Family-Friendly Activities for Every Season
No matter the season, there’s plenty of fun to be had for all ages in Jersey City! With more young families moving across the river and calling JC home, there’s more opportunities than ever for fun, imaginative, and unique experiences to entertain parents and kids alike. Next time the weather starts to change, check out these tips on seasonally appropriate fun for the family. Also check out our newest daytrip lists for Summer & Fall 2020.
Newport Skates — 95 River Drive South (Temporarily closed through 2020)
Nothing says winter like a family trip to the local skating rink! Open November to March, with exact dates weather permitting, Jersey City families can head to the picturesque waterfront and lace up their skates together no matter what skill level or age they are – just try to keep up with the little ones as they inevitably skate rings around everyone else. Admission to the rink costs $8 each, plus a $7 skate rental (groups of 10+ save a dollar on admission, so the more skaters, the merrier), with lessons and reservations for private events available.
HudsonPLAY — 189 Brunswick St.
When it’s too cold to let the kids outside to shake off the winter doldrums, head instead to HudsonPLAY, an indoor play center with something to entertain kids of all ages. Keep infants to 2-year-olds giggling in the soft playroom as they learn and develop socialization skills, while 2-4-year-olds can jump into a world of imagination in the Pretend Playspace with the aid of large blocks and toys. For ages 5-12, watch them take on the Ninja Warrior obstacle course complete with slack rope, climbing wall and more. Take lots of notes, though, because every Thursday at 6:30, adults get to have their turn at the obstacle course for their own Ninja Warrior-style workout!
Pershing Field Park — 201 Central Ave.
This one is a two-fer: if you’re looking for the perfect place to take the kids during the spring and summer to expend some energy, Pershing Field Park is a no-brainer with its 13.5 acres of recreational outdoor space for basketball, tennis, frisbee, track, and more. For the rest of the year when it’s too cold for outside play, the indoor 6-lane, 25-meter pool is open year-round for lessons and laps with daily fees depending on the day and resident memberships available. There is also a year-round combination ice and roller rink with skate rentals and weekly lessons for children on Saturdays for the budding pro-skater in the family.
Tiny Greenhouse — 498a Jersey Ave
When the flowers start to bloom in spring, help get the kids bloom, too, in a safe, controlled, and fun environment at Tiny Greenhouse, a nature-friendly art studio focused on developing children’s creativity through healthy play. Kids ages 15 months to 7 years old will develop their skills, let their imaginations soar, and find new ways to express themselves while encouraging creative and imaginative thinking and promoting self-discovery through sensory play with Legos, block, clay, sand, puzzles, books, and more. Parents have the option of staying or joining the drop-off program for day care and afterschool art classes, depending on age and schedule. Find out more at https://www.tinygreenhousejc.com/schedule.html.
Jersey City Night Market — 1 PATH Plaza
Although “Night” is in the name, this free, family-friendly summer festival begins during the day and features dozens of vendors showing off the best of Jersey City food, music, and craft goods. Between June and October, take the kids and pets over to PATH Plaza in Journal Square to take in the open air market with crafts for the little ones, artisan vendors for the adults to enjoy, and plenty of fun, handheld dining options to snack on while enjoying the view on the waterfront.
Free “Waterparks” at JC Parks — Multiple locations
Jersey City parks are transformed into the FREE waterparks of kids’ dreams during the summer! During the daily heat waves from Memorial Day to Labor Day, most parks will feature a sprinkler for quick cooldowns, but the main “spraygrounds” can be found at Berry Lane, Newport Green, and Hamilton Park where multiple water features will keep kids cool and entertained for as long as the sunscreen lasts. So, slip on a bathing suit and let the kids get wet and wild while you try your best to avoid the spray (or channel your inner child and join them!)
Movies in the Park — Multiple locations
It’s a fact: movies are better watched outside surrounded by friends and family. Gather the kids, some popcorn, and, most importantly, bug spray, and head to the park for an old-fashioned movie under the stars with the Movies in the Park series hosted the Jersey City Municipal Council and the Office of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the Jersey City Parks Coalition. Between June and August, all-ages-appropriate movies are shown in different parks around Jersey City at times dependent on the sunset; keep an eye on jerseycityculture.org for a list of movies and locations closer to the start of summer. The movie series is free and open to the public – just remember to BYOLC (bring your own lawn chair).
Liberty Science Center — 222 Jersey City Boulevard
The Liberty Science Center is a one-stop-play-spot to make science fun and to stimulate kids going back to school or when the weather gets a little too nippy for outside play. There are endless things to do from all ages, from observing live animals and bugs, to playing in sand, to just taking in the NYC views from the observation deck. The exhibits are unique and interactive, from the major attractions – the popular pitch-black touch tunnel, magically musical Dream Machine, and suspended Infinity Climber – to the smaller but no less wonder-inspiring stations that make everything accessible and special to developing minds. And it’s special for another reason; having opened in 1993, some parents may remember going to LSC themselves as part of the best school field trip of the year, and now finally get to share that same experience with their child. Don’t miss the featured IMAX exhibit and light show in the attached Planetarium after a full day of exploration, either. Admission: Adult – $25, Children ages 2-12 – $19.99.
Jersey City Public Libraries — 472 Jersey Ave. (Main Branch)
There’s more to the library than meets the eye! In the age of kids growing up with screens, tablets, and the internet for entertainment, books may be going by the wayside, but our Jersey City public libraries are still the best places that help stimulate and keep kids active for free. Events are hosted daily during all hours of the day, including Children’s Play Hour every Thursday, Kid’s Yoga every Monday, and Teen Time for older kids every Wednesday to socialize and do their homework after school together in a safe, controlled environment. Visit http://www.jclibrary.org/programs for a full calendar of events.