Whether you’re spending time outdoors picking apples or inside catching a show, we’ve found the best places in NJ to take your preschoolers this month. Of course, there’s no shortage of activity for your whole family. And if you’re looking to entertain the kids without breaking your budget, check out these free things to do in September.
SEE A SHOW
It’s showtime! Head to MPAC in Morristown on September 21 at noon or 4 pm for Peppa Pig Live! Peppa’s Big Adventure. Go camping with Peppa, George, Pedro Pony, Suzy Sheep and Gerald Giraffe. These life-size puppets will take your kids on a journey filled with singing, dancing, games and other surprises ($40-60). Later this month, come back on the 30th for Jeff Boyer’s Big Bubble Bonanza at 12:30 or 3 pm. Guinness Book world record holder Jeff Boyer will help audience members make volcano bubbles, plus create bubbles that blow their own bubbles. Performances are relaxed events ($12-15). Hit the Hopewell Theater on September 28 for Snoopy, Come Home at 2:30 pm. Charlie Brown’s infamous beagle and tiny pal Woodstock go to comfort Snoopy’s original owner, Lila. Snoopy must weigh his options and decide which owner to stay with ($6).
TAKE THE KIDS TO TOUCH A TRUCK
On September 8, visit the Whippany Railway Museum for Touch-A-Truck 2 & Train Ride, where the kids can explore working trucks and meet the people who build, protect and serve their community. From firetrucks to construction vehicles, the kids can climb inside, honk horns, flash lights and more. After, hop on the mid-1900’s excursions train for a ten-mile round trip along the Whippanong Trail. On September 15, pump the brakes at Somerset County Vo-Tech High School in Bridgewater for Bridgewater Community Day, where the kids can participate in Touch-A-Truck and Dog Day. Bring your four-legged friend or visit adoptable ones, then check out emergency vehicles, a medical rescue helicopter and construction trucks. The kids can hop on inflatables, get their faces painted or play the day away in a game truck. There’ll also be food trucks to fill their tummies.
VISIT A FESTIVAL
Whether you’re exploring your town’s own or one down the road, there’s plenty of adventure to keep your family entertained. From September 13-15, hit the Saint Anne Carnival & Food Fest in Fair Lawn for pony rides, games, live music and more. Stop by the beer garden, play the raffles and peruse fare from a variety of food trucks. On September 22, head to the lake at Verona Park for food trucks, games, prizes, crafts, magic, music and more with people of all ages and abilities at the Kessler Foundation Stroll ’N Roll 2019, which benefits people with disabilities. On September 28, check out dance and theater performances, live street art, a juried Art Walk and the Montclair Art Museum Truck at the Roselle Park Arts Festival. Stick around for musical performances, crafts, chalk drawing, graffiti spray painting, string art and food trucks.
GO APPLE PICKING
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree at these NJ farms, which means plenty of PYO opportunities for you and the kids. This month, Demarest Farms, Bergen County’s only PYO apple and peach orchard and pumpkin patch, is hosting a petting zoo, adventure playground, hay wagon rides and more (Mon.-Fri. 9 am-3 pm, $12). It’s all about South Jersey Apple Fest in Millville from September 7-8. Kick off apple harvest season by digging into treats like candy apples and apple doughnuts, then check out the apple dessert contest while the kids take pics with the apple mascot. There’ll also be an apple toss for adults, plus hayrides, crafts, face painting, pony rides and more for the kids (10 am-5 pm, $2-3/adults, free/ages 6 and under). From early September through late November, hit Donaldson Farms in Hackettstown for farm-fresh apple varieties like Gala, Fuji, Pink Lady, Granny Smith and Empire (Mon.-Sat. 8 am-5 pm, Sun. 8 am-4 pm, free admission, apples priced by the pound). From mid-September through the second week of November, hit Melick’s Town Farm’s Califon Orchards or its Oldwick cider mill (aka New Jersey’s largest apple orchard) to pick the freshest apples, hop on a hayride or check out the working cider press (9 am-6 pm, prices vary).
STOP BY A MUSEUM
It’s back to school season, which means it’s prime time for mixing education and entertainment. On September 1, ages 2-5 can spend half an hour at Storytime listening to stories and singing songs about city life read by librarians from the Hoboken Public Library at the Fire Department Museum in Hoboken. September 6-8 will be the last weekend for your lil’ lions ages 2-8 to explore and play in Liberty Science Center’s Lion Guard exhibit. At this exhibit, they’ll learn about problem solving, creative thinking and animals living in the Pride Lands through hands-on activities and special missions. Be sure to hit the NJ State Museum in Trenton on September 21 for Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live!, where David Fry will perform folk music like “Yankee Doodle” and “This Land is Your Land,” plus old rock ‘n’ roll, jump rope games and dances. After, visit the STEAM Center to learn how music influences artists today and throughout history. The kids can even try creating art based on their favorite songs and their own instruments out of recycled materials. Even better? All planetarium shows will be free. And if you visit before September 8, take a peek at the Jersey Crocs Rule! Exhibit, where visitors can see a 65 million-year-old crocodylian skeleton found in Gloucester County. Check other other fossils and rocks, plus learn about the five types of crocs that once lived in NJ. If you’ve got free time at the end of your weekend, there’s the Sunday Children’s Programs at Monmouth Museum, where kids can work on crafts with recyclable materials, visit the StarLab planetarium show and learn about constellations and more.
Do you know any other places in NJ to take preschoolers in September? Let us know in the comments!