20 Free Things to Do in NJ in March. Want to get the kids out of the house but don’t want to shell out a ton of money? We’ve got 20 awesome free suggestions.
1. Go on an Easter egg hunt
The kids look forward to those annual Easter egg hunts all year, and when they’re totally free, they’re especially sweet for you. On March 19, iPlay America in Freehold will host its annual Sonny the Bunny’s Colossal Carrot Adventure, complete with a hunt for eggs filled with treats, photos and breakfast with the Easter Bunny and more fun.. Then on March 20, stop by Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach to search for eggs in front of Jenkinson’s Aquarium (ages 4 and under), in front of Frank’s Fun Center (ages 5 to 8) and in front of Jenkinson’s Amusement Park (ages 9 to 10). There are also various eggs hunts at different Wildwood beaches that won’t cost you a dime, including Elks Annual Easter Egg Hunt on the 19th Avenue beach and Greater Wildwood Jaycees Easter Egg Hunt at the Lincoln Avenue beach on March 26 and Ed’s Funcade Easter Sunday Egg Hunt in the Hay at the 23rd Avenue boardwalk on March 27.
2. Head to the Sugar Maple Celebration
March is prime-time for going maple sugaring (and the last month of the season to do it), and the best part? Duke Farms’ Sugar Maple Celebration on the 19th and 20th is 100 percent free. Head to Hillsborough for a day of guided nature hikes, maple tree tapping, tree identification and syrup taste tests (yum!). You can also try treats made with the farm’s maple syrup, which will be served in the café.
3. See a Scripps spelling bee
On March 4, you and the kids can see a real, live spelling bee right here in NJ. The Somerset County Library System of New Jersey will host the SCLSNJ Bee Spectacular, a county-wide Scripps spelling bee, at Montgomery High School, the winner of which will be eligible to attend the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.
Sure, there are plenty of breakfasts with the Easter Bunny all across the state this month, but here’s one you don’t have to take your wallet out for. On March 26, visit Historic Smithville for its annual Easter Bunny Breakfast, complete with a yummy buffet and pictures with Mr. E. Bunny himself. Then, spend the day in town riding the paddleboats, carousel and mini-train and browsing the quaint streets and shops.
5. Go on a treasure hunt
Wander along the trails of Plainsboro Preserve in Cranbury on March 13 for a high-tech treasure hunt using your smartphone for geocaching.
6. Roam through the Zimmerli Art Museum
Rutgers University’s Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick is totally free—all the time! Participate in the popular family scavenger hunt, play “Junior Curator” and organize the museum’s art collection yourself, wander through the galleries and admire the paintings and sculptures. On the first Tuesday of the month, March 1, head to Art After Hours for a curator-led tour, live music and other fun activities.
7. Visit the animals at the zoo
Load up the kids in the car and road trip it to the Cape May County Zoo in Cape May Courthouse, a 200-acre park with picnic areas, fishing ponds, playgrounds, walking and bike paths, golf and tennis courses and more than 550 wild animals from 250 different species. Admission and parking are totally free year-round.
8. Watch a St. Patrick’s Day parade
It’s luck-of-the-Irish month, laddy, so celebrate at one of the many St. Patrick’s Day parades around the state. Check your town’s website to see when the ones in your neck of the woods are happening. Or head to Wildwood on March 12 for its festive annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and Parade. Don’t forget to wear green and bring a camera!
9. See garden-themed art
All month long, from March 1–30, you can get into the mood for spring at a gallery exhibit of mosaics featuring flowers, butterflies and birds at Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morris Township. And the nice thing is, it won’t drain your bank account in the least.
10. Make your own movie
Have an aspiring director or actor in your midst? Drop by the Bridgewater Library on March 19 for its Green Screen Workshop, where kids will learn all about the behind-the-scenes magic that goes into making a movie, including storyboarding, acting, directing, lighting and special effects. Then, they’ll all shoot their own mini-film together. The amazing thing is that this little class is completely free of charge!
11. Visit a waterfall
Now that spring has almost sprung, a visit to and picnic at one of New Jersey’s many breathtaking waterfalls can be a lovely way to spend a March afternoon. Pack a lunch, dress for the weather and head out. Don’t forget the camera.
12. Go on a hike
It’s not freezing or snowing outside anymore (we hope), so go take a hike! Get your sturdy shoes on, pack some water bottles and snacks and get out into the woods with the kids at one of New Jersey’s best, most scenic hikes.
13. See treasures from the sea at a maritime museum exhibit
Got mini-sailors at home? They’ll love The Cure for Anything, a maritime-themed exhibit at Seton Hall University’s Walsh Gallery through March 11. Take them to peruse the artifacts, historical objects and contemporary art, all of which celebrates the 165th anniversary of the release of Moby Dick and looks at what draws people to the sea.
14. Listen to a nature story
Head to the Plainsboro Library on March 23 to hear stories about the wildlife that lives in Plainsboro. There will be artifacts and live animals to touch and a simple craft to make and take home.
15. Take a family bike ride
The weather is warming up, but it’s still cool enough to make bike riding comfortable. Gather the family together, pack up your gear and head to one of the beautiful bike trails in NJ to go exploring.
16. Browse the exhibits at the Princeton University Art Museum
It’s one of the world’s leading university museums, with more than 92,000 works of art. The calendar is packed with tours and family days. And it’s all completely free. What’s not to love?
17. Make an Easter craft from things you have around the house
Grab cotton balls, paper plates, colored construction paper, markers and pipe cleaners and make a cute Easter Bunny, using the plate as the face and body, the pipe cleaners as the whiskers, the cotton balls as the tail and the construction paper to cut out ears from, then draw in the eyes and nose.
18. Go on a late winter/early spring scavenger hunt in the backyard
Make up a family scavenger hunt you can do together right in the backyard, and include things like a robin sighting (it’s the first sign of spring, after all), acorns, snowdrops or crocuses (you can just take a picture so you don’t have to pick them) and pine cones.
19. Fly a kite
Windy March is the perfect time to dust off the kite in the closet and take it out to fly. Drive to a nearby park if you want to really let it soar (and if you feel like getting in a good run chasing after it) or stay in your own backyard, if you’d rather. Nothing screams the start of spring quite like flying a kite.
At this nine-acre living history farm, life goes on like it’s still the 1890s. Explore the barns and meet the farm animals (including a peacock) every single day, and don’t miss out on free weekend events, like blacksmith demos, shows and festivals. Travel tip: As if there’s not enough to do on the farm, it’s located in Holmdel Park, home to picnic areas, trails, a fishing pond and two playgrounds.