9 Great Family Day Trips for the Summer on a Jersey Teacher Budget

So you’ve got the whole summer ahead of you. It’s time for some quality hang time with the kids and some fun adventures. The summer break is something you and the family have been looking forward to for a long time. There’s just one challenge: adventures cost money, and, as a teacher, you’ve got to spend your pennies wisely. Fortunately, you don’t have to look very far for some great family activities that are reasonably priced, free, or discounted for teachers. Here are nine:

Cattus Island County Park – Toms River, NJ

In addition to the beautiful wildlife, Cattus Island, the largest park in Ocean County, is home to the Cooper Environmental Center, whose knowledgeable staff provides a hands-on experience for kids to learn about the surrounding ecosystem. Take part in the structured programs provided by the center, or simply explore the trails and playground and enjoy the view of the Barnegat Bay. Make sure to visit the Butterfly Garden – All activities and areas are open seven days a week and free of charge.

Crayola Experience – Easton, PA

A favorite destination for family fun, the Crayola Experience has 28 different crafts to keep kids engaged, including the opportunity to create a custom label for crayons. K-12 Teachers get free admission to the Crayola Experience, with additional benefits on Teacher Tuesdays, when additional members of your party get 25% off the price of admission.

Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Water Park – Wildwood, NJ

Morey’s Piers is an award-winning amusement destination perfect for family day trips. With a water park, rides for all ages, and the Art and Music Festival in July, there is something for everyone in the family. Visit on Saturday, August 26, for Educator Appreciation Day, where teachers get complimentary admission to the ride and water park for the day, and friends and family get a reduced rate.

Montclair Art Museum – Montclair, NJ

The Montclair Art Museum, featuring Native American and American Art, “link[s] art to contemporary life in a global context.” The 12,000+ works on display include paintings by Edward Hopper, Roy Lichtenstein, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Andy Warhol, and the museum’s Family Learning Lab invites you to create artwork inspired by Matisse. Open Wednesday through Sunday, the museum is located near the center of Montclair. Take advantage of the museum’s free parking and convenient location to check out the surrounding shops and restaurants.

In addition to the exhibits, the MAM is connected with the Yard School of Arts, which offers summer classes for all ages, including Parent and Child Ceramics, Jewelry Making, Life Drawing, Lego Animation, and Digital Photography. Enroll in a week-long program, or take a single class on a Saturday or Sunday!

Big Brook Fossil Area – Colts Neck, NJ

Check out the Big Brook Reserve for outdoor family fun. Hunt for shark’s teeth and Cretaceous fossils in the Ramanessin brook, and walk the creek beds and find remnants of prehistoric animals. Just bring a shovel and a screen, make sure to follow all regulations, and start sifting! When you return home, be sure to do some research with the help of NJFossils.net to identify your findings.

Teacher Week at the Beach – Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

Come to Jenkinson’s Boardwalk on July 18-20th and get free beach passes for you and a guest when you show your teacher ID or union card! Sponsored by Plymouth Rock – Teachers’ Insurance Plan of NJ, this is the second year for this event. Visit the check-in table to enter daily drawings or to pick up other free gifts for teachers and their guests. Click HERE to register.

Visit Your Local Library

Visiting the library has the potential to do even more than expose you to great new literature. Many libraries host events that give families the opportunity to connect with others in the community. The Ocean Country Library is throwing Summer Reading kick-off parties at a variety of locations, holding screenings of recent movies, and hosting knitting and crafting groups. Monmouth County hosts organized story-time for kids of all ages, yoga, and SAT tutorials for teens. Best of all, all activities are free.

Liberty Science Center – Jersey City, NJ

The Liberty Science Center is truly hands-on. Each of their four floors offers something new to explore, touch, smell, or climb inside of. The new Mythbusters exhibit, only available through September, offers something for fans and those unfamiliar to the show alike. Visitors will get a chance to participate, and view live demonstrations.  Special rates for teachers are available when you visit the box office in-person.

Sprayground at Dorbrook Recreation Area – Colts Neck, NJ

Visit the newly renovated water-enhanced playground at Dorbrook Recreation Area. The park is free and open to the public from 11am to 7pm on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Featuring new raining-leaves and cascading water, it is a perfect, affordable way for you and the kids to cool off this summer. Free and open to the public.

Written by Megan West


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