New Jersey parents don’t have to spend a lot of money to provide their children with educational activities or share some family time. There are lots of opportunities for free (or nearly free) family fun in the Garden State .
Have a movie night with your kids without spending big bucks at the theater; instead, borrow one from your local library. If your library has an online catalog, use it to reserve a family flick in advance. New Jersey libraries also are a valuable resource for free weekly family programs and special activities.
There are museums, zoos and other attractions that offer reduced or free admission on a specific day, for a special occasion or certain times of the year. The Newark Museum, for example, extends free admission to city residents. General admission to the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton is always free and they provide Free Second Saturday Performances. The Cape May County Zoo in Cape May Courthouse is free to visitors and you can skip the admission fee on Thursdays from 5 pm to 8 pm at the Morris Museum in Morristown. Expose your child to a foreign language with free French and Spanish story times at the Language Workshop for Children’s Montclair location.
Some attractions use a holiday to slash ticket prices – children who wear green on St. Patrick’s Day to Imagine That! Museum in Florham Park can get in for half price . Thanks to corporate sponsorship, children can enjoy free entertainment with their parents at Milk and Cookies events at the State Theatre in New Brunswick.
What free activities and attractions are in your town? Visit your town or county website for information on special events from Easter Egg hunts to St. Patrick’s Day Parades in New Jersey. Local festivals are another great way to spend time as a family for free or little money. However, avoid spending a lot of money on fast food by eating before you leave or packing a light, picnic lunch. Bring along a small bag of snacks and juice boxes to stave off hunger-inspired tantrums.
Searching for enrichment opportunities without a big price tag? Your local recreation department or heritage commission may also offer classes or kids’ programs that are educational and entertaining but won’t break your budget. The Middlesex Borough Recreation Dept offers toddler play programs for less than $7 a session (cheaper for borough residents). In Warren, area parents and preschoolers can partake in Pop-In Playdates for free on Thursday mornings.