AMERICAN DREAM

Here are 50 things to do indoors around the state to keep the brood busy when the weather keeps you inside. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many of these indoor spots are either currently closed or require advanced online reservations due to space restrictions. Most require masks during your visit, and others have social distancing protocols in place as well. Please make sure to call before heading out on your next family adventure.

  1. Instead of climbing the walls at home, get them in a harness and have them do some rock climbing. Many are currently operating but advanced registration and COVID safety protocols are in place.

  2. Enjoy the comforts of a heated pool at an indoor water park. Many are currently open with cleaning protocols and safety restrictions in place.

  3. Learn to skate or show off your triple lutz at an ice skating rink. Some are still closed, but many are open but require advanced tickets.

  4. Don’t like the cold? Get your skate on at one of these great roller rinks. Most will let you choose between in-line or four-wheel skates.

  5. Even in the cold months, you can go stargazing at one of NJ’s many planetariums and observatories (the biggest in the country is in Jersey City!) Some, like the one at Liberty Science Center, are currently offering shows, but with small audiences and mask requirements.

  6. Don’t let the weather strike you out: go bowling! Many spots are open but require masks and for you to book your lanes in advance.

  7. Let the kids try for a hole in one at glow-in-the-dark mini golf. Don’t forget to dress them in whites or neons so they can get the full effect. Monster Golf locations are open, but you’ll need to book your tee-time in advance.

  8. Paintball isn’t an option for really little kids, but they can get some target practice by playing laser tag. Book your tickets in advance for most spots.

  9. Climb, jump, run and have a blast at any of these indoor play places. Many have limited space for playing, please book your reservations in advance.

  10. Spend a day “underwater” at Adventure Aquarium. Advanced tickets are required.

    Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2020
    Nickelodeon Universe at American Dream

     

  11. Spend the day at the American Dream, where you and the kids can go indoor snowboarding at Big Snow, play minigolf, ride rollercoasters at Nickelodeon Universe, ice skate on their rink or enjoy some water fun at the Dream Works Water Park. All attractions have restrictions, please make your reservations in advance to best enjoy the day.
  12. Combine learning and fun at a Jersey museum (find out how to get into some for free!). Looking for something new? Visit these off-the-beaten-path museums. Many of these are currently closed due to COVID restrictions, but most have some interesting virtual activities or tours available for you to enjoy.

  13. Spice up your culinary skills at a cooking class. Some are open for small classes, while others are offering virtual classes where you can pick up ingredients and cook via zoom.

  14. Yoga and meditation are super beneficial for kids, so look into taking a mommy and me yoga class at your local YMCA. Some are currently only offering virtual classes.

  15. Catch a flick at an indoor movie theater (some you can rent out an entire theater), or go more upscale at a dine-in, like the luxury AMC in Hackensack or iPic Hudson Lights in Fort Lee. Buy your tickets in advance, some have restrictions about food and spacing in place. Call ahead if you have questions,

  16. Inspire your reluctant reader with help from your local library for weekly activities, or check out a bunch of books to read together. While many libraries are closed to visitors, events are still being offered virtually and  you can still select books online for pickup.

  17. Get their hands dirty with some super fun DIY projects (even if it means making slime!)

  18. Get some exercise along with the kids at a mommy and me gymnastics class at a Little Gym near you. Register in advance for classes.

  19. Enjoy a few blissfully quiet minutes of pampering (along with a nice foot massage) by taking your kid with you for a mani-pedi, or even host your own spa party right at home.

  20. Show off your artistic side at Color Me Mine Pottery Studio. While locations are closed for in-person painting, they are offering to-go kits so you can still make your pottery masterpieces.

  21. Escape Earth (and the weather) at Liberty Science Center, and don’t miss the awesome suspended-in-midair infinity climber. The museum is operating at 25% capacity, so get your tickets in advance.

    Staff Photo
  22. Don’t let swimming skills wane in the winter; get lessons (or do some laps) at a local YMCA or gym.

  23. Play some pinball at an awesome NJ arcade, like the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park.

  24. Create your own bracelets, anklets or necklaces at Just Bead Yourself in Westfield. Their physical location is closed but they are operation JBY-on-the-go.

  25. If your kid loves boats, don’t miss the Intrepid Museum in NYC. While the museum is currently closed to visitors they are offering virtual programming.

  26. See some impressive horse stunts, a full-on joust and falconry at Medieval Times. Currently closed, but sign up for updates to be the first to know when they reopen. 

  27. Hit an indoor amusement park. Head to iPlay America, which is complete with an indoor boardwalk inspired by the Jersey Shore.

  28. Learn some self-defense and be on your way to becoming a black belt at a karate class. Studios are open, but call to find out what classes they are offering for drop-ins.

  29. Practice your swing at Topgolf in Edison or Mount Laurel.

  30. Do some glassblowing down the shore to Hot Sand Asbury Park or make glass crafts in Morristown by appointment only at Glassworks Studio.

  31. Got antsy kids? Take them to Insectropolis! NJ’s Only Bugseum is currently closed to visitors, but the creepy crawly place will be open again soon.

  32. Teach the kids the importance of giving by volunteering at a local shelter together. While a lot of in-person volunteering isn’t an option for families, most shelters will be grateful for donations or have other at-home activities you can do to support them.

  33. Got a kid who wants to be a fireman? Head to the New York City Fire Museum.

  34. She’ll feel like a secret agent when she tries cracking codes and solving puzzles in a NJ escape room. Locations are starting to reopen for small groups. Call ahead for info.

  35. Head to NYC for tons of kid-friendly fun. Keep in mind New York has different restrictions about indoor dining than NJ.

  36. Let them bang on some real drums instead of pots and pans at a music class close to home. Some are offering remote options.

  37. After an hour-long bouncing session at a trampoline park full of flips and dodgeball, they’ll be pooped in the best way. Open but with advanced ticketing required.

  38. Snag tix to an awesome show at an NJ theater, like NJPAC, SOPAC, MPAC or bergenPAC.  While most in-person shows are cancelled, or have extremely limited tickets for social distancing, there are also virtual show options.

  39. Rent a movie, pop some corn and snuggle up.

  40. See an underground rainbow and watch rocks light up under UV lights at the Sterling Hill Mine Museum or go underground at the Franklin Mine Museum. Both mines are currently closed due to COVID restrictions.

  41. Grab some Betty Crocker mixes, a bunch of decorations (think sprinkles or M&Ms) and invite their friends over for a baking party. Want to avoid the mess? Get one of these over-the-top sweet treats.

  42. Are your kids pros at being dramatic? Sign ’em up for a performing arts program. While performances are challenging, many are offering virtual lessons.

    Staff Photo
  43. Little builders will go wild for these LEGO-filled attractions. Make the trip to a LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Philadelphia, PA their Westchester, NY location is currently closed.

  44. Take to the skies (or rather, wind-filled tunnels) at iFly in Paramus. You and the kiddos (ages 3 and up) can suit up and try your hand at indoor skydiving. Closed Monday and Tuesdays, with limited hours other days. Advanced registration is required.

  45. Celebrate a local sports legends at the Yogi Berra Museum. The museum is currently closed for in-person visits, but you can visit virtually.

  46. Head to Zimmerli Art Museum for family activities on the first Sunday of every month. The museum is currently closed to the public, but has virtual events you can attend.

  47. Brighten your day with some animals at a local zoo, like Van Saun Park or Turtle Back Zoo. Most zoos are open, but some of the indoor exhibits may have restrictions.

  48. Let the kids channel their inner Jeff Gordon driving go-karts at or Funplex (operating at reduced capacity, book ahead), or make the trip to the country’s biggest go-kart spot in Connecticut (their trampoline park and cafe are currently closed).

  49. Take a trip to the new and improved Crayola Experience in Easton, PA, where kids can color, learn history and even create their own crayon. Better yet, make a day out of it and explore Lehigh Valley. They are operating at reduced hours and have other COVID protocols in place. Please call or visit their website before visiting.

  50. Everyone loves a good old-fashioned bounce house. Bounce U, Pump It Up (both open but with restrictions) and Jump On In (currently closed) offer inflatables galore for your kids to hop and slide on all afternoon.