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Best NJ Places to Take Preschoolers in August

The top things to do with your 5-and-under cutie pies this month.


Courtesy of Passaic County Fair Facebook page


Whether you love the great outdoors or beat the heat indoors, we’ve got the deets on events perfect for you and your preschooler. Hit the New Jersey State Fair in Augusta, a free summer movie in Morristown or park it at a drive-in movie in Mendham.

Don’t forget to check out local fairs and festivals going on this month, either.

Wednesday, August 1

Alice in Wonderland

Where: Wilkins Theatre, Union
Price: $15
Deets: Travel through the looking glass and into the world of Wonderland. The kids can marvel  at Alice, the Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit and Mad Hatter in person.

Mendham Drive-In Movie in the Park

Where: Carriage House, Mendham
Price: Free
Deets: There are a few things that scream summer—and drive-in movies are one of them. Pile into the car and settle back in your seats for a showing of Coco. Before the movie, you can join a color war, too. Other summertime staples like ice cream will be available.

Wednesday-Saturday, August 1-4

Warren County Farmers’ Fair and Hot Air Balloon Festival

Where: Warren County Farmers’ Fairgrounds, Phillipsburg
Price: $4-7
Deets: Picture mouth-watering sugary foods like cotton candy and strawberry shortcake, plus mud bog competitions, tractor pull contests, pony rides, a kids’ rodeo, crafts, contests and more.

Manasquan Annual Fireman’s Fair

Where: Mallard Park, Manasquan
Price: $25/unlimited rides
Deets: Jump on classic carnival rides like the carousel or Ferris wheel, then step up to thrill rides like the Gravitron and Super Sizzler. Take the kiddos on the super-sized slide, or try your hand at skee-ball and whack-a-mole. Indulge in funnel cake and cotton candy before teaching the kiddos a thing or two at the ring toss.

Annual Keyport Fireman’s Fair

Where: West Front St., Keyport
Price: Free admission
Deets: Explore games, rides, face painting, live music and more. Don’t forget to bring an empty stomach so you can double down at the food vendors.

Thursday, July 2

Beauty and the Beast

Where: Bickford Theatre, Morristown
Price: $12/non-members, $10/members
Deets: Based on the original story, you and the fam will find a few surprises in this classic retelling, including a few new characters.

Friday-Saturday, July 3-11

New Jersey State Fair

Where: Sussex County Fairgrounds, Augusta
Price: $5-11, free/children 5 and under
Deets: The Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta will be hosting a 10-day event with a petting zoo, crafts, shows, exhibits, chainsaw artist, carnival and more.

Saturday, August 4

Butterfly Festival

Where: The Watershed Reserve, Pennington
Price: $10/person, $25/carload
Deets: This fest combines the best and brightest for an educational fest that’ll teach your kids about the human impact on butterflies and their habitats, and how to protect Mother Earth. There’ll be hay rides, nature walks, an insect zoo, beer garden and plenty of cuddly critters like alpacas and kittens.

Sunday, August 5

The 4th Annual Princess Ball

Where: The Wayne Pal, Wayne
Price: $10/ages 12 and up, free/ages 11 and under
Deets: Stop by the princess makeover salon before heading to the free toy hunt or sand art table. Play games, dance along to a DJ or try your luck at the raffle. There’ll be four princesses and plenty of Star Wars characters for your lil’ royals to meet, too.

Garfield Street Fair

Where: 500 Midland Ave., Garfield
Price: Free admission
Deets: Hit the streets in Garfield for kiddie rides, a climbing wall, pony rides, face painting, sand arts and more entertainment, plus food like cheesesteak, empanadas and zeppoles.

Monday-Sunday, August 6-12

Middlesex County Fair

Where: Middlesex County Fairgrounds, East Brunswick
Price: Free admission
Deets: Nosh on traditional carnival foods, jump on amusement rides, make crafts and marvel at a nighttime fireworks display.

Tuesday, August 7

Free Summer Movies: Wonder

Where: State Theatre, New Brunswick
Price: Free
Deets: You’ve read the book, but have you seen the movie? This free flick features 10-year-old Auggie, who doesn’t look like his classmates thanks to a facial deformity, and he struggles as he starts public school for the first time.

Thursday, August 9

109th Annual Baby Parade

Where: Ocean City Boardwalk, Ocean City
Price: Free
Deets: Whether you join or observe, this annual parade is made up of babies dressed to impress in decorated strollers, wagons, go karts and more.

Monday, August 13

Free Summer Movie

Where: MPAC, Morristown
Price: Free
Deets: Take the kids to a sensory-friendly showing of Sing, their favorite flick about musically-inclined animals.

Thursday-Sunday, August 16-19

Passaic County Fair

Where: Garret Mountain Reservation, Woodland Park
Price: $5/car
Deets: Step right up for carnival and pony rides, a petting zoo, chess tourney and a beer garden for parents. End the night on Friday and Saturday with fireworks.

Sunday, August 19

North Bergen Summer Blast Street Fair

Where: Broadway Ave., North Bergen
Price: Free admission
Deets: The kids can hop on kiddie and train rides, craft vendors and fill up on fair foods like shish kabobs, toasted corn, cheesesteaks, kettle corn and more.

38th Annual Glasstown Antique Fire Brigade Muster and Firefighters Family Day

Where: Wheaton Arts And Cultural Center, Millville
Price: Free admission
Deets: Get up close and personal with more than 80 antique fire trucks, plus test your firefighting skills in competitions like a water barrel fight, bucket brigade and other demos. Peruse the antique flea market and food vendors, too.

Summer Street Fair

Where: Downtown Summit, Summit
Price: Free admission
Deets: Head downtown with your crew for amusement rides, family-friendly games, music and plenty of food choices to satisfy your summertime cravings.

Wednesday-Sunday, August 22-26

Hunterdon County 4-H and Agricultural Fair

Where: Hunterdon County 4-H and Agricultural Fairgrounds, South County Park
Price: Free admission
Deets: There’s plenty to capture the kids’ attention: animals like horses, alpacas and cows, circus acts, magic shows, a robot tourney and plenty of rides.

Thursday, August 23

Maplewood Movies in the Park

Where: Maplewood Memorial Park Amphitheater, Maplewood
Price: Free
Deets: Bring your blankets and chairs for a showing of Minions, plus let the kids go wild at the bouncy house, magic show, face painting and other games.

Friday-Sunday, August 31-September 2

Annual Mendham Borough Labor Day Parade and Carnival

Where: East Main St. and Mountain Ave., Mendham
Price: Free
Deets: Follow the parade from Main Street to Borough Field, then watch a showdown between fire departments at the Hose Competition. Bring the kiddos to the carnival for traditional rides, participate in the 50/50 raffle and make sure you’ve picked the perfect spot for fireworks on Labor Day.


A Child's View of History

Where: Liberty Hall Museum, Union
Price: $8/adults, $10/kids
Deets: Want to take your kids to a museum but afraid they’ll be bored? Liberty Hall’s 240 years of history is hands-on, which means kids (ages 5-12) can touch the artifacts. Take a tour through the perspective of the Hall’s previous kid residents, plus kids can try farm chores and colonial games. Ends August 28.

Discovery Saturdays

Where: Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit
Price: Free/members, $5/non-member kids
Deets: Explore something new each Saturday, ranging from topics like herbs, carrots, tomatoes and corn. Using binoculars, field guides, magnifying glasses and more, each week kids will have the opportunity to learn something new in the garden. Ends August 25.

Grossology Exhibit

Where: Liberty Science Center, Jersey City
Price: $5
Deets: Parents, have no fear, your kids can be gross here. Kids love the ooey and icky, and this comedic exhibition will answer all their questions. From what’s up the bat cave to what happens in the bathroom, they’ll learn about their bodies in an approachable manner. They’ll even get to play a supersized version of Operation. Ends September 23.

Pier Village Family Fun Night

Where: Pier Village, Long Branch
Price: $3/ticket
Deets: Lil’ ones can go wild on inflatable rides, slides, obstacle courses and other activities on Sundays throughout Labor Day. The whole fam can play skee-ball, pinball, air hockey and more.

Strolling Children's Entertainment

Where: Casino Pier, Seaside Heights
Price: Free
Deets: Every Tuesday and Thursday through August 30, you and the fam can hit the pier for entertaining acts and events, face painting and balloonists. Who doesn’t want a balloon giraffe?

Written in the Rocks: Fossil Tales of New Jersey

Where: New Jersey State Museum, Trenton
Price: Free
Deets: Check out New Jersey’s state dinosaur, the Hadrosaurus foulkii, and the Mosasaurus maximus, a 50-foot marine reptile discovered in Southern Jersey, will be on display along with other dinos. Ends December 30

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