1.Turtle Back Zoo - West Orange, NJ
Turtle Back Zoo is open year round, but it's nice to visit them in the Spring, before the weather gets too warm. Just be aware if the snow has recently melted, because a few of the area paths might be muddy. Check out my post about the Turtle Back Zoo for all of the latest details! It's one of our favorite places to visit in all of New Jersey and we hear they are soon getting some giraffes on premises!
2. Brookhollow's Barnyard -Boonton Township
Brookhollow's Barnyard is such a classic place. It's one of the few areas in New Jersey where you can enjoy casually feeding farm animals and playing with their little ride-on tractors and corn bins. Alstede Farm in Chester also features farm animals that kids can touch, feed or look at, but I've always loved Brookhollow's because it specifically caters to the little ones! Check out my detailed description of Brookhollow's Barnyard here. Note that their season begins in early April.
3. The Raptor Trust - Millington, NJ
The Raptor Trust is tucked away in its own little neck of the woods, not far from The Great Swamp. It's free to visit but they ask for a suggested donation. At The Raptor Trust, you can walk through and view a variety of raptors and birds, most of them rescued or rehabilitated at the center. You can read all about The Raptor Trust on my blog post. And hey, please remember it's not a zoo. It's a great place to educate your child about these beautiful creatures, and to teach them how to respect nature and wildlife.
4. Grounds for Sculpture - Hamilton, NJ
Grounds for Sculpture is a 42 acre sculpture park. Guests can walk through and view amazing art sculptures, as well as spot beautiful roaming peacocks. Most of the sculptures are interactive- meaning, guests can lean on them, take pictures next to them, stand under them or walk through them. It's truly an amazing place with so much to see! Check out their website for visiting hours, admission prices and more.
|photo cred: B. Fletcher|
5. Jenkinson's Boardwalk - Point Pleasant, NJ
The height of the boardwalk season here in New Jersey is really the summer, but visiting the shore in the Spring is also a fun adventure. Jenkinson's Aquarium, arcades and sweet shops are actually open year round. You can still walk the boardwalk in the springtime, and if it's a particularly nice day, some merchants might decide to open their doors. Check out Jenkinson's website for more information or details about their operating schedule. Jenkinson's also holds wonderful spring events, such as their annual Easter egg hunt for kids. You can visit their Facebook page for more information, too.
|photo cred: L. Schwartz|
6. Space Farms Zoo & Museum - Wantage, NJ
Space Farms Zoo and Museum actually originated in 1927. There are acres of land to explore here, with a variety of animals and museum artifacts to see. Their zoo is not open year round, but their spring season begins in late March. Check out my detailed blog post all about our visits to Space Farms and what you can expect to see there.
7. Duke Farms - Hillsborough, NJ
Duke Farms is a lovely place to take a nature walk, ride a bike, or view some gorgeous orchids in their Orchid Range. They also offer geocaching for kids, which is kind of like a GPS treasure hunt! There's even a cafe in their visitor center. If you'd like to visit Duke Farms, be sure to read their visitor policy and peruse their website before planning your trip. I also recommend bug spray for ticks! There are paved paths to walk on but we found ticks on us after our visit, and we had only walked the paved paths.
8. Hershey Gardens - Hershey, PA
Ah, you know I'm a Jersey girl but my heart has a fondness for Hershey! Hershey Gardens sits at the base of the gorgeous Hotel Hershey, and offers some beautiful sights when Spring begins. They also have an amazing butterfly atrium that is now open year round! Check out my detailed post about what you'll find at Hershey Gardens. And hey, you can even visit Chocolate World after walking through all of those beautiful garden grounds!
9. Lehigh Valley Zoo - Schnecksville, PA
Lehigh Valley Zoo in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania is a beautiful, well-kept zoo with plenty of paved walking paths and adorable animals to see. Just like the Turtle Back Zoo, they are open year round, and it's a great little family road trip to take outside of New Jersey. The Lehigh Valley Zoo is currently working on a campaign to bring giraffes to their location, so check out their campaign page and see how you can help! Then read all about our many trips to Lehigh Valley Zoo in my blog post.
10. Van Saun County Park- Bergen County, NJ
Van Saun County Park in Bergen County offers a little of everything for everyone! Ball fields, multiple playgrounds, a carousel and the Bergen County Zoo all in one location! There is even a little train ride outside the zoo that you can take with your little ones. Pony rides and fishing are available seasonally. Check their website for more details. But it's definitely a place to spend the day and bring a picnic lunch. Plenty of shaded areas with picnic tables as well.
|The carousel at Van Saun County Park|
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum-NY
Here's your 11th idea for a spring day trip! You might not associate The Intrepid with a fun Spring trip, but I assure you, it can be! Take the ferry from Weehawken for a nice little boat ride, then walk over to the amazing Intrepid and work your way through it. There are outdoor areas on the ship and at its base, so you're not inside for your entire trip. It's wonderful to visit the Intrepid on a sunny Spring day! Some local libraries also offer free passes to the Intrepid, so be sure to check out my blog post and see how we visited free of charge.
Other Spring Day Trip Ideas
And here are some more ideas about places to visit when the weather turns sunny and beautiful again!
-state parks (try Merrill Creek Reservoir, Round Valley Reservoir, Spruce Run, Silas Condit State Park or Hacklebarney Park just to name a few!)
-Diggerland Construction Theme Park (opens mid-March)
- Alstede Farm in Chester
-Cape May and Cape May County Zoo
-visit the town of Clinton or the town of Flemington for shopping and to see the sites!
-The Great Swamp in Millington
-Kid Castle playground in Doylestown, PA
-Planet Snoopy at Dorney Park (opens for the season at the end of April)
For other ideas on fun Day Trips in our state and beyond, check out my post on the Best New Jersey Day Trips!
Our state and the surrounding areas have so many options for wonderful Spring trips and outdoor exploration. What are some of your favorite Spring trips in the Garden State and beyond? Feel free to share them in the comments below!