Written by Brianna Gunter
Sometimes all it takes is a little planning to have a great family outing. When routine exploits just aren’t cutting it anymore, shake things up by exploring new terrain, taking in an exhibition, or visiting a landmark and learning a little something about our local history. Here are awesome events to attend and places to visit around town before fall ends. Best part? All of them can be done on one tank of gas!
330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton, NJ 08540
This orchard is open year-round, but it thrives in fall. Fall Family Fun Weekends began on Sept. 21 and run every Saturday and Sunday until Oct. 27. Terhune is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on these days.
Why Go? This is no typical orchard, though its main attractions do revolve around apples. Owned by the Mount family, Terhune has grown to also include an onsite farm store, winery, bakery, and plenty of farm animals, providing what is described as a “true farm experience” for young and old alike. “Fall is a busy time on the farm. Lots of families enjoy coming,” says co-owner Pam Mount, who points out that the fruits and vegetables in their store are always just harvested from their fields and orchards.
Insider Tip: Overall, food prices are reasonable, though not overly cheap. It’s a good idea to eat beforehand, though be forewarned that it will be hard to resist the fresh smell of Terhune’s pastries. Also, a note from Terhune to the adults in your group: The winery and tasting room is open!
Must Do! Get the apple cider donuts. Terhune is famous across Central New Jersey primarily for these delicious circles of dough, and a warm bag of them for the ride home is the perfect end to a fun day.
The Fine Print: Though it is an outdoor venue, leave Fido at home. No dogs are allowed, but you will get to see plenty of farm animals at the orchard barnyard.
205 West State St., Trenton
Take a break from apple picking and fall festivals with a trip to the state capital. New Jersey’s State Museum and Planetarium in downtown Trenton is considered by many to be one of the city’s best attractions, and its Trip Advisor and Facebook pages are filled with comments such as “Educational and enjoyable” and “Great for kids.”
Why Go? This multi-purpose museum of art, science and archaeology is a way to get out of the house while still spending a day inside where it’s warm rather than out in the brisk fall weather.
Insider Tip: Don’t be fooled by the seemingly low rates of the local parking garages or even the metered parking on West State Street. Drive around to the back of the museum (alongside Route 29), where you’ll find a free parking lot. It’s used by museum staff and workers in the state house (right next door), but it’s open to the public as well.
Must Do! According to museum curators, the natural history exhibit now contains some “never before seen specimens.” Dinosaurs, anyone?
The Fine Print: Teachers, veterans, and military members and their families always get free admission.
100 Clinton St., Camden
While a lot of fall family activities revolve around festivals and apple picking, a trip to the Battleship New Jersey is a unique, unforgettable experience that also teaches your kids a thing or two about U.S. history. Located on the Delaware River in Camden, this is the most decorated battleship in the nation.
Why Go? Children of all ages will enjoy this break from your usual family activities, and your little ones can climb around the ship’s ladders, try out the bunks and just generally experience sailor life.
Insider Tip: If you have a baby or a toddler, bring them along in a carry-on. Strollers are not allowed on board the ship. Also, be sure that you and your kids wear comfortable shoes with non-skid soles, because many surfaces are metal and are meant to be walked on with military boots. It can get pretty cold aboard the ship during the fall season, so bring a jacket even if the sun is out.
Must Do: You and your children can take turns sitting in the Admiral’s Chair and get a great view of the ship, the river and the skyline of nearby Philadelphia.
The Fine Print: Hours of operation through Nov. 3 are 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day. Check the website for ticket prices and dates and hours of operation after Nov. 3. Parking is available in the Waterfront Garage located on Delaware Avenue.