Are you looking for something fun and exciting to do this summer that will also boost your child’s academic and cognitive development?
Well, of course your answer is YES!
There are so many wonderful activities, events and places to see over the summer in New Jersey that it is hard to narrow down the choices. As you know by now, I am always looking for a learning experience for my children. I want them to have fun, but I also want them to grow and develop into well-rounded individuals. The best way to do that is to expose them to as many educational experiences as possible.
After reviewing what NJ has to offer families, along with what I have experienced myself, I created a list of 10 places to visit that can boost cognitive and academic development over the summer. Enjoy!
10 Brain Boosting Summer Experiences in NJ
Liberty Science Center
The Liberty Science Center, located in Jersey City, is one of my favorite places to visit during any season! There are so many amazing brain boosting exhibits, interactive activities and programs for kids and adults of all ages. Children in grades 4 through 7 can also participate in one of the best science camps around! Admission tickets cost $19.75/adult and $14.75/children ages 2-12; however, you can go for FREE during Bank of America Museums on Us weekends (when you show your Bank of America card)!
Field Station: Dinosaurs
Field Station: Dinosaurs takes guests back millions of years ago when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Guests will walk amongst over 30 life-sized dinosaurs that are brought to life by incredible engineering and amazing artists. Workshops, games and activities also add to your adventure. Admission is $20/child ages 3-11 and $25/adult. Discounts are available online.
Located in Stanhope, Waterloo Village is an amazing 19th century village that brings families back in time when the Morris Canal was thriving! The park is open year round, and admission is FREE. The best time to visit, however, is during events such as Canal Heritage Days. During these days, families can tour the gristmill, seamstress shop, canal museum, carpentry shop and much more! Looking for a really good time? Check out the Highlands Festival on September 20-21, 2014.
Diggerland, located in West Berlin, is an amusement park like no other! While experiencing thrilling rides and attractions, kids will also be learning all about various construction machinery. Kids also get to ride and operate the large machinery including diggers, dump trucks, back-hoes and more! Admission is $34.95/person, and children under 36″ are FREE. Discounted tickets can be found online.
Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen’s Museum is located in beautiful Tuckerton, NJ. There is a wide variety of exhibits, educational programs and events families can enjoy all summer long. The Tuckerton Seaport is 40 acres of interactive fun for kids of all ages. Families can enjoy dioramas of local wildlife, a sawmill, 1880s boat house, replica of the original clam and oyster house, carving shop, fishery, lighthouse and much more! Admission fees are $8/adults and $5/children.
Howell Living History Farm
Howell Living History Farm, located in Mercer County, takes guests back to the year 1900. It offers a variety of educational programs and fun family events for everyone to enjoy. The Farmhands program for ages 6-12 years old introduces children to farm chores and seasonal work while also offering a craft and special activity such as games, wagon rides and nature walks. The Hatchery program for children ages 3-5 years old provides a variety of farm experiences such as farm chores, visiting baby animals, gardening and collecting eggs. Kids will also make a craft, enjoy storytelling and have a chance to ride a horse or pony. Admission into the farm is free but there is a fee for program participation.
It is hard to choose just one beach as there are so many amazing ones in New Jersey. Spending the day at the beach provides a wide variety of educational experiences for children. For ideas, check out my article entitled 10 Ways to Boost Child Development at the Beach.
Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center
Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center allows families to explore and enjoy the wonder of the Atlantic Ocean. Participants will be captivated and awed by the breathtaking views as dolphins and whales swim alongside the boat. There is a variety of excursions available for families with kids 6 and under always being FREE (with one paying adult)! Prices for adults and older children vary based on your choice of adventure.
Turtle Back Zoo
I absolutely LOVE this zoo! There have been so many incredible additions and renovations over the past few years making it a MUST SEE this summer. At the Turtle Back Zoo families can visit with an extensive list of animals and reptiles including snakes, cougars, bald eagles, bison, penguins, red pandas, sea lions, bears and much more. Children can also pet sting rays and ride a train (included with admission). Turtle Back Zoo is located in West Orange, and ticket prices are as follows: $11/adult, $8/children and kids under 2 are FREE. In addition, this summer, Family Fun Nights take place every Wednesday from 5pm – 8pm with admission being only $6/person.
Jersey Shore Pirates
Jersey Shore Pirates, located in Brick, is a swashbuckling adventure where kids of all ages get to be pirates for the day. The kids will dress up as pirates, get their faces painted, learn pirate lingo, read a treasure map, discover a secret message in a bottle and use teamwork to defeat the enemy pirate. Each participant will go home with loot and memories to last a lifetime! Jersey Shore Pirates is the perfect adventure to boost your chid’s imagination! Tickets are $19/person (ages 3 and up) while kids 2 and under are $12. Better yet, every Monday in July and August tickets are only $15 for the 9:30am sailing!
Bonus: Summertime is the perfect time to check out your local environmental/educational center. They offer great programs for kids and families that can boost all levels of development!