well. We love to visit the Parks System for their fun and creative activities and we appreciate the fact that they are always low-cost for a family on a budget.