Winter Day Trip Ideas in New Jersey and Beyond: Indoor Winter Fun in NJ

Sunday, December 27, 2020
Winter day trip ideas are a big topic of a discussion on message boards and in Facebook groups. It's hard to figure out where to take the kids when the weather is bad. Finding fun indoor play ideas is hard enough, but entertaining kids on the weekend or during a vacation when it's too cold to do anything else, well, that ain't easy! So here's a list of over 25 fun things to do in and around The Garden State during the winter months. From play mazes to museums, I've got ya covered!

*Freshly updated for 2021! Scroll to see what's open and what is temporarily closed**

I'll update and add to this list as I find new places to visit (or if places close). Please bookmark this article or Pin it on Pinterest so you can come back to it every year!

New Jersey Winter Day Trip Ideas

**Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some of these venues may have new safety protocols or restricted hours put in place. Please call ahead and adhere to each location's safety requirements. I noted any venue listed that is temporarily closed. Always call ahead or check websites for most current information.

Here are some of our favorite places to visit during the winter months! We've visited most of them first-hand so I can attest that they're worth seeing. If I have written a post about the venue, you'll find the link leads to my review. 

*venues below are open for business unless otherwise noted!

Rizzo's Wildlife World - Flanders, NJ (currently open Sundays only, call for reservations)
American Dream - East Rutherford, NJ (Big Snow, Nickelodeon Universe, mini golf, waterpark and shopping are all open. Capacity may be limited so check site for details). 
Morris Museum - Morristown, NJ (open, advanced tickets recommended)
Jenkinson's Aquarium - Pt. Pleasant, NJ
Atlantic City Aquarium - Atlantic City, NJ (temporarily closed) 
Montclair Art Museum - Montclair, NJ (open but advanced reservations required)
Sterling Mining Museum - Ogdensburg, NJ (temporarily closed)
Insectropolis - Toms River, NJ (temporarily closed)
Northlandz Train Museum - Flemington, NJ (open, can purchase tickets online)
Liberty Science Center - Jersey City, NJ (open, purchasing tickets online in advance is strongly recommended)
Battleship NJ - Camden, NJ (only open the last weekend of December, then will close till March)
Adventure Aquarium - Camden, NJ (open, reservations required)
Whippany Railway Museum - Hanover, NJ (temporarily closed)
Imagine That! - Florham Park, NJ (open, accepted advanced ticket reservations only - check online)
Thomas Edison Center - Menlo Park, NJ (museum will reopen January 8th, tickets can be purchased online)
Newark Museum - Newark, NJ (temporarily closed)
Franklin Mineral Museum - Franklin, NJ (temporarily closed)
Garden State Discovery Museum - Cherry Hill, NJ (temporarily closed)
Old Barracks Museum - Trenton, NJ (temporarily closed)
Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum - Wildwood, NJ (open - check for hours and regulations)
Medieval Times - Lyndhurst, NJ (temporarily closed)
Branchburg Sports Complex - Branchburg, NJ (open - check website for classes and available recreation)
Nex Level Arena - Flemington, NJ (open, check website for details)
Villa Roller Rink - Broadway, NJ (open, advanced tickets required)
Frenchtown Roller Rink - Frenchtown, NJ (closed until further notice)
The Funplex - East Hanover, NJ (open, tickets can be reserved online)
Pole Position Raceway - Jersey City, NJ (open, check site for details)
Sahara Sam's Oasis - West Berlin, NJ (temporarily closed)
Speed Raceway & Axe Throwing - Cinnaminson, NJ (open call ahead)
Bridgewater Sports Arena (ice skating and more) - Bridgewater, NJ (open, call ahead)
Raritan Valley College Planetarium - Branchburg, NJ (temporarily closed)
Dreyfus Planetarium Newark, NJ (temporarily closed)
Longo Planetarium - Randolph, NJ (temporarily closed)
iPlay America - Freehold, NJ (open, call ahead or check their website)
Robert Novins Planetarium - Toms River, NJ (temporarily closed)
Museum of Early Trades and Crafts - Madison, NJ (open, check their website for hours and info)
*Lakota Wolf Preserve - Columbia, NJ (outdoors) (open, advanced reservations required)
*Turtle Back Zoo - West Orange, NJ (outdoors, with some indoor areas) open - timed tickets only
*Grounds for Sculpture - Hamilton, NJ (outdoors) (open, reserve timed tickets online)

Pennsylvania Winter Day Trip Ideas

If you're up for a road trip, these Pennsylvania locations are not far from New Jersey and can certainly keep the kids occupied on a cold winter day!

**due to Pennsylvania state mandates, all indoor museums and facilities are closed through January 4, 2021. If the venue is open or has outdoor areas, it's noted below**

America on Wheels Auto Museum - Allentown, PA (reopening January 8th)
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Philadelphia - Plymouth Meeting, PA (temporarily closed due to state mandate; store remains open)
Crayola Experience - Easton, PA (reopening January 6th) *check out Crayola Experience at Home, too!
Mercer Museum - Doylestown, PA (reopens January 4th, Fonthill Castle opens 1/9)
DaVinci Science Center - Allentown, PA (temporarily closed, reopening 1/4)
Hershey's Chocolate World - Hershey, PA (shopping open at limited capacity - indoor dining and attractions reopen 1/4)
*Hershey Gardens - Hershey, PA  (all areas currently open daily)
*ZooAmerica - Hershey, PA (open, check for hours)
The Hershey Story Museum - Hershey, PA (currently open)
Roadside America - Shartlesville, PA (permanently closed)
Crystal Cave - Kutztown, PA (reopens 3/1/21)
Lost River Caverns - Hellertown, PA (open, reservations required)
Lehigh Valley Zoo - Shnecksville, PA (open, reservations required)
Philadelphia Zoo - Philadelphia, PA (open, call ahead or check website)
Philadelphia Museum of Art - Philadelphia, PA  (closed until further notice)
The Franklin Institute - Philadelphia, PA (temporarily closed)
The Turkey Hill Ice Cream Experience - Columbia, PA (reopens January 4, 2021)
Please Touch Museum - Philadelphia, PA (temporarily closed)
Cabela's - Hamburg, PA (open)
Martin Guitar and Visitor Center - Nazareth, PA  (temporarily closed)

If you like this post, be sure to check out my other interactive day trip articles, including:

-Best New Jersey Day Trips (and PA, too!)
-10 Fun Spring Day Trips in New Jersey (Pennsylvania and New York, too!)
-The Great Big List of Fall Day Trips in New Jersey and Beyond!
-The Great Big List of Summer Day Trip Ideas in New Jersey and Beyond!

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