Inventive outings and indoor playgrounds: winter family fun in New Jersey.

  • Indoor Family Attractions in New Jersey

Feeling (cabin) feverish? Whether you're a parent, pop-pop, granny or nanny, winter can be a l-o-n-g season when you're in charge of entertaining the kids. Ta-da! New Jersey to the rescue! The state famous for old-fashioned summer fun offers plenty of wonderful winter play dates for 2016­—from family-friendly museums to outdoor activities for all ages. Here are five cool suggestions to fire up your winter calendar.

1. Escape to the tropics—without going far.

You may be feeling the heat of too much hibernation, but baby, it's cold outside. It's easy to warm things up at Adventure Aquarium on the Delaware River Camden Waterfront. First stop: Caribbean Currents, which features vibrantly colored reef fish, exotic sea turtles and so much more in 15 warm-water exhibits. Be sure to giddy-up and go see the seahorses, too!

2. Run around an indoor playground.

Burn off that excess energy at indoor play spaces like Imagine That!!! and iPlay America, or ignite light bulb moments at Liberty Science Center, a playground for future scientists and innovators. Go exploring with Diego and Dora before the exhibit closes on January 24, dive into the ever-popular Touch Tunnel, or test your balance on the new Infinity Climber, heralded as a "thrilling climbing gym for the 21st century."

3. Sample something new.

The kids will ditch the TV and the devices in a flash when they hear about these New Jersey outings. Like sledding? Then try snow tubing at Mountain Creek or Campgaw Mountain, and you'll see why it's one of fastest growing winter activities. Not only is it affordable, it eliminates that tiresome trudge back up the hill. (And did we mention it's a blast?) Fond of flapjacks? Learn about pancake's favorite pal at Tenafly Nature Center or go to Discovery Saturdays at Reeves-Reed Arboretum.

4. Sneak some learning in.

Do you hide cauliflower and other veggies in the kids' mac &cheese? Good job, you! Now take that stealth behavior and apply to your family outing. The New Jersey State Museum is a fun way to ensure the recommended daily allowance of learning. Not only is it four museums in one, it's free for kids 12 and under. Think your kids are too young to appreciate the museum's exhibits on fine art, cultural history, natural history and archaeology? Head over to the brand-new Discovery Den, designed for children 8 and under.

5. Celebrate the timeless tales of childhood.

New Jersey's theaters present an anthology of classic tales for all ages this winter. Puppets bring Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar to life at South Orange Performing Arts Center and the State Theatre on February 6 and 15 respectively. Imagination takes the stage at the Mayo Performing Arts Center with Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy on March 6. The acclaimed Salzburg Marionettes perform Alice in Wonderland at McCarter Theatre on February 27 and 28. And while not a story, everyone who's young at heart will go for the "unbubblievable" Mega Bubble Show, coming to the Count Basie Theatre February 21.

For more family fun ideas to beat the winter doldrums, download a free NJ travel guide or sign up for e-news from New Jersey Travel and Tourism.