I recently came across an article titled “My 5 Favorite Places to Hang with the Kids in NJ” and I was hoping to see some really fantastic local places get the love they deserve. Eagerly, I opened the link and read the article. Nope.
Yet again, all North Jersey, with the exception of Princeton. I don’t get it. I mean, I’m sure the author is from North Jersey or New York, but…. eh. South Jersey is home to some really, really awesome kid-friendly places (and places in general!), yet we are so overlooked. It’s fine, forget us. Keep your traffic and noise; we’re fine down here. No, really. We are.
I SEE YOUR FIVE PLACES, MA’AM, AND I RAISE YOU FIVE MORE. (I could add more, but I’ll spare you all.)
My children are wild, curious, & veracious. They thrive on information and experience. And if your kids are like mine, then this list is for you.
Here are my My TEN Favorite Places to Hang with the Kids in South Jersey
Funny Farm Rescue
Admission: FREE (Donations Accepted)
Funny Farm Rescue started in 2000 and boasts fifteen acres; it’s South Jersey’s largest animal rescue!
My family visited a couple weeks ago for SJA Little Adventurers and had a blast! Beautiful horses, giant pigs, bunnies, chickens, goats, alpacas, they have it all! And you can feed them! Socks, the free-roaming white horse is beautiful! And have you heard the story of Ricky?! Truly, this place is special.
The Funny Farm is open Sundays & Tuesdays 8 am to 4 pm.
Air Victory Museum
Admission: Adults (14–61) $4.00, Seniors (62+) $3.00, Children (4–13) $2.00
I accidentally stumbled upon this place one day after getting lost trying to find a horse farm. As soon as you pull up, you’ll notice the giant airplane with the crazy saucer thing on top. That crazy saucer thing is actually satellite used for surveillance by the Navy.
Once you get inside, there are all kinds of cool airplanes. Even some you can climb inside! This place is truly remarkable.
The Air Victory Museum is open Wednesdays through Saturdays, 10 am to 4 pm and Sundays, 11 am to 4 pm.
Admission: FREE (Donations Accepted)
Conhanzick Zoo is the oldest zoo in the state of New Jersey. I grew up in Bridgeton and this place will always be special to me. They recently brought in two new tiger cubs that are playful & adorable!
It’s a great mile-ish loop that has some really beautiful scenery, as well as, great animals!
The zoo is open daily 9 am to 4 pm during the fall and winter and 9 am to 5 pm during the spring and summer season.
Do you like blueberries? Well, did you know that the domesticated blueberry that we all enjoy today originates right here in South Jersey?
Elizabeth Coleman White, whose home still exists at Whitesbog, sold the first cropped blueberry in 1916.
In addition to the amazing history, Whitesbog has some really beautiful trails to explore through the trees & cranberry bogs.
Whitesbog also frequently hosts family friendly events. The General Store is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm from February through December.
Popcorn Park Zoo
Admission:Adults — $5.00, tax included, Seniors and Children under 12 — $4.00, tax included; children under 3 — Free!
The Popcorn Park Zoo is a zoo, yes, but it is home to formerly abused, abandoned, injured, and disabled animals. There you’ll find bears, monkeys, tigers, deer, goats, and much more!
It’s a nice, sandy loop around the zoo, so strollers sometimes don’t fair extremely well, but it’s a safe place to let the littles walk around.
Also, make sure you buy plenty of popcorn at the entrance to feed the animals!
The zoo is open 11 am to 5 pm, seven days a week, except holidays, when it opens from 11 am through 2 pm.
Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge
Admission: Adults — $5, Children —$3, Children under three and members — FREE
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Open seven days a week, this place is a haven for wildlife lovers. It has trails covering 171 acres in the Pine Barrens and an educational center, as well as a rehabilitation center for wildlife. I have personally dropped off a bird there to be rehabilitated and they are fantastic!
This place is what your woodland dreams are made of.
Red Bank Battlefield
RBB, as the cool kids call it, is beautiful. There’s plenty of history to learn. In fact, the Battle of Red Bank was fought here and Ann Whitall stayed in her home and tended to wounded soldiers. The home, despite being badly damaged by the battle, is still there today and you can tour it!
If you’re into Pokémon, this is the Pokémon capitol of South Jersey, featuring over 20 stops & an abundance of catches!
This is also a great place to just relax & watch the airplanes come & go from Philadelphia International Airport.
And be sure to check out the butterfly house, when it’s in season! The park itself is open sunrise to sunset, year round.
I’ve been coming to Fort Mott all my life. Built in 1872, the fort was one of three forts, all of which you can ride the ferry to. Troops were stationed at Fort Mott between 1897–1922, but no battles were actually fought on the property.
In addition to the cool fort, there’s scenic trails, a beach, playground, pavilion, and lots of space to run and explore. There’s even the formidable rear range lighthouse that you can climb.
Fort Mott holds a lot of memories for me & my kids. It’s definitely a place you should pack a lunch & hang at all day.
The park is open daily, 8 am to 4 pm.
Batsto Village is a historic town within Wharton State Forest. It once was a functioning town, beginning in the mid-late 1700’s, and produced iron.
A decent amount of the buildings stand today, including the gorgeous mansion, which you can tour for just a couple dollars.
There also are an abundance of trails and the Nature Center, which you are free to enjoy.
The scenery cannot be beat here! It’s like stepping back in time over 200 years!
The visitors’ center is open from 9 am to 4 pm daily.
Bayshore Center at Bivalve
Admission: FREE (donations accepted)
The Bayshore Center is home to the super cool schooner A.J. Meerwald, which is the state ship for the State of New Jersey.
It also hosts a really cool museum that showcases the history of the bayshore area and an art gallery for local art.
Be sure to take your time and walk around the area a bit; it’s gorgeous! Stroll on down into Shell Pile (you’ll know when you make it!). There are oyster shells as far as the eye can see!
I’m sure there will be changes to this list as my children grow and change, but for a 15, 6, and nearly 2-year-old, they can all agree on these awesome adventures in South Jersey.
This piece was contributed by Amy Petrie, founder of South Jersey Adventures, for Route 40. It was originally posted on Medium. South Jersey Adventures seeks to celebrate, educate, protect and preserve the history and biodiversity that makes South Jersey so unique.