A Serious Guide to Family Fun All Over the Northeast

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Only a matter of weeks into the new year, some resolutions can lose their appeal. But fear not, there is still time to work on them {a whole 11 months, to be exact}. 

For those who set a family goal to have more fun together in 2020, we’ve rounded up a list that will keep the excitement alive. Here are 15 places and attractions that will help you enjoy this decade in unique, local style. No need to travel far either, as all of these ideas can be found within two hours of Northern Jersey. Keep reading for your full 2020 family-fun guide — or just fun guide, since it doesn’t matter what age you are to have some serious fun.

Entertainment  

Luna Park at Coney Island {1000 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY}

luna park

{Photo credit: @lunaparknyc}

One of the most iconic locations in the area, no summer is complete without a trip out to Coney Island. The boardwalk is known for its famous hot dogs, refreshing ice cream, and thrilling rides at Luna Park. The park opens in April and can be enjoyed by the whole family. For more information, go here.

American Dream Mall {1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ}

Think of the American Dream Mall as a kids’ wonderland right here in NJ. As one of the nation’s largest malls complete with an ice skating rink, Nickelodeon Universe, ski slope, and more, this is the place to bring kids for a fun adventure any time of the year.

Crayola Experience {30 Center Square, Easton, PA}

Color comes to life at the Crayola Factory in Pennsylvania. Plan on spending three to four hours here to let little ones explore all 27 touch-friendly exhibits. Create a personalized coloring page, learn about the process behind crayon creation, and even make your own crayon.

See More: Drop-In Classes for Kids in Hoboken

Legoland New York Resort {Goshen, NY}

Imagine a world made entirely out of Legos. This Legoland location opens July 4th for kids ages two to 12 and their families. Find more than 50 interactive rides, shows, and Lego-tastic attractions. Book your stay here.

Please Touch Museum {4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA}

Specifically designed for kids who love to get in on the ground floor and touch everything, this museum is a must-visit spot. Each interactive exhibit, program, and special event is focused on encouraging creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking as core elements of a happy and fulfilling childhood.

Nature

Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium {222 Jersey City Boulevard, Jersey City, NJ}

liberty science center

Take the entire family to enjoy the biggest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere at the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium inside the Liberty Science Center. This stunning space has a lighting system that can produce over 281 trillion colors and new speakers capable of producing 30,00 watts of digital sound. Explore distant galaxies while keeping your feet on the ground.

Hudson Bike Loop {Hudson River Walkway and NJ Waterfront}

Embrace the views along the Hudson River on this car-free Hudson Bike Loop. Riding NY Waterway ferries from Port Imperial in Weehawken to Pier 79 in Midtown and then from Brookfield Place to Paulus Hook, make it easy to bike or stroll along the paved paths on both New Jersey and New York Waterfronts in the same day. Enjoy the loop for some family-friendly exercise or take your time and enjoy local attractions along the way. For maps and details, visit here

Esopus River Tubing {10 Bridge Street, Phoenicia, NY}

Believe it or not, you don’t have to go far to find a thrilling river experience. For over 30 years the Town Tinker Tube Rental has provided whitewater equipment for locals and not-so-locals to come and experience Esopus Creek. Tubers must be at least 12 years old and good swimmers. Esopus River Tubing is open from Memorial Day Weekend through September 20th. Weekends by reservation only. Details and rental information is available here.

Edge Observatory {Hudson Yards, NY}

Into the sky. Out of this world. Edge Observatory is the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere and it opens in March 2020. Visitors will feel like they’re flying with 360-degree views of New York City and surrounding boroughs. Open from 8:00AM-12:00AM, families can come when it’s convenient for them and experience amazing views from 100 stories up in the sky.

Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival {6636 Route 9, Rhinebeck, NY}

Pack up the crew and head to the 29th Annual Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. Enjoy the rainbow of colored balloons, hayrides, family activities, and even take a ride in a helicopter or hot-air balloon at this colorful festival. Catch the balloons starting on Friday, July 10th before they float off for good on Sunday, July 12th ending at 8:00PM. Directions and tickets are available here.

Culture

Hamilton Park {773 Boulevard East, Weehawken, NJ}

hamilton duel

History buffs both big and small will enjoy a stop at Hamilton Park, where Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr dueled in 1804 resulting in Hamilton’s death. In addition to being historically significant, the public space offers breathtaking views of New York City {so be sure to pack your camera}.

Lucy the Elephant {9200 Atlantic Ave, Margate City, NJ}

The legend, the national historic landmark, the six-story elephant building  — Lucy the Elephant was introduced to Coney Island in 1884 and has since undergone a few renovations and relocations. At one time Lucy was home to a British doctor and his family. Lucy now sits in Margate City, down the shore from Atlantic City, offering tours every half hour. 

Thomas Edison National Historical Park {211 Main Street, West Orange, NJ}

Mix history and fun where Thomas Edison worked and lived from 1886 until his death in 1931. Here he developed the phonograph, storage battery, and motion picture camera. Take little techies through a phone guided tour of the grounds where some of the most groundbreaking technology was invented. With 20,000 square feet of exhibit space, there is no shortage of interesting items to keep the whole family intrigued.

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World’s Largest Kaleidoscope {Shops at Emerson on Route 28 in Mt. Tremper, NY}

For those looking to explore something truly unique, check out the world’s largest kaleidoscope. Collectors and admirers alike are invited to enjoy this multimedia experience that wows audiences with brilliant moving images and theatre quality sound. At 56 feet tall and 38 feet in diameter, the farm silo was transformed into a kaleidoscope you can actually stand in. The show changes seasonally but consistently does keep to the theme of the local Catskills.

The Empty Sky Memorial {1 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City, NJ}

Unique to the local area on a somewhat more somber note is the array of 9/11 memorials that dot the waterfront. The Empty Sky memorial remembers those 749 lives lost from the state of New Jersey. Visitors can find strength and a sense of community in this beautiful memorial while enjoying the view across the Hudson River.

What attractions are on your family’s bucket list this year? Let us know in the comments!

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Written by:

Originally from North Carolina, Ainsley became a proud Hoboken Girl years ago. As a freelance journalist she has written about everything under the sun for the past six years. She works from her home office in uptown Hoboken or sometimes from Choc-o-Pain, because nothing says “freelancer” like working from a café with a fresh croissant nearby. As the mother of one very fast toddler, she has a passion for self-care, parenting hacks, and discovering all the fun things the Mile Square has to offer.