Apple and Pumpkin Picking Close to Jersey City

Apple and Pumpkin Picking in Jersey City

The kids are back in school and it’s time to plan for your favorite fall activities. I have too many to list, but two that are probably near the top of everyone’s list are apple and pumpkin picking. Just because we live in a city, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy this rural treat! Here’s a list of apple and pumpkin picking farms located within driving distance of downtown Jersey City.

Apple and Pumpkin Picking in Jersey City     

 Demarest Farms

244 Wierimus Road, Hillsdale

This farm is the closest to downtown Jersey City on this list. It’s located in Bergen County about a 35 minute drive from downtown. Offering more than 14 varieties of pick-your-own apples, Demarest is open Monday – Friday from 3 – 4:30pm and weekends from 10am – 4:30pm. The cost of admission is $5/person and includes hayride, corn maze and a visit with the farm animals. Plus, $9 for a bag to hold all the apples you can pick. They offer the same deal for pumpkin picking. Their farm store boasts fresh produce, baked goods, apple cider donuts made daily, the famous made-from-scratch salad bar, rotisserie chickens and much more. Be sure to visit the seasonal garden center for all your fall decoration needs!

Apple and Pumpkin Picking in Jersey City

Ripple Hill Farm

181 Mountain Road, Basking Ridge

Ripple Hill is located just off of Route 78, about a 40 minute drive from downtown Jersey City. If you don’t want to travel far, this is your best option. They offer pick-your-own apples on Sundays through October. Pumpkins become available in October and they have them available at the farm stand for purchase. Check out their Facebook page for up to date picking information and availability. Hours are generally Sundays from noon – 4pm, but call before you go to confirm.

Melick’s Town Farm

170 Oldwick Road, Whitehouse Station

This farm is just a bit further down Route 78 than Ripple Hill Farm. It’s about a 45 minute drive from downtown Jersey City. Melick’s also has two other locations in Califon and Bridgewater (a bit further from us). This well-known farm offers pick-your-own apples including Empire, Macoun and Cortland varieties. They offer free tractor wagon rides on the weekends. Be sure to check out their Cider Mill for awesome fresh apple cider. You can pick-your-own pumpkins at their Califon location, but they offer a large selection of pumpkins at all of their farm locations. The farm market also has seasonal fruit and vegetables, plants, jams, baked goods, fall decorations and a variety of country store favorites. The Oldwick location is open 7 days a week April through December from 9am – 6pm. The Cider Mill is nearby at 19 King Street in Oldwick.

Apple and Pumpkin Picking in Jersey City

Terhune Orchards 

330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton

This farm is a family favorite for us! We make a trip out here every year for apple and pumpkin picking and to enjoy their Fall Family Fun Weekends. The drive is about an hour and 15 minutes from downtown Jersey City. Terhune is open year-round and offers many pick-your-own options. Apples are particularly good here and can be found around the corner on Van Kirk Road. You can see what’s picking today here and always make sure to call before you go, just in case things are getting picked out. Pumpkin picking is available at the main location on Cold Soil Road. Pick-your-own amongst the five acres in the pumpkin patch! Weekends through November 2, enjoy Fall Family Fun from 10am – 5pm. Enjoy live music, pony rides, the Adventure Barn, tractor drawn wagon rides, a hay bale maze, pumpkin painting, farm animals and so much more! Don’t forget to grab some of the delicious fall food including BBQ chicken, pork sandwiches, homemade salads, cider donuts and much more. Check out the farm store, which carries produce, baked goods, jams, honey, donuts and much more. There is even a winery on site. The farm store, pumpkin display and the winery are always open and available, but to enter the festival area it is $5/person (children under 3 are free).

Apple and Pumpkin Picking in Jersey City

Alstede Farms 

1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester

This popular farm offers many activities for families looking for a day of fall fun and it’s just under an hour’s drive from downtown Jersey City. Pick-your-own is available everyday from 9am – 6pm at Alstede Farms. They offer everything from free use of pull wagons to transport your harvest from the fields to a free scenic hayride shuttle to the picking fields and orchards. Pick-you-own admission is $5/person (children under 2 are free) and that includes a $2 coupon toward your purchase and free hayrides to the picking areas. They offer mid-week specials on Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am – 1pm where admission is free! Click here for apple varieties and availability, but remember to call before you go to confirm. You can pick more than just apples and pumpkins at this farm. Currently, you can pick tomatoes, flowers, eggplant, peppers, string beans and more. After you’re done picking, check out Fall Family Fun Days. Activities include pony rides, moon bounce, wagon train rides, corn kingdom, corn maze, farm animals, bunny run and more! Plus, on weekends enjoy live Bluegrass music with your pick-your-own admission. Some activities cost extra, so click here for ticket information and activity passes. Take a look at their calendar of events for dates and more information.

6 Back to school Tips

Summer is winding down (unfortunately) and it’s just about that time to go back to school! Very soon Jersey City Public Schools (and most private schools) begin the 2017 – 2018 school year. I don’t know about you, but I feel like it’s really crept up on me this year. There are so many things to do before school begins that it can be hard to keep track. Here are some ideas that can help you get organized for the new session !

Label It
: One thing that’s generally consistent at every school (especially for the younger set) is that they want EVERYTHING labeled. This can be a daunting task. You can try old favorites like Fabric Markers, but sometimes it’s hard to label all clothing that way, especially on dark colored items. Name Bubbles are fantastic. These labels are durable and laundry-safe (they won’t wash off!), plus you can put them on virtually anything. Not to mention, they are pretty cute looking.

6 Back to school Tips

Change of clothes: The younger set usually need a clean set of clothes to bring to school. This is something you can get done now and put aside for next week. Grab some summer clothes (or a spare uniform, if applicable) and put them into a large Ziploc bag. This way you can label the bag and it can easily be organized with your child’s other school items. The bag also doubles as a laundry bag for the soiled clothes being sent home.

6 Back to school Tips

School Supplies: Shopping for school supplies this close to the beginning of the school year can be a nightmare! The school supply aisles become ransacked and bought out. I like to shop at the Staples in Jersey City for school supplies. The store tends to be a lot less hectic than its neighbor (Target) and they carry pretty much every school supply you will need. Coupons: Check the link for some Staples coupons that you can bring into the store. If you don’t feel like braving the stores, you still have time to shop online! Amazon has its very own Back to School store. If you order soon, you should have it in time for the first day of school, especially if you have Amazon Prime.

6 Back to school TipsSchool Lunch: The age old question…send them with lunch money or brown bag it? Get creative with homemade lunches! Don’t miss this Buzzfeed post “27 School Lunch Tips That Will Keep You Sane,” which includes great ideas like freezing juice boxes the night before to double as ice packs. If you are feeling gourmet, you can try “19 School Lunch Ideas That Are Healthy (Mostly)” from Bon Appetit with recipes like Tomato Grilled Cheese Soup and The Antipasti Plate. Or you can always hit up the Pinterest Boards! To make your life easier, check out these reusable lunch containers with ice packs in the lids or try these reusable sandwich and snack bags.

6 Back to school Tips




School Clothes: Last minute shopper? Don’t fear! Lots of stores are having Labor Day sales this weekend, so you can stock up and give the pocketbook a break, too. Macy’s is having a big sale in stores and online. Click here  for an in-store coupon. Gap is advertising “Everything up to 40% off” in stores and online. Plus, they have great options for uniforms, like khaki pants and skirts. If you need school shoes still, Zappos has a great selection of children’s shoes. As an added bonus, they ship quickly and shipping and returns are free, so you can order multiple sizes if you are unsure.

Get a Haircut: Looking to clean up those untamed summer tresses? There are plenty of options in our area. For the smaller ones, it’s important to find somewhere geared towards young children. Just 4 Kids in Hoboken is a great option for kids of all ages. They are especially good for younger kids. They offer Ferrari and Hummer styling chairs, flat screen TV’s equipped with Apple TVs with Netflix and Hulu. They ask you child what their favorite show is before they even begin. There are also games, balloons and organic lollipops. Tousled Hair Salon is a local option (where you can get your haircut, too!) that offers children’s haircuts.

Take the Ferry for Fun! Jersey City to Manhattan

Fun things to do in jersey city : Take the kids to lower Manhattan for some fun activities! Here are some that my family has been enjoying.

The Ferry

The ferry is part of the adventure! Kids love boats and who can resist a ride on the Hudson River? It’s a short ride, but a fun one. Catch the ferry at the Paulus Hook Terminal at the end of Sussex Street at the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway in Jersey City. The ferry takes you over to the World Financial Center Terminal in lower Manhattan. For a quicker and easier experience, download NYWaterway’s smartphone app and purchase your tickets in advance. FYI, there are brand-new (and clean) bathrooms at the Paulus Hook Terminal in the building you buy tickets. [I would suggest using them before the ferry ride because the ones at WFC aren’t as clean or nice.] The ferries depart every 15 minutes and travel time is approximately 7 minutes.

Fun things to do in jersey city

Fun things to do in jersey cityHit the Park

There are two great parks very close to the WFC Terminal in NYC. Rockefeller Park is the closest and is located just off the waterfront walkway to the left of the ferry terminal. It is located at the north end of Battery Park City, west of River Terrace. There is a duck pond, wide lawns, as well as a large playground. The playground offers a sand area, water features, unique playground equipment and more. Plus, you can pick up free equipment at the Batter Park Conservancy Parkhouse for ping-pong, knock-hockey and other games! Teardrop Park is located between Warren and Murray Streets, east of River Terrace. This two-acre park features a fantastic slide, sand boxes, an “ice wall”, water play areas, places to rock hop and much more! Hit one or both of these parks during your excursion and the kids will love it! Rockefeller Park is also a great place to wait for the ferry, since you can see it from the playground.

Take a Walk or a Ride

The Battery Park City Esplanade runs along the Hudson River for the entire length of Battery Park City and is lined with parks and gardens. It’s a great place to walk from the ferry with many interesting stops along the way and gorgeous views of Jersey City! There is also a bike path. Taking a bike on the ferry will cost you an additional $1 per bike, but can be worth it, especially with the reduced ferry rates on the weekends. If you don’t have a bike, there is a convenient Citi Bike location at Vesey Place and River Terrace, very close to the ferry terminal. If you are into biking, try riding out to West Street and north up the West Side Highway. The views are terrific and there are many things to do along the way, including The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.

Fun things to do in jersey cityGo to the Movies

The Regal Battery Park Stadium Cinema is just blocks from the ferry terminal. This movie theater is newer, big and offers large comfy seats and 11 screens. Plus, there’s always convenient show times for families.

Visit a Museum

We all know there are a ton of museums in the NYC area, but choosing one can be tough. Luckily, there are some interesting museums within walking distance from the ferry at WFC. The Skyscraper Museum is located at 39 Battery Place just off Battery Park. It’s a great option for kids who are very into buildings. Another fun museum that’s not too far is the National Museum of the American Indian located at Bowling Green. They offer family activities including music, dance and art. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is now open and a close walk from the ferry. The Battery Park City Library is located at North End Avenue at Murray Street. The library offers many activities and events for families.

Fun things to do in jersey cityEat!

So, there’s also some good eats around this area. One of our favorite post-park eateries is Shake Shack’s Battery Park location. It’s only a few blocks from the playgrounds I mentioned and it’s just around the corner from the movie theater. Plus, there is plenty of outdoor seating, so it’s perfect for beautiful summer and fall days. They offer everything you want from a Shake Shack, including burgers, fries and those yummy milkshakes. There is also a Blue Smoke located in Battery Park, as well. The famous BBQ restaurant boasts menu favorites like fried chicken and ribs. They also offer a kids menu featuring mac and cheese, ribs and grilled cheese (plus dessert!). If you feel like walking a little bit, I highly-recommend Luke’s Lobster, located on William Street in the Financial District. It’s a nice walk from the ferry and the lobster rolls are delicious.

Also visit Brookfield Place NY, where you can find a French market and a huge dining area, also they always have some show or activity going on for all ages.

It’s Too Hot, Get Out of the City and onto an NJ Farm

Farms near Jersey City

Although there are a ton of great things to do in Jersey City, when summer rolls around, sometimes you just have to get out of the hot city. Remember, New Jersey isn’t called the “Garden State” for nothing. There are plenty of farms with wonderful activities for kids of all ages…and some are even close to Jersey City! Here are some great farms within about an hour or less driving distance. Just remember to call these farms before you plan your trip to see what’s in season and ripe for the picking!

Our personal family favorite is Terhune Orchards in Princeton, NJ. The farm takes about an hour to get to from Jersey City. Terhune offers activities, festivals and farm fun all year long. We go every year in the Fall to pick pumpkins and apples. Even when there isn’t an official event, the farm has a lot to offer. There’s always fresh produce, baked goods and even a winery on site. The farm store boasts a bountiful array of Jersey Fresh items straight from the farm and other local vendors. Don’t miss their Sweet Apple Cider (or the cider donuts)! For kids there are barnyard animals (sheep, goats, ducks, etc.), stationary tractors, a farm trail and much more. If you like to pick-your-own, this is a great place to do that all year long. Click here for a schedule of what you can pick and when.  Terhune Orchards, 330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton, NJ, 609-924-2310.

Another one of my favorites is Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ. It should take you just under an hour to get there by car. Alstede offers so many wonderful things. From their farm store, pick-your-own fruits/veggies/flowers to their summer camps to their delicious baked goods — this farm has it all! Their farm store is extensive, featuring items like Alstede’s homemade ice cream (yum), certified organic produce, fresh local milk and eggs, home baked pies and quiche and so much more! They offer pick-your-own daily (Mon-thursday) from 12pm – 6pm for $5/person (free hayrides are included). Right now, you can still pick strawberries! Check this schedule to see what you can pick and when. Every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday come for Farm Family Fun days with activities including pony rides, moonbounce, corn kingdom and more. Alstede Farms, 1 Chesterfield Drive, Chester, NJ, 908-879-7189.

Demarest Farms is in nearby Hillsdale, NJ, which is under an hour from Jersey City. They tout themselves as “Bergen County’s capital of pick-your-own peaches, apples and pumpkins” and our in their 128th season. The farm offers many things to pique your interest, including their Country Bakery, ice cream shoppe, home grown fruits and veggies, a variety of local dairy and cheeses and their infamous made-from-scratch salad bar. Click here to see what’s in season at Demarest. Come on weekends to enjoy farm activities like hay rides. Saturdays and Sundays, from 10AM to 3:00PM.

Cost: $5 per person General Admission, which includes a hay wagon ride; plus $9 for a bag to hold the peaches that you pick!

  • Peach Picking will begin on or around July 23, 2016. Call for details.
  •  Demarest Farms, 244 Werimus Road, Hillsdale, NJ, 201-666-0472.

You may recognize the name Ort Farms if you frequent Jersey City Farmer’s Markets, as they are a vendor at many of them. Why not drive out to see where it all comes from? The farm is located in Long Valley and takes about an hour to drive from here. They offer farm-fresh fruits and veggies including corn and tomatoes and fresh flowers, too. They even offer a CSA, so you can buy a share and get in on some really great local produce for your family. Check out this page to see what’s in season during the summer months at Ort. Delicious baked goods like pies, loaf cakes and cider donuts are available.  It’s a great place to bring a picnic and take a daytrip with the family. There’s plenty of room to run around — kids can climb on the hay pyramid, take a look at the farm animals and even get involved in Storytime Down on the Farm (Wednesday mornings), where kid will enjoy a story, snack and craft for $4/child (Preregister calling 908-876-3351).

ONLY IN NOVEMBER: Don’t forget to stop in the Country Corner Market and pick up some local honey, jams, jellies, fresh bread, baked goods, dairy products, plants and much more! The store is open from 9am – 7pm and 9am – 6pm on Sundays. Ort Farms, 25 Bartley Road, Long Valley, NJ, 908-876-3351.

Sussex County Strawberry Farm is located in Newton, NJ and will take about an hour to drive to. This fun farm specializes in strawberry picking, but offers much more. Click here for some good-to-know strawberry facts and tips. In late August, raspberry picking season begins! They also offer pumpkin picking in the Fall. The farm’s extensive garden center offers a wide-variety of flowers, vegetables, herbs and much more! They have many things to satisfy your gardening needs, as well. Another perk is the outdoor wood furniture and picnic tables that the farm has for sale. There’s so much to do on the farm! Click here for some strawberry inspired recipes. Sussex County Strawberry Farm, Highway 206, Andover, NJ, 973-579-5055. (973) 579-5055

Jersey City and Hoboken Sprinkler Parks and Pools

 With it heating up in Jersey City, it’s time to get outside with your kids. On the really warm days, the only place to be is a sprinkler park or at one of the city pools. Here’s a list of the sprinkler parks and pools in Jersey City, and some in Hoboken, so you can enjoy those really hot days and keep the kids active.

Jersey City: Jersey City Sprinkler Parks 


Pavonia Pool is located at 917 Pavonia Avenue in the West Side neighborhood of Jersey City. The pool is currently open Monday – Friday from 4pm – 7pm and weekends from 11am – 7pm. The hours will be extended, once school is out for the summer. This pool is free to residents.

Jersey City Sprinkler Parks Lafayette Pool and Aquatic Center is located at 395 Johnston Avenue in the Communipaw neighborhood of Jersey City. This location is very convenient to downtown Jersey City and Liberty State Park. The pool offers a kiddie pool with water features and a slide, a larger pool and a snack stand. The center is open Monday – Friday from 7am – 10am for adult/lap swim only and 4pm – 7pm for everyone (the hours will get longer when school is out of session). Weekend hours are 11am – 7pm.

Jersey City Sprinkler Parks Pershing Field Pool is located at 201 Central Avenue in Jersey City Heights. The pool is currently open Monday – Friday from 7am – 8pm and on weekends from noon – 5pm. This pool is indoors, so you can go regardless of the weather. The fees for this pool for residents are $3 for adults and $2 for children on weekdays and $4 for adults and $3 for children on weekends. For non-residents, the fees are $6 for adults and $4 for children on weekdays and $8 for adults and $4 for kids on weekends.


Sprinklers are available in the following Jersey City parks. All city sprinklers are open daily from 11am – 7pm.  The first few below are in the downtown area. I’ve listed them, along with other fun things available at and around the downtown area parks.

Hamilton Park, 8th Street and Hamilton Place — Take a leisurely day at Hamilton Park with the whole family. The Splash Pad will help keep the kiddies cool or let them monkey around in the playground area. There is even a playground for the smaller children, which includes a little sprayer (since the Splash Pad can get a bit wild). Or just bring a blanket and sit in the shade, while the kids play on one of the beautiful lawn areas. There are even two dog runs, so don’t forget your furry baby. On Wednesdays you can enjoy all of these activities, plus the weekly farmer’s market. The park gets crowded, but it’s fun to picnic on the grass and try some of the yummy local food the market offers.

Jersey City Sprinkler Parks  Newport Green, 700 Washington Boulevard — Newport Green isn’t actually a city park. The sprinklers are supposed to shut down around 6pm and the park itself closes at dusk. This unique little park, not only offers a fun sprinkler area, it also has a large and modern playground — complete with something for kids of all ages. This park also boasts a small carousel that’s a huge hit with the younger kids. A small sandy beach with umbrellas completes this downtown oasis. Parking can be an issue, so make sure to follow the rules posted on signs along the streets. Also, remember pets are not allowed at Newport Green.

Enos Jones Park, 8th Street and Brunswick Street — This small park has a cute sprinkler area in the playground. A whale, dolphin and seal squirt water and kids have an area to run around and play while cooling off. The playground is right there, so kids can run from one to the other, plus the entire area is gated. A small, pretty community garden project is in the corner of the area. The park also offers a skate park, for those who love to ride their scooters on ramps! You can walk around the entire park and it’s usually a nice quiet walk. Feel free to bring dogs! This park is within walking distance of the bigger Hamilton Park, so if you feel like hitting two in one day, it can easily be done. Stop by a local (kid-friendly) eatery like Carmine’son Brunswick and 7th for a sandwich or sit at an outdoor table at the White Star for a burger and fries.

Pershing Field Park, Summit Avenue and Pershing Plaza 

Lafayette Park, Maple Street and Van Horne Avenue 

Dr. Lena Edwards Park, 325 Johnston Avenue 

Arlington Park, 785 Grand Street 

Audubon Park, 103-129 Bergen Avenue 

LaPointe Park, 90-92 Dekalb Avenue 

Country Village Park, 30 Sycamore Road

Columbia Park, Bartholdi Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard 

Bayside Park, 480 Garfield Avenue 

Muhammad Ali Park, Van Nostrand Avenue 

For more information, please call 201-547-5003 or 201-547-4449 for sprinklers.


Four parks in Hoboken offer sprinklers for the kids to cool down! They are open daily from 11am – 5pm all summer long. Here’s the list:

Church Square Park, 4th Street and Willow Avenue — This newly-renovated park includes a sprinkler area, brand-new playground equipment, swings and even an area dedicated to toddlers. There is also a dog run, so feel free to bring the dogs. Hoboken Public Library is right across the street, so you can pop in for story time if you are feeling too hot. Don’t forget to stop by Sweet for what some consider the best cupcakes in the area!

Jackson Street Park, Jackson Street and 1st Street — This park is tucked away in a quiet area of Hoboken. After you wear yourselves out, walk down to the original Hoboken location of the famous Grimaldi’s on Clinton and 2nd Streets and grab a slice of what is hailed, by some, as the best pizza ever.

Madison Park, Madison Street and 3rd Street — Another quiet location, you can walk around the little shops, go to the movie theatre down the block or stop by the infamous Fiore’s Deli on Adams Street for a fresh mozzarella and gravy sandwich!

Elysian Park, Hudson Street and 10th Street — Close to the waterfront, this location allows you many options to walk around with your little ones. Take a walk to Shipyard Park or Castle Point Skate Park. There is a dog run, so bring your dogs along. There are countless cafes and pizzerias in this area, so take your pick and enjoy!

For more information on Hoboken parks and sprinklers call 201-420-2012 and check out here

Visit a Garden this Summer!


I grew up in Pennsylvania with lots of land, play space and gardens around me always.. that’s why I definitely miss all of the above while living the apartment lifestyle in Jersey City. Gardens are a great way to spark creativity in children. The colors, the animals, the birds… the space to just ‘be’ are all very important. Here is a list of very impressive gardens and outdoor spaces you might want to try out this May.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

By far, my favorite green space in New York City. Amazing views, meticulous gardens, and spaces that are so quiet you really can’t believe the city is outside its walls! A somewhat quick trip from Jersey City… just take the WTC train and transfer to the subway in lower Manhattan. BBG is very kid friendly and there is a great cafe and gift shop for the family’s enjoyment as well. Find out more here:

Liberty State Park

Located minutes from downtown Jersey City and Newport, Liberty State Park is an amazing getaway for kids. You can fly a kite, have a picnic, or walk by the marshlands. I always see cool birds and animals there while visiting 😉 Best part is…. it’s free! Visit LSP online:

Van Vorst Park

This one you probably know already… but what you might not know is Van Vorst Park is mainly the result of the hard work and dedication of one volunteer who tirelessly tends to the flowers and plants. {Read more about him in the Spring edition of JCI Magazine}. A beautiful garden right under our nose, VVP is a great place to take the kids. Let them sketch the many flowers or take digital pics of the roses this June.

Longwood Gardens

Ok, this one is a real distance from NJ but worth it. It’s an amazing estate not that far from my parent’s home in Pennsylvania, but if you don’t mind taking a road trip, it’s worth the time. Longwood Gardens pretty much blows other public green spaces out of the water. There are huge greenhouses, an impressive pond, light and water shows, tree houses for kids and gardens, gardens, gardens! Kids will love it and surely be inspired – guaranteed!

Moms, I hope you have been enjoying my weekly column about crafting and promoting creativity in your children. Please add your comments below each week, I would really love and appreciate it to hear them. Also, if there’s anything project or kid related art topic you’d like me to cover – let me know!!

Ashley Lucas is a local illustrator and crafts designer based in Jersey City, NJ. She is the author and illustrator of various children’s books and has contributed to such popular sites as eHow and ModernMom. Her specialties in include holiday crafting and making art ‘cute’ for young children! Ashley designs murals for kids rooms in Jersey City, and offers kid friendly artwork and decor to the community through her business ‘Lady Lucas’.

More Indoor Spaces in and Around Jersey City – for All Ages

Indoor Spaces in Jersey City

Yes, it’s cold outside and the groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter. Kids of all ages are beginning to get stir crazy, not to mention parents. Here are some ideas to keep you and the kids busy. Check out my list of places to have some indoor fun for kids of all ages.

Jersey City:

Liberty Science Center 

We know that Liberty Science Center is a great place to bring toddlers, but did you know that there are activities for older kids, as well? The BASF Kids’ Lab is a place for children 6 – 12 (accompanied by at least one adult per 4 children) to explore with chemistry.  find out why we sneeze or hop onto the subway car and learn how diseases spread. Don’t forget to check out the IMAX Dome Theater, which is great for all age.

You can even do a Camp In overnight birthday party ($60 per camper and $200 birthday package fee). They also offer regular birthday parties for children ages 1 – 12!

In door play area in Jersey CityJersey City Public Library 

The Vincenzo Domenico Bonetti II Room at the main branch of Jersey City Public Library (472 Jersey Avenue in downtown JC) offers many free events and activities for older children. There are always crafts, art, movies and so much more going on! Take your kids in to get their free library card. Letting them choose books on their own and being responsible for bringing them back on time is great practice for them! Children of any age can get a card, but children under 14 need a parent with them. For residents of Jersey City that are high school aged and older, you must show a photo ID and proof that you live in Jersey City (an official bill addressed to you at your JC address). Parents may apply for a card for their child. Click here for an application and bring it into any branch with the proper identification. Plus, there are computers available for children to use.

In door play area in Jersey CityFree Swimming Lessons 

Jersey City is offering free swimming lessons to children ages 6 – 14 years at local area pools through May 2014. The program locations are listed on the flyer and include PS 6, PS 16, PS 23, PS 27 and PS 41. There is a class beginning this month, call 201-547-5003 for registration information.

Indoor Spaces in Jersey CitySaint Peter’s Swimming Pool 

Children of all ages can sign up for lessons or you can get a family pool membership and children can swim during the designated swim times all year long. Swim lessons are 7 weeks in length and cost $100 per child and $180 for 2 children. For more information, call 201-761-7338. You can also go directly to the pool to register Monday – Friday between 3pm and 6pm.

Pershing Field Pool 

Pershing Field Pool is located at the corner of Summit and Pershing in Jersey City Heights. This indoor pool is open daily to the public, with limited free swim hours. Please click here to confirm times. Fees are $3 for resident adults and $1.50 for resident children. There is also an outdoor ice skating rink located on-site.

In door play area in Jersey CityPole Position 

If you have a child who feels the need for speed this is the place for you! Pole Position is an indoor go-kart racing facility located on Caven Point Road right here in Jersey City. The facility offers a snack bar and arcade, in addition to non-stop racing fun! Stop in for Arrive and Drive racing. You walk in on a first-come, first-served basis. They offer a Youth Race for children 58 inches or taller ($20/member and $25/non-member) and Junior Races for children 48 inches – 56 inches ($18/member and $22/non-member). Each racer must purchase a temporary race license for $5. They also offer birthday party packages for children between the ages of 8 and 18 years. They offer two party packages and some customization options, plus they can customize your entire event. The Rookie Package starts at $40/person and each racer gets one standard junior race, pizza, soft drink, invitation and $5 arcade card. You will receive 1 hour of use of the private party room and a free t-shirt for the birthday racer.

Other Locations:

In door play area in Jersey CityPump It UpSecaucus

Does your family have cabin fever? Missing the park? Take them to Pump It Up in nearby Secaucus and let them jump around! Stop in for an Open Jump day (check the calendar for dates and times here. Different days have different themes like pizza and ice cream or glow jump. Prices vary, but generally an open glow jump is $12/child and gives you up to 70 minutes in the arenas with glow in the dark lighting. Each child receives a glow necklace. The pizza and ice cream jumps are $14.95/child, but come with 70 minutes in the arenas and 35 minutes in the party room for food. Each child gets a slice of pizza, unlimited drinks and ice cream. Don’t miss the Valentine’s Day open jump on Friday, February 14, 2014. For $14.95/child kids will get pizza and drinks, a small stuffed Valentine’s Day dragon, up to 70 minutes of jump time and more! You must register for Open Jumps in advance online. And yes, they do birthday parties! They offer 3 different packages and have many add on options like glow in the dark jump or superhero training camp. Plus, all parties are 100% private for both play time and in the party room! Kids must be 34 inches and up to play on the inflatables. Click here for some of the deals they are currently offering.

In door play area in Jersey CityIKEAElizabeth

And you thought it was just for buying furniture! IKEA is a great place to take the kids for an outing on a cold winter day. Kids can jump out some energy and play on the toys in the kid’s area. The Ballroom Play Area is supervised and kids of heights 37” – 48” who are potty-trained can play. Kids can stay for up to an hour (sometimes 30 minute time limit if they are busy). Plus, IKEA offers convenient parking for families and the restaurant is great for families with kids of all ages. The restaurant faces Newark Airport, so you can keep the kids busy by watching the planes as you eat. There is also a kiddie eating area complete with little chairs and tables and a TV that sometimes shows children’s movies. Plus, there are affordable kid menu options and don’t forget the frozen yogurt by the check out before you leave!

In door play area in Jersey CityJersey Gardens OutletsElizabeth

Not far from IKEA, this outlet mall has a bunch of kid’s stores, a huge food court, play areas for younger kids and an arcade with games and rides for older kids. The arcade called Jeepers has games, rides and food (mainly for older kids). Plus there is a play area with rides. A huge bonus is that 16 Handles just opened up a location here. Kids of all ages (including me) love to choose their frozen yogurt flavors and all the toppings! They also have events for kids throughout the year, so check their website for information.

In door play area in Jersey CityNewark Museum, Newark

Newark Museum is only about a 20 minute drive from downtown Jersey City and they offer events and exhibits for kids of all ages and families throughout the year. Drop-in art and science programs are offered for various age groups (some are for ages 6 and up, some are for ages 4 – 8 and more) each weekend. There are various activities in the galleries, including look/touch/learn exhibits and the Planetarium Gallery. The Planetarium offers shows like Extreme Planets (Wednesday – Friday at 2pm and Saturday and Sunday at 2pm and 4pm) for ages 10 and up and Earth, Moon and Sun (Saturday and Sunday at 1pm and 3pm) for children ages 6 – 9. Planetarium tickets are not included in general admission and will cost $5/adult and $3 for children under 12, seniors and college students. There are special workshops available for children ages 6 – 12 and even some for babies. Each month there are family festivals held for children of all ages. Check the calendar for details. The suggested museum admission is $12/adults and $7 for children seniors and students (with a valid ID) and kids younger than 2 are free.

American Museum of Natural HistoryManhattan 

We all know that NYC offers some of the best museums around. If I had to choose one museum that was fun for all ages and that I can still remember running around as a child, it has to be the American Museum of Natural History. Any kid who is into dinosaurs will revel in the numerous Fossil Halls. Experience the Butterfly Conservatory and walk through a garden surrounded by butterflies! See an IMAX or 3D movie like Mysteries of the Unseen World, which is now playing. Or check out Dark Universe, the space show currently showing at Hayden Planetarium. (You must purchase a “General Admission Plus” ticket for Butterflies, IMAX or Planetarium). You can even download the new Explorer App for your iPhone to find your way around the museum. The museum offers several on-site dining options, parking and several gift shops throughout. There is even a link on the website to tailor your visit for various age groups here.

Salons/Barbershop for kids in Jersey City, NJ


I am writing to you to inform you on different kid-friendly salons and or barbershops around the Jersey City, NJ area. I know it could be a frustrating time for a mother when telling their child it’s time for a haircut! Normally when children here those words they instantly become scared and are unsure if they want to go through with it. I have researched and spoke with salons and barbershops in order to receive insight on attractions to make it easier to bring your child too.

Salons for kids in Jersey City

kids haircut hobokenSport-A-Cut Barbershop

850 Kearny Avenue.
Kearny NJ 07032

This kid-friendly barbershop has relocated to Kearny, NJ in which their mission is to provide a “Family Oriented Barbershop.” The environment at Sport-A-Cut is very friendly due to the hired staff. They pride themselves in having great customer service and good customer loyalty. Within their mission statement it says “anyone can cut hair but not everyone can treat clients with the respect they truly deserve.”

Within the barbershop, there are available toys and activities to attract your child. Every child loves play time so why not use it as an easy out to get your child to cooperate during an appointment! The “chairs” provided for the children are small race cars giving the child even more excitement to receive a haircut. In addition to the chairs, the children can either watch a movie or play the Wii while getting their haircut.

Another plus for this place is the ability for walk-in’s. You do not have to call ahead and make an appointment in order for your child to receive an appointment.

A huge part to this barbershop is the cleanliness. As stated earlier, the play area is disinfected several times a day as well as the chairs before and after each hair cut. As for the Wii, each child’s hand is cleaned before and after the use of Wii in order to stop the spread of germs around the barbershop. This is a very important part due to the number of people coming in and out every day!

In the restroom at the barbershop there is a baby changing table for your convenience. This table is disinfected regularly throughout the day!


Salons for kids

Just 4 Kids Hair and Nail Salon

720 Monroe Street, Suite E313
Hoboken New Jersey, 07030

Hoboken’s first and only Kids salon available Tuesday-Sunday 9am – 6pm! This kid-friendly salon offers boys and girls haircuts as well as manicures and pedicures. The price of a haircut ranges from $10-$30. The environment here is very comfortable and friendly. The staff is very patient and understanding of their clients. The staff makes your little one feel like they are at home and there are toys available during the waiting time as well as baby Einstein movies! There are many positive reviews on their facebook page in which I highly recommend checking out!

The Gift of Travel – A Gift that Lasts a Lifetime

gift of travel

I remember a few years ago my husband surprised our family on Christmas with a trip to Atlantis.  Even better, he included my Mother and his Mom, as well.  He made special cards and handed them out on Christmas morning.  Needless to say there were a lot of smiles that morning. It was an amazing gift and one we were all able to share and look forward to for months.   We had a wonderful trip and I will always cherish the memories we made as a family.  

So in honor of the holidays I thought I would share with you some of my favorite family destinations for 2014 to give your family the Gift of Travel. As well, now is the time to start thinking about booking your Winter and Spring Break travel.

1. Disney Cruise
I think a cruise is a great vacation choice for a families and Disney Cruise line was just named “Best Cruise Line for Families”. If you have always wanted to take a Disney Cruise, then this is the time. Disney is offering up to 20% off rates for specific sailings in January and February. These are 3 and 4 night cruises from Port Canaveral. This is a great opportunity to get a sunny winter get away and save money too!
mickey castaway cay 2

2. Vista Verde Guest Ranch
Vista Verde Ranch is a Luxury All-Inclusive resort located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Vista Verde offers great food, diverse activities, luxurious accommodations and personal service in a spectacular setting.  This resort is beautiful.  It is a great place for the family to unplug, reconnect and get outdoors.  In the Winter you can ski, tube or in the Summer you can bike, hike and more.
vista verde ranch     Vista Verde Ranch

3. Azul and Generations
I really love these properties and all they have to offer to families. Located in Cancun, Mexico these Gourmet Inclusive resorts and are great for families with young children. They are  boutique-style resorts, located right on the beach with great family suites, as well as a partnership with Fisher Price. Kids even get their own private check-in with a yummy fruit smoothie made just for them. There are 3 Azul properties so you can find the right resort to fit your family.  Azul Fives have 3 Bedroom Sky Suites which are perfect for large families.  As well, Generations are all suites resorts  where each guests has their own personal nanny and butler.

4. Beaches 
I think the Beaches properties are a great value.  Beaches are located in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos. Since Beaches resorts are all-inclusive, you are not going to end up with a surprise bill when you check out. They offer amazing kids clubs and activities with Elmo and the Sesame Street gang.  What I also love is that Mom and Dad can get a little vacation as well.  They offer the Red Lane spa, golf and certified nannies so Mom and Dad can have a long over due date night.  As well, the new Key West Village  in Turks and Caicos offers amazing villas that are perfect for a family reunion or multi-generational trip.  Also, they will be opening Beaches in Barbados in 2015.



Where are you headed in 2014?  

Kimberly  Milnes, is a mother of 2 boys and owner of Adventures By Kim.  She is a Family Travel Expert and professional sharing family travel tips, and information as well as helping families plan amazing and hassle free family vacations.  Please feel free to contact her at [email protected] or

Holiday Fun for Jersey City Families

Holiday time is here! You’ll find plenty of wonderful events to keep your family occupied in Jersey City over the next month. From holiday markets to hands-on activities to special seasonal shows, there’s something to please everyone. Of course NYC has lots of family-friendly holiday fun too…I’ve included a few events in the city if you’re looking for a special outing. Happy Holidays!


Historic Downtown Holiday Market

November 18-December 19, Mondays & Thursdays 4-8pm, Grove Street PATH Plaza

Head to the 2nd Annual Historic Downtown Holiday Market at the Jersey City Farmers’ Market every Monday and Thursday through December 19th. Visit local artists and crafters selling unique holiday gifts including ornaments, jewelry, handmade soap and children’s items. Lots of yummy food too!

The Polar Express: An IMAX Experience

November 29-December 30, Various times, Liberty Science Center

Don’t miss this magical holiday film, screening for a limited time at Liberty Science Center’s IMAX Dome Theater. Based on the award-winning children’s classic, The Polar Express tells the tale of a young boy’s incredible excursion to the North Pole. Tickets can be purchased in advance online.

Newport Holiday Tree Lighting

December 3, 4:30-7:30pm, Newport Town Square

Newport’s holiday celebration features a light and music show, 30-foot Christmas tree and a visit from Santa and his elves. Kids can line up to meet the big guy, pose for photos and tell him their holiday wishes.

 JC Fridays

December 6, Various times and locations

JC Fridays is a city-wide celebration that promotes the arts in our community. Events take place throughout the day and evening hours at various locations throughout the city. Many events are family-friendly, including a Kids Happy Hour at Three Little Birds. This festive holiday party will feature caroling, holiday arts and crafts, and even a visit from Santa!


December 8, 10am-1pm, 14th Street Garden Center

Celebrate the holiday season with cookies, hot chocolate and photos with Santa. This event is free but donations of coats and toys will be accepted. Shop for your Christmas trees and wreaths too!

Santa’s Elf Factory & Vendor Village

December 8, 14, 15, 21 & 22, 10am-5pm, Victory Hall

Lots of fun activities for kids! Enjoy holiday crafting, cookies with Mrs. Claus and photos with Santa. Parents can visit shops in the Vendor Village. Purchase tickets online in advance.

Holiday Story Hour with Bonky the Elf

December 11, 11am, Jersey City Public Library Children’s Room

Join Bonky the Elf for a special holiday-themed story hour in the Children’s Room at the Library’s Main Branch. This will be the last story time of the season.

Live Holiday Concert & Sing-Along

December 14, 6:30pm, Loew’s Jersey Theatre

Create a new holiday tradition at the beautiful Loew’s Theatre. The live concert takes place at 6:30pm, featuring special musical performances accompanied by the pipe organ, and ending in an audience sing-along. Stay after the concert for a screening of the classic movie Miracle on 34th Street on the big screen at 8pm.

Savor the Season Holiday Feast 

December 15, 2-5pm, St. Peter’s Prep High School

Enjoy a delicious holiday meal prepared by local restaurants. This event also features music performances, wine tasting, children’s activities and a dessert bake-off. Tickets can be purchased online in advance.

Make & Take Holiday Craft

December 18, 3pm, Jersey City Public Library Children’s Room

Children of all ages can create a special holiday craft in the Children’s Room at the Library’s Main Branch. A perfect way to keep the kids occupied on a cold afternoon!

Jersey City Nutcracker

December 21 & 22, Performances at 1pm & 5pm, Frank R. Conwell Middle School #4 Auditorium

This adaptation of the classic story features dancers from Nimbus Dance Works, along with youth performers from dance studios in our community. Don’t miss this fabulous tale of a holiday adventure with a Jersey City twist!

12 Days of Science

December 21-January 1, All Day, Liberty Science Center

Looking for something fun to do with the kids over holiday break? Liberty Science Center offers 12 days of great science-themed activities, events, movies and more! Children can learn how to make snow, learn about adorable penguins and even enjoy story time. Some activities are free with admission, others cost an additional fee.


The Three Bears Holiday Bash

November 12-December 30, Times vary, Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre

This holiday variety show celebrates the season with song, dance and puppetry! The audience joins in the fun too with a Christmas sing-along during the performance.

Holiday Train Show

November 16-January 12, Hours vary, New York Botanical Garden

A New York tradition for over 20 years, the train show is not to be missed! This year has more trains than ever, plus activities, readings, food and more. Advance reservations are recommended.

Winter Garden Holiday Fest

December 3, 5:30-7pm, Brookfield Place

Kids can enjoy live performances, build their own winter sleigh ships and eat delicious holiday treats.

Annual Santa Rescue

December 8, 11:30am, New York City Fire Museum

Watch as FDNY firefighters rescue Santa from the museum’s roof. Santa will then pose for holiday photos with children. Enjoy Christmas carols and holiday treats. Tickets can be purchased in advance online.

Author Bio:

Jennifer Battista is proud to be a Jersey Girl. She lives in Berkeley Heights with her hubby, two sons and kitty.  Jennifer works as a freelance writer and editor for several websites, including Mommy Poppins. She loves to plan activities for her family and friends, and to discover new places all over the Garden State. You can follow Jennifer on Google+ or on twitter.