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By: Ellen Geller Kamaras

Are you taking time off on Hol Hamoed? It’s time to start thinking about family day trips. Whether you are spending Sukkot in Brooklyn or Deal, there are many exciting family outings for all ages to enjoy around both locations. No need to break the bank and go far on an expensive vacation for the entire hag. Hol Hamoed is a wonderful time to have a successful “staycation” experience.

Before you start scheduling, take some time to think about what makes the hagim meaningful for you. For many, the hagim are very much about connecting with Hashem and family. Sukkot, of all the hagim, is about nature, the outdoors, giving up material comforts, and enjoying the harvest. Sukkot affords us the chance to teach our children to appreciate what we have and to connect with family and nature.

Now it’s time to enjoy focusing on those themes of family and nature during Hol Hamoed. Enjoy the beautiful fall days of Hol Hamoed in the following free or reasonably priced venues around Brooklyn and Deal.

Brooklyn Outing Ideas

Brooklyn Botanical Garden and Prospect Park Area

What better way to appreciate nature than viewing Hashem’s beautiful plants and flowers? The Garden is open Sundays from 10:00-6:00and Tuesdays – Friday from 8:00-6:00. Follow the FAMILY ITINERARY on bbg.org, which guides young naturalists to explore the plants, animals, and habitats around the Garden.

Prospect Park Zoo

For animal lovers, the Prospect Park Zoo, less than a mile from the Garden, is a must. It’s open Sundays from 10:00 to 5:30, and on Mondays through Wednesdays from 10:00 to 5:00. Catch the sea lion training sessions at 11:30, 2:00, and 4:00, and try to spot the red pandas on the Discovery Trail. Prospect Park is very close to the Garden (.37 miles away) and has great green lawns, ponds/lakes, and wooded areas to explore for bird watching.

New York Aquarium

This gem, part of the Wildlife Conservation Society, is in our very own backyard. It will be open on Hol Hamoed from 10:00 to 3:30. Children can learn how to protect the planet, help feed the otters or penguins, watch lives shows, and lots more.

Coney Island and
Brighton Beach

If you visit the Aquarium, please save some time to stroll on the boardwalk and iconic Steeplechase Pier, or even on the beach, weather permitting. Hop on the restored antique wooden horses of the B&B Carousel on Steeplechase Plaza (open 12:00 to 8:00 on October 8-10th and 12:00 to 6:00 on October 11th). Luna Park is located right there with rides and games.

Have you walked across
the Brooklyn Bridge?

It’s one of the top tourist activities. First stroll through historic Brooklyn Heights and visit the new Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) and walk along the Promenade and enjoy the beautiful NYC skyline. BBP is a new waterfront park with lots of goings-on, including: gardens, piers, playgrounds, a marina, ferry and water taxis to Manhattan, picnic tables and chairs, and a fabulous view of the New York skyline. You can enter the park several ways – my favorite is via the bouncy bridge at Squibb Park. Stop in at the Environmental Education Center for self-guided exploration of exhibits and interactive activities (Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:00-5:00 pm, Sundays,
1:00-5:00 pm).

New York Transit Museum

While you are in downtown Brooklyn, don’t miss the vintage subway cars at the New York Transit Museum
(mta.info/mta/museum/). The museum is
open Tuesday-Friday 10:00-4:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00-5:00 pm.

Adventurers Park
(formerly Nellie Bly)

I have fond memories of Hol Hamoed at this local mini amusement park located at 1824 Shore Parkway. Perfect for younger children, this park offers rides such as the teacups, go-karts, bumper cars, and miniature golf. Call
718-975-2748 for details about their Sukkot Specials from October 8th through the 11th.

Jewish Children’s Museum

If you visit the Prospect Park area or Crown Heights, leave time for the Jewish Children’s Museum at 792 Eastern Parkway. In addition to the regular exhibits
(Voyage Through Jewish History, Activity Center), there are
special Sukkot programs including Torah Unwrapped, Game Show, and Laser Tag.

Visit Other Jewish Neighborhoods

If you want to play tourist, shop for Judaica or clothing, and eat lunch or dinner in a restaurant with a Sukkah, visit Boro Park, Williamsburg, or Crown Heights.

Deal Trip Ideas

Apple Picking

Can you think of a more fitting way to celebrate a harvest hag and spend time outdoors with your loved ones? If you didn’t pick apples before Rosh Hashanah, it’s still customary to “dip the apple in the honey” during the remainder of the hagim. Enjoy a few hours with your children at a luxuriant orchard.

Battleview Orchards

Located in Freehold, NJ and is only a 30+ minute drive from Deal. The orchards are open 9:00 to 6:00 daily. There are “Pick Your Own” dates for picking different kinds of fruits, and there are hayrides on the weekends.


A fabulous activity for family bonding in nature is “to take a hike.” NJ is teeming with trails from easy to difficult. Click on the Ultimate NJ Hiking Guide and find the right trail for your family (https://njmonthly.com/articles/jersey-living/outdoors/ultimate-nj-hiking-guide/2/).

The Manasquan Reservoir

Located in Howell Township (next to Lakewood), this is a fun and easy 5.1-mile
loop through man-made wetlands, wooded forests, and wildflower meadows. The trail is flat enough for strollers and bicyclists, and is home to 200 species of birds. Open daily from 6:00 am to 8:30 pm.
It is about a 30-minute drive from Deal.

You can also rent a kayak, take a boat tour, go to the playground, or go fishing.

Allaire State Park

This park has more than 20 miles of easy to moderate trails, and has a restored 19th-century iron-making village within the park. There is also a steam train to ride. Allaire State Park is around a 30-minute drive from Deal, and is open daily from 8:00 to 6:00.

Six Flags Great Adventure
and Safari

Who doesn’t think of Great Adventure when you say “Hol Hamoed”? The park opens at 11:00 am on October 8th and 9th, and closes at 11:00 pm on the 8th, and at 10:00 pm on the 9th.

Monmouth County Parks

Bring some Frisbees, kites, and soccer balls and take advantage of the county’s gorgeous parks. Some parks have adult and children’s programs on Hol Hamoed, including historical home tours such as Seabrook-Wilson House Tours at Bayshore Waterfront Park. This house dates back to the 1700’s – see displays on the ecology of the bay and local history – FREE! (https://www.monmouthcountyparks.com/EventCalendar.aspx).

iPlay America

iPlay America is an indoor theme park in Freehold, NJ with lots of attractions for kids of all ages. It’s open Monday through Thursday, from 4:00 to 9:00 and Sunday from 10:00 to 9:00.

Ellen Geller Kamaras, CPA/MBA, is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Coach. Her coaching specialties include life, career, and dating coaching.
Ellen can be contacted at ellen@lifecoachellen.com (www.lifecoachellen.com).