Not the Mall! 6 Alternative Activities to Beat the Summer Heat



Without fail, every summer brings high temps and the task of finding something exciting to do to escape the heat. But there are only so many times you can walk past Justice or Abercrombie without breaking the bank and simultaneously making you crazy.

One of the great things about living in New Jersey is the variety of activities and attractions (indoor and outdoor) available for family fun. Here are six ideas to get out of the sun and keep the kids happy and occupied without another trip to a nearby mall or movie theater.

Explore the Liberty Science Center

While science may not scream “fun” for everyone, once kids experience the adventures inside, they’ll no doubt be begging to return. From IMAX 3-D shows and interactive learning to the Infinity Climber and Nikola Tesla Lightning Show, there are endless opportunities for science exploration. Don’t miss the Wildlife Challenge, open mid-June through Labor Day and the Dino Dig, which runs through June 10.

Get Active at Kidoolo Play Club

Kidoolo Play Club is an elevated kids’ place that blends laser tag with indoor climbing, dance and video games. The Open Play Club is a perfect place for play dates and family fun.

Similarly, iPlay America in Freehold has so much entertainment for kids and adults that you could spend a few days here. From go karts and laser tag to boardwalk games and rides, the destination is well worth the journey.

Other indoor amusement parks around the state include:

  • Kids Towne USA – Hamilton
  • The FunPlex – Mt. Laurel/East Hanover
  • CoCo Key Water Resort – Mount Laurel

Take a Cooking Class

With TV shows like Chopped Junior and Masterchef Junior, cooking is quickly becoming a favorite kid pastime. Give your children a behind-the-scenes look at what the chef life is like by taking a cooking class together. Get your hands dirty learning how to make anything from Italian cuisine to cupcakes. Whether you take a cake-decorating class at Splurge Bakery in Milburn or a lesson in nutrition at the Young Chefs Academy in Morganville, you’ll probably have a new little sous chef at home once you’re back home.

Experience Broadway

If drama fills your home on a daily basis, take the kids to see their first Broadway show in New York City. Help them experience the magic of theater on a grand scale by attending shows like “The Lion King,” “School of Rock” and “Matilda,” which are all on Broadway right now.

Get tickets online ahead of time so as not to disappoint the kids if you show up hoping for good seats and don’t get them. Consider a show with multiple intermissions for younger children to allow for frequent breaks.

Get Thee to Medieval Times

In Lyndhurst lies a castle home to medieval warriors and stalwart horses clashing their way to King’s Champion through jousting, weaponry and horsemanship while you kick back and enjoy the show.

This is not only an epic day or evening activity; it’s an interactive educational experience for the kids.

The Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament received a 2015 Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor.

Stroll the Farmer’s Market

Teach children about eating local, fresh and healthy as you roam your community farmers markets.

Shop for fresh produce from local farmers and buy locally-made gifts and treats from local artisans.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture maps out seasonal markets from Sussex to Cape May County. Hit the markets in the morning for fairer weather and the best selection of produce.