Need to get those kids out of the house and burn some energy? or learn about something new? Here are somethings we like to do, in no order.
Oh yeah! Some of these places are also great way to meet other moms!!
(This is a work in progress. Check back for additions.)
1. Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA. This is great all year round. They have an amazing kids garden, holiday displays and events throughout the year. Kids under the age of 4 are free and a yearly pass is for a family of 5 is only $105. You can also get discounts for your guests when you bring them along. This is also a great place for the summer to let the kids walk around(without worrying about them getting out of your site) and get some fresh air. (They have an amazing children’s garden) Every Monday from January 21st 2008 to May 19th 2008 you can participate in the gardens Kid’s Story time. Enjoy a story and create a craft with the Garden’s staff, for kids ages 3-5 from 10-10:30am and 10:45-11:15am.
2. Garden State Discovery Museum, Cherry Hill, New Jersey. This is a great place for hands on fun, learning and discovery. They have events all year round to coincide with seasons and holidays. I like that they have a section for toddlers. You can let your small one roam around and explore and know that the displays are geared toward their age. They also have a little area for crawlers in the toddler area. So, if you 2 small ones it is a great way to keep an eye on both. Admission is free for kids under 12 months. You have to pay for every adult and child (over the age of 1) but if you go and like it a yearly pass is only $99 (plus tax). This includes two adults and all the children in your household. This will pay for itself. Purchase the next level membership and your pass will get you into Discovery Museums around the country! (For kids 10 and under)
3. Philadelphia Zoo. What a great place to go anytime of the year. They have wonderful events for kids, including their Boo at the Zoo during Halloween. Become a member, (definitely worth it at just $89 a year, 2 adults and all kids under 18) and you have access to the Treehouse, Free parking and discounts on loads of great educational classes for you little ones. Savings tip: Weekdays only now through the end of February you just pay the weather. So if the temp is in the 50’s you pay just $5, in the 40’s- $4 and so on. Can’t beat that!!! Check out the zoo site for more information.
4. Jelly Bean Jungle, Marlton,NJ. This is a great indoor play place to bring your toddler (5 and under). They have a ball pit, a complete hit in every kids mind, a climbing area, a dress up area, and a place to eat lunch, you can bring your own or purchase food there. I like it because it’s clean and it’s small. If your rambunctious 2 year old decides to make a run for it, there is only so far to go and you have a full visual, which makes it easy to multi-task if you have more than one. The admission is $9 for kids 1-5 (infants and non-crawlers are free), 2 adults may accompany each child for no charge. A yearly pass is definitely worth it (check out rates at their website).
5. Johnson’s Corner Farm, Medford, NJ. Looking for tons of seasonal fun? Then Johnson’s is your place. Bring in each season with a hayride and seasonal fruit-picking excursions. They just opened up their Discovery Barnyard for kids! We go pumpkin and apple picking around Halloween just before Christmas. They also have great family fun events for the holidays, you can make a wreath, decorate gingerbread and meet with Santa. Sounds like fun! (This probably makes for great pictures for all you Scrapbookers out there)
6. Strasburg Railroad. Take a scenic and educational (about 1 1/2 hours from Philadelphia) drive to get to the Strasburg Railway. While this is not in the immediate vicinity of the city, or South Jersey, you won’t care when you see the look on your child’s face as they board the amazing steam engine train. For $11 per adult (kids under 3 are free, 3-11-$6) you take a scenic 40 minute ride through the farms of Amish Country. Although it isn’t necessary for a great day out, they also feature A Day out with Thomas various times throughout the year, and The Santa Express. If you live in the area and just visiting, this is a definite must see for your little train enthusiast (or toddler bordering on obsessive train behavior, like mine).
7. Ocean ‘n’ Motion, Mt. Laurel, NJ. This is an indoor play place like Jelly Bean Jungle but with a different theme. At this interactive play center that promotes “ocean awareness”, your child can burn off a little steam and learn something at the same time. What more could we ask for? It is also a safe play environment for kids age 5 and under. Admission is $9.95 for kids 1-5, and $4.95 for infants 8-11 months. Adults are free.
8. Kix & Giggles Children’s Playland,Philadelphia Pa. Tons of fun for kids ages 1-10. This is an indoor/outdoor play center that offers a variety of things to keep your kids entertained and going strong, including a wrap around gym, rock climbing wall and spiral slides. The center also offers a soft play section for babies and toddlers. Adults are free, children only $6.95.
9. Pump it up. Marlton, NJ. Enjoy this clean and safe environment, while bouncing, sliding and jumping on their giant, fun-filled inflatables. Although they mostly cater to parties (this is a great party place ), they do have Pop-In Playtime for Pre-k and Family Fun Time. You must be at least 34″ to age 10, $8.95 for the first child and $5.95 per sibling. Check out their website for time slots.
10. The Pop Shop, Collingswood, NJ. If you’re in the neighborhood or a hop over the bridge from Philadelphia, this is great place to eat with kids. The Pop Shop is a great family friendly restaurant with food for kids of all ages, they call it the American Diner meets California Cuisine. You can build your own burger or sit on an old fashioned stool and sip from a milk shake. They not only have 30 different varieties of grilled cheese, but an amazing selection of mouth watering fries to go with it. They have a great vegetarian menu, the best pancakes in South Jersey (as rated by south jersey magazine) and the best kids menu in the nation (food geared towards kids with kid friendly portion sizes, gotta love it). It’s great prices, family friendly atmosphere and love for kids definetly can’t be beat.
Great tip: Saturdays mornings between 7:30 and 10:30, pajama wearing kids accompanied by a paying adult, eat breakfast for free (beverages not included).
11. Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia, Pa. Just like the Garden State Museum this museum encourages imaginative play and educational development. Let your little one stock up on groceries in The SuperMarket, play crochet with the Queen of Hearts in Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, and take the wheel of a real Septa Bus in Move It. This museum is part of the Discovery Museum’s reciprocal program so if you live in South Jersey or Philadelphia, you can visit both museums at no charge. Nice!
F.Y.I: This is a great museum but if you are looking for more space for your kids to burn off steam by climbing and running around, visit the Garden State Discovery Museum (see #2).
12. International Sports Center, Cherry Hill, NJ. This indoor sports complex features a large Fun Zone featuring an interactive indoor jungle gym for children age 10 and under with a special area for toddlers. If you are looking for your kids to get into sports they have beginner, tot and advanced classes. This is also a great place for birthday parties. Click on this link for hours and admission to the fun zone. The hours for the fun zone during the week might interfere with dinner but the hours on the weekend are ideal!
13. Franklin Institute. Philadelphia, Pa. Walk through the human heart or watch as your child stare in awe at the Train display. The Franklin institute will introduce your child to the world of science and beyond. Basic admission (without IMAX) is $14.25 per adult, children 4-11, $11.50 and children 4 and under are free. A year pass should definitely pay for itself with the basic family membership running at just $85 for the year for 2 adults and any 4 children. Not Bad!
14. Bounce U. Cherry Hill, NJ. This new inflatable play center in South Jersey promises loads of great, clean fun. A great place for party planning, Bounce U also offers times to bring your little ones to play, Plan a Preschool Play date for children ages 6 and under, All age open bounce and Family Bounce Night. Check the website for playtimes, admission and party information.
15. Independence Seaport Museum, Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia, Pa. Perfect for the little boat enthusiast in you life. From small crafts to large ships, explore the history, science and art behind the beauty of these water bound vessels. Admission to the museum is just $9 for adults and $6 for children 3-12. Tip: Admission on Sundays from 10am to noon is free. Not Bad! Take your boating experience a step further, for Saturdays through March from 6:30pm to 10:30 am, join the Seaport Museum for s Submarine Slumber, sleeping in the galleries nest to the boat, enjoy snacks, activities, scavenger hunts and live performances.
16. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, Pa. I love the museum and thought it would be a while until I could share that experience with my kids. But to my surprise I had no idea they had so many programs geared toward children, including preschoolers. Join the museum in introducing your preschooler to Early Bird Read and Look Classes and Tours for Tots (ages 3-5) and Family gallery tours (ages 6-10). You can also sign your child up fro Art Classes during the week day and weekend, classes run for a 9 week session and run around $150 depending on the days you sign up. Check their website for more information.
17. Little Sport, Maple Shade, NJ. *This comes Reader recommended* (see comments below). This play center in Maple Shade is is a play center focusing on education through sports. They offer classes, open play, birthday parties,unlimited play time and much more. Prices seem very reasonable. Check out their website for more information. I’m thinking of taking my one year old to open play to check it out.
18. The Academy of Natural Science. Philadelphia, Pa. *This also come reader recommended.* And frankly, I can’t believe I forgot this one, considering I was just thinking about getting a membership! This is a great place for families and kids who love science. Introduce your little ones to the world of Dinosaurs, butterflies and everything in between. Along with visiting the museum, you can join in on the fun by taking advantage of the many activities the museum offers for your science enthusiast by participating in A Safari Overnight, Wild Weekends, Auditorium Shows, birthday parties and Tiny Tots Explorers classes, just to name a few. Admission is free for kids under 3, $8 for ages 3-12, and $10 for 12 and older. Purchase a museum membership for just $70 for the year for 2 adults and all children under the age of 18 and you receive not only free admission, but discounts to all the workshops, programs and birthday parties.
19. Kid Junction, Mt. Laruel, NJ. Kid Junction is now open and be prepared on that first visit with your toddler, that they will kick and scream and not want to leave, trust me, it happened to me. I love this place because it is very clean. There are great “stations”. They have a great climbing/slide section for toddlers and a smaller section for infants they call Jail with a safety gate so no prisoners break free (cute). They have a post office, a gym, a vet, pizza place and a grocery store. Don’t forget to bring a couple extra bucks for the token rides and to grab a bite to eat in the great little “cafe”. The place is big enough for you child to run around, yet small enough not to lose them. And don’t fret if you do, each child and parent is given a matching number upon entry and they won’t let you leave without checking it twice. Admission is $9.95 for child 2 and over and $6.95 for 2 and under. This place is definitely worth the time to check out and possibly a great place for a birthday party.
20. Camden Riversharks, Campbell Field, Camden, New Jersey. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner, or mention it and maybe it’s because we really just took both kids there today so I didn’t think of it. But for $44 (can’t beat it) for the family of 4, (and that’s for the “good” seats). We purchased the seats online and picked them up at the will call, they have great events and today happened to be public safety day so the place was filled with firetrucks and firemen, of course, my son thought it was the coolest thing. After taking in “red”, we grabbed a bite to eat (you could probably pack snacks or eat before hand and just buy ice cream) and then found our seats. My kids lasted a whole 2 innings before they wanted to get up and my husband and I didn’t think they would lost through the 4th inning, but after a carousel ride, playing in the Fun Zone (this does cost $5 but worth every penny) eating ice cream, cruising the stadium and a couple trips to the bathroom (yes, he stayed dry the entire time) before we knew it, it was the 9th inning and we took our seats for a great Fireworks Display (I believe they do it every Friday night). These fireworks beat out the ones we saw on the 4th of July by far. My son thought it was the greatest thing ever and my daughter, put her hand over her face and fell asleep (yes, she nodded off during the fireworks). A cool bonus, great scenery, and with the field being right next to the Ben Franklin Bridge, my train enthusiast caught glimpse of probably half a dozen train trips across the bridge. This is worth every penny. If you can’t check it out this season, put it on your list for next. Oh yeah…if your child is small and doesn’t need their own seat, no charge.
Tell me what you think! Please feel free to comment and share your experiences at these places! Are there any I missed? Or something else or another type of place you would like to know about, please let me know! I would love to hear from you!