The tricky thing about winter is that when it finally arrives we’re in the throes of holiday craziness with parties, school recitals, family get-togethers, vacations, and new year’s celebrations and too busy to pay much attention to the freezing temps. But when the holidays are over and January arrives we realize that, yep, it’s still, really, really cold, which means the kids climbing the walls (again!). The anti-stir-crazy solution? Find a ton of stuff for the kids to do inside. Here are 10 places for indoor fun for families in North Jersey perfect for keeping everybody happy until it’s time to venture outside again.
We’re still a few months out from spring training, but your baseball fans can get plenty of batting practice in ASAP at this indoor facility filled with fully automated batting cages with multiple speeds for both baseball and softball pitches. And the kids can go from batting to bowling without leaving as Humdingers is also home to 12 lanes in addition to a lazer maze attraction and a restaurant heavy on pizza and burgers.
There are indoor rock climbing gyms (been there, done that) and then there’s this place, a choose-your-adventure venue that will keep the whole gang entertained until the trees start sprouting leaves again. Yes, there’s rock climbing, but you can also expect a Nerf play sessions, Parkour activities, a Ninja warrior course, and a giant Rubik’s Cube ... and no, our kids don’t really know what that is. Sigh.
West Nyack, NY
The mega mall is about more than just shopping thanks to a fun-and-games Mecca Dave and Buster’s; the world’s largest indoor ropes course, a bowling alley, ice rink, Ferris wheel, and an escape room. Basically, if you can’t find something to do here, you’re not trying. At all.
We’ve always been big fans of this amazing science museum that’s right in our own backyard, but we’re especially in love with the new Doc McStuffins The Exhibit featuring Disney Junior TV series title character’s backyard clinic and the McStuffins Toy Hospital. Here, the kids get to don cute little lab coats, grab a stethoscope, and perform check-ups in the ER, groom toy pets at the Pet Vet, feed baby toys in the nursery.
Tree fairies and gnomes are welcome at this beautifully and thoughfully designed playspace new to Cedar Grove. With drop in play offered for ages 0 to 5 and artisanal coffee, cold brew, free-WiFi, and gourmet health-conscious organic snacks for the caregivers and parents, you may actually leave a little more zen than when you arrived. Kids can hide away in the chicken coop (play chickens only!), bring their mini entrepreneurial spirit to the farmer's market food truck or just chill on the sensory friendly bean bag which they'll definitely need after hours of getting busy in the space.
At this crafty, creative studio, kids can make everything from pottery to sculptures to slime and even learn to sew. It’s also the perfect spot for a birthday party or Girl Scout group outing if you want to customize your own whimsical workshop.
You often have two choices when you take your kiddos to an indoor play space: beg your kids to let you grab a coffee before you get there, or sit and take swigs of tepid water from their sippy cup while wishing you had begged harder. Not at Lily and Liam. Turn your socked hooligans loose, then head to the on-site café to supervise with a coffee or juice in one hand and a nut-free snack in the other.
This DIY studio is filled with fun youth projects. During youth workshops, kids can create rustic chic wall hangings, frames, and canvas pillows. Keep your eye on the calendar for sessions the whole family can attend and keep it in mind for parties too. Oh, and hold off on that next trip to Pottery Barn ... your kids just might come home with something worthy of your wall.
There’s more to this community center than we have room to list here, but basically if you can think of it, it’s probably here. From indoor pools to gyms to a tumble room to classes in drama, music, dance, athletics, arts, and more, if our kids didn’t actually have to attend school every day, we’d be sending them here and be fine with it.
If you’ve got some budding artists in the family, they can let their creativity run wild at this studio where they’ll learn a different aspect of art during the after-school art sessions based on the theme of the day. That means each week will be something new (read: not boring) and your little Picasso will proudly present you with something worth putting on display.