Winter Day Trips and Activities in New Jersey and Beyond: Indoor/Outdoor Winter Fun in NJ

Wednesday, December 27, 2023
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 45 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 2024!*

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

Always call ahead to check operational hours and ticket costs (if any) for each venue. 

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!

American Dream (mall and many attractions) - East Rutherford, NJ 
Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park (American Dream) - East Rutherford, NJ
Dreamworks Water Park (American Dream) - East Rutherford, NJ
Morris Museum - Morristown, NJ 
Jenkinson's Aquarium - Pt. Pleasant, NJ
Montclair Art Museum - Montclair, NJ 
Sterling Mining Museum - Ogdensburg, NJ 
Northlandz Train Museum - Flemington, NJ
Liberty Science Center - Jersey City, NJ 
Battleship NJ - Camden, NJ 
Adventure Aquarium - Camden, NJ 
Whippany Railway Museum - Hanover, NJ 
Imagine That! - Florham Park, NJ 
Thomas Edison Center - Menlo Park, NJ 
Newark Museum - Newark, NJ 
Old Barracks Museum - Trenton, NJ 
Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum - Wildwood, NJ (temporarily closed for renovations through 1/2024)
Medieval Times - Lyndhurst, NJ 
Branchburg Sports Complex - Branchburg, NJ 
Nex Level Arena - Flemington, NJ
Villa Roller Rink - Broadway, NJ 
Frenchtown Roller Rink - Frenchtown, NJ 
The Funplex - East Hanover, NJ 
Pole Position Raceway - Jersey City, NJ 
Big Kahuna's NJ - West Berlin, NJ (formerly Sahara Sam's Oasis)
Bridgewater Sports Arena (ice skating and more) - Bridgewater, NJ 
Raritan Valley College Planetarium - Branchburg, NJ 
Dreyfus Planetarium Newark, NJ 
Longo Planetarium - Randolph, NJ 
iPlay America - Freehold, NJ 
Robert Novins Planetarium - Toms River, NJ 
Museum of Early Trades and Crafts - Madison, NJ 
Lakota Wolf Preserve - Columbia, NJ (outdoors, by appointment only) 
Turtle Back Zoo - West Orange, NJ (outdoors, with some indoor areas) 
Grounds for Sculpture - Hamilton, NJ (outdoors) 
Yestercades -Somerville, Red Bank, Westfield, NJ
Morristown Game Vault - Morristown, NJ
New Jersey SEA LIFE Aquarium (American Dream) - East Rutherford, NJ
LEGOLAND Discovery Center New Jersey (American Dream) - East Rutherford, NJ 
The Raptor Trust - Millington, NJ (outdoors)
The Great Swamp Experience - Basking Ridge, NJ 
Tac Ops Laser Tag - Fairfield, NJ/ Florham Park, NJ
Popcorn Park Animal Refuge - Forked River, NJ 
Bergen County Zoo - Hackensack, NJ
Cape May County Zoo - Cape May, NJ
Supercharged Entertainment (indoor raceway) Edison, NJ

If you are looking for some fun winter things to do in Jersey City, check out this great list of suggestions on Redfin!

New Jersey SEA LIFE Aquarium at American Dream

Liberty Science Center

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!

 Always call ahead or check websites for the most current operational information.

America on Wheels Auto Museum - Allentown, PA 
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Philadelphia - Plymouth Meeting, PA 
Crayola Experience - Easton, PA 
Mercer Museum - Doylestown, PA 
DaVinci Science Center - Allentown, PA 
Hershey's Chocolate World - Hershey, PA 
Hersheypark Chocolatetown - Hershey, PA
Hershey Gardens - Hershey, PA  
ZooAmerica - Hershey, PA
The Hershey Story Museum - Hershey, PA 
Crystal Cave - Kutztown, PA 
Lost River Caverns - Hellertown, PA 
Lehigh Valley Zoo - Shnecksville, PA 
Philadelphia Zoo - Philadelphia, PA 
Philadelphia Museum of Art - Philadelphia, PA 
The Franklin Institute - Philadelphia, PA 
The Turkey Hill Ice Cream Experience - Columbia, PA 
Please Touch Museum - Philadelphia, PA
Cabela's - Hamburg, PA 
Martin Guitar and Visitor Center - Nazareth, PA 

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