The answer to your kids’ question is – yes! There are, in fact, a lot of options within short driving distances to get out and have fun during Hol Hamoed! And yes, many of them are budget-friendly, kid-friendly, and will be worth the drive. So, ask your kids to check out this list and let the fun and excitement begin!
Gray Line Hop on/Hop off Tour
Explore more than 40 major New York City sights on this double decker tour bus that allows you to get on and off where you like. With and Uptown and Downtown pass, you can have access to two major tour routes for one low price. Make a day of it, or hop on and off to see a few sights, the choice is yours! Book at: https://www.grayline.com/tours/new-york-city/hop-on-hop-off-new-york-city-uptown-downtown-pass-5870_70_12130_849/.
Luna Park @ Coney Island
Home of the first Rollercoaster (opened in 1884), Coney Island’s Luna Park has a rich history as the largest amusement park in New York. With a scenic boardwalk, thrill rides, a spacious park, historic landmarks, and family-friendly entertainment, it is a great spot for family fun. Learn more at: https://lunaparknyc.com.
National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey
Through the magic of technology, this immersive experience takes visitors on a virtual journey through the Pacific Ocean. Walk along the ocean floor, explore ocean life, meet beautiful ocean animals and plants, and more. Visit https://www.nationalgeographic.org/education/encounter-ocean-odyssey/.
The Beast NYC Speed Boat Ride
Looking for a ride to the Statue of Liberty with a little more excitement than the Ferry? Then the Beast might be for you! This high-speed boat takes exciting twists and turns on the way – you might even get a bit wet. Buy tickers at: https://www.thebeastnyc.com.
Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum
This fascinating museum is dedicated to the exhibition of history, science, and military service, as related to its home on the aircraft carrier Intrepid. There are a myriad exhibits that focus on different aspects of science and technology. The museum is full of actual aircraft, submarines, a space shuttle, simulators, and even has even an interactive hall for kids to explore in a hands-on way. For more information go to: https://www.intrepidmuseum.org.
Dewitt Clinton Park
Looking for a more intimate park than Central Park? Dewitt Clinton Park is a small, historically rich green space on Manhattan’s West Side. Dewitt Clinton Park features a playground, a dog run, a historic flower garden, and a myriad of sports fields and courts. Visit https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/de-witt-clinton-park.
FDNY Fire Zone
Learn about fire safety and have loads of fun with hands-on exhibits, simulators, and real-life fire trucks. Kids can try on actual gear, learn how to crawl through a smoke-filled hall, meet a real fire fighter, and climb into the cab of a truck, all while learning the important lessons for fire safety. Learn more at: https://www.fdnysmart.org/firezone/.
Not just your average Lego Store, the one at Rockefeller Center includes a Lego Mosaic Maker, a Minifigure Factory, a digital brick lab, and many other exhibits that make the process of shopping for Legos fun for everyone. Learn more at https://www.lego.com/en-us/stores/store/5th-avenue?y_source=1_MjI2MjYxMDUtNzE1LWxvY2F0aW9uLndlYnNpdGU%3D.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Open to the public since 1899, the world’s first children’s Museum features a huge outdoor playground, special play areas for toddlers, a mini town, a mass of tunnels to explore, and even Jurassic Park mini golf. Purchase Tickets at: https://www.brooklynkids.org.
Prospect Park Zoo
Situated beside the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, visitors can enjoy red pandas, sea lions, and dingos to name a few. Besides the exotic animals, there is a petting zoo where you can feed adorable sheep or alpacas. Visit https://prospectparkzoo.com.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
With several kinds of playgrounds, your kids will never grow bored – from Slide Mountain to Sandbox Village and Swing Valley, to the Water Lab, this park is a child’s dream. It’s a great place to have a picnic, with many tables and a beautiful flower garden. Learn more at: https://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/places-to-see/pier-6/.
Opened in 2016, Shipwrecked is an entirely indoor entertainment complex with mini-golf, escape rooms, an arcade, and a restaurant. While there is plenty of fun for the whole family, there is an outdoor terrace, specifically designed for adults. Visit https://www.shipwreckednyc.com/things-to-do.
Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Ocean, New Jersey, is the place for energetic kids and adults alike. Walk in or make reservations. The massive indoor playground is filled with trampolines, foam pits, basketball courts, climbing walls, Ninja Warrior-stye obstacle courses, foam jousting, ultimate dodgeball spaces, and zip line.
Monster Mini Golf
It’s fun for all ages at the Monster Mini Golf in Eatontown, New Jersey. Families can partake in 18-hole black light mini golf, a state-of-the-art video arcade, and virtual reality attractions where you can immerse yourself in numerous adventures. Visit the website to look at timely deals and take a virtual tour. Visit https://monsterminigolf.com/eatontown/.
Solve It Sherlock Escape Room
Think you can crack the code, solve the puzzle, and escape the room in time? With five different rooms to choose from, ranging from the moderately hard (5/10) Pirates of the Golden Skull to the very hard (8/10) The Magician’s Secret. Rooms range from two to eight players and are great for friends, family, or coworkers. Solve It Sherlock Escape Room is located in Neptune, New Jersey. To read about the different experiences and book a room visit the website at: https://solveitsherlockescape.com.
For families with younger children, Just Play in Oakhurst, NJ, is an indoor playground designed specifically for children up to six years old. Besides open play available every day of the week, Just Play offers private play date options by the hour. For more information, visit www.justplaynj.com.
Holland Ridge Farms
For a Sunday jaunt until October 23rd, Holland Ridge Farms in Cream Ridge, New Jersey, invites visitors to pick sunflowers and take pictures in their beautiful fields of sunflowers, lilies, mums, dahlias, gladiolus, and more. And check out the petting zoo. Tickets must be purchased online. Visit https://www.hollandridgefarms.com.
Monmouth County Parks
The Monmouth County Park System has facilities and activities for all seasons, including many community activities such as craft shows, and the parks are home to beaches, campgrounds, disc gold courses, off-leash dog parks, skating rinks, fishing, and boating. Explore the area parks online at: https://www.monmouthcountyparks.com/index.aspx.
Gateway National Recreational Area
Located in Staten Island, the Gateway National Recreational Area is the perfect spot for enjoying the beautiful outdoors. Catch the stretch of beach for swimming, the cycling lanes, hiking trails, camping, boating, archery, fishing, and myriad of sports fields. Also on site is Sandy Hook, the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in the United States. Check out: https://www.nps.gov/gate/marking-50-years-as-a-national-recreation-area.htm
Victory Stables is a beautiful horse farm in Colts Neck, New Jersey with riding lessons, trail rides, horse shows, and various boarding and leasing options. Great for both new and experienced horseback riders.
Family owned since 1923 in Colts Neck, New Jersey, the Orchard at one time transported fresh fruit to nearby cities. Now, it sells directly to consumers. How fun to pick your own apples on a crisp fall day! Pick up some honey there, too. Visit the website at: http://eastmontorchards.com.
Allaire Community Farm
Allaire Community Farm in Walls Township is a special place for special animals. The petting zoo animals are all rescues. Check out the horseback riding, too! The low admission price is reinvested in worthy causes like helpings both adults and children with special needs, supporting those with mental health issues, and supporting cancer survivors. Visit the website at: https://allairecommunityfarm.org.
Allaire State Park
Home to the Historic Allaire Village – a living history museum – and Pine Creek Railroad, Allaire State Park is a wonderful opportunity to explore the past up close and personally. Complete with a blacksmith shop, bakery, general store and post office, school, and various other staples of mid-19th century life, visitors can experience history rather than just learning about it. Learn more at: https://allairevillage.org.
Miss Belmar Whale Watching
Boasting the cleanest and fastest ships, Miss Belmar offers sunset and stargazing cruises, whale watching tours, and fishing charters with excellent crews. Book a trip at: https://missbelmar.com.
This article was compiled with kind assistance from Joy Betesh of Coupon Connection (www.couponconnectionnj.com).