FAMILY FUN IN NEW JERSEY: April is a bit of a milestone month here in New Jersey. While spring officially started in March, it doesn’t start to feel like it until this month, when snow falls and freezing cold weather start to become distant memories.
Although it is not the warmest month of the year, April is still quite mild compared to winter. Temperatures start to move towards high 50s to 60’s F (approx. 15-18C) during the day but remain a little chilly at night, so you may still need a jacket. But it’s nothing that New Jerseyans can’t handle.
The best thing about this time of the year is that you can actually get outdoors and enjoy yourself without weather extremes. April is the month that many organizations closed during the winter period, reopen for business. With the weather turning a bit milder, there are many more activities available to do.
Top Ten Things to do in New Jersey in April 2013
1. Attend the Cherry Blossom Festival at Branch Brook Park in Belleville/Newark, NJ
As one of the big events on the New Jersey calendar, this shouldn’t be missed. While Washington DC is known for its cherry blossom feast, New Jersey has its very own natural beauty pageant here in Newark. And believe it or not, Branch Brook Park has more cherry trees than Washington!
So forget about D.C. and check this out. The festival runs for two weeks from April 6th-20th. The big highlight though is Bloomfest Day, April 14th (runs between 11am-4pm). Aside from the beautiful scenery, there is lots on, including stage performances, arts and crafts, cultural demonstrations and children’s’ activities. The Cherry Blossom Festival is definitely one for the calendar. Information on the park’s location can be found on the Branch Brook Park Alliance website.
2. Join in the Earth Day celebrations on April 20th
- Earth day celebrations at Essex Environmental Center include several activities such as [live honeybee demonstration, nature walks, a composting demonstration, canoeing, kayaking, container gardening, fishing, music, and more]
- Hunterdon County Parks and Recreation are holding Earth Day celebrations at Deer Path Park located at 120 West Woodschurch Road in Flemington (Readington Township) on April 20th at 10.30am-4.00pm.
- A ‘Breakfast with the Birds’ at the Hackettstown State Fish hatchery will start the Earth day celebrations at Hackettstown held by the Centenary College of New Jersey. Other activities near the College grounds run until 3.30pm.
- In Vernon, located in Northern New Jersey, Earth Day celebrations will be held on April 28th starting at 11am, at Heaven Hill Farm on Route 94. ‘EarthFest’ is a multifaceted event that includes a range of popular activities such as a spectacular butterfly release, live displays of honeybees and raptors. Children will go wild!
You can also:
- Go for an Earth Day Walk on April 21st at 1pm at the New Jersey Botanical Gardens. Meet at the Carriage House.
- Party for the Planet at Jenkinsons Aquarium at Point Pleasant Beach on April 20th 1:00-4:00pm.
- Find several other Earth Day activities around the state at New Jersey Family website.
3. Savor some culture: take in a play, some classical music or the ballet
- Shakespeare’s play ‘The Winter’s Tale’ is being performed by the Actors Shakespeare Company from April 5th -21st at West Side Theater at 285 West Side Avenue, Jersey City.
- The Boston Symphony Orchestra is performing at New Jersey Performing Arts Centre on April 6th at 8:00pm.
- Swan Lake is being performed by the Russian National Ballet at the State Theatre in New Brunswick on April 13that 8:00pm.
4. Visit Cape May to enjoy the Spring Festival
Cape May is an exciting place to visit, as there is always something on! This month the Cape May Spring Festival is on from April 26th – May 5th. While you’re there, you can check out the famous Cape May Lighthouse, the Zoo and Nature Center (opens April 15th)
5. Take the kids to the circus
The Piccadilly Circus will be playing at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center at 97 Sunfield Avenue, Edison, on April 18th at 4.30pm and again at 7.30pm. Tickets can be purchased from the Piccadilly Circus site.
6. Go to the Lambertville Shad Festival
It’s fish eating time in Lambertville this month at the 32nd Annual Shad Festival on April 27th-28th. It’s the traditional time here for catching ‘shad’, a member of the American herring family that moves into fresh water such as the Delaware River, to spawn at the beginning of spring. Aside from fish, this event showcases some of the region’s finest arts and crafts, with family entertainment and food available as well.
The Lambertville Shad Festival runs from 12.30pm-5.30pm each day and admission is free.
7. Watch 1000 Irish dancers compete at the annual Feis at Wildwoods
If you haven’t had enough of all things Irish, then come on down to the annual Feis Irish dancing competition on April 20th at the Wildwoods Convention Center. Competitions run from 10.00 am- 5.30pm.
8. Visit the Great Falls at Paterson in Passaic County
Of course, Niagara Falls is better known but the Great Falls at Paterson in Passaic County is the second highest waterfall in the eastern USA. With New Jersey’s consistent rain, the Great Falls, located on the Passaic River, never seems to run dry and is particularly spectacular after heavy rainfall such as Hurricane Irene. The Great Falls State Park area is open on weekdays between 9-4pm and on weekends between 12-4pm.
9. Get on over to Red Bank or Summit for a Street Fair and Craft Show
Street Fairs are a regular event in many of New Jersey’s townships throughout the year. In April, the townships of Red Bank (April 14th) and Summit (April 28th) will play host to these fun events.
10. Take the kids to meet spring’s newest animal additions at Fosterfields Living Historical Farm
New Jersey has luckily, some great working farms that are able to be enjoyed by the public. One of the best of these is Fosterfields in Morris County. Closed normally during the winter break from November to March, Fosterfields Living Historical Farm is reopening on Tuesday, 2nd April with a special celebration. If you miss this though, there is another chance on 13th April 1:00pm-3:00pm to see spring’s adorable little newcomers.
SOME OTHER SUGGESTIONS
There are plenty of things to keep you busy this month but a couple of extra suggestions include:
- Go to Historic Smithville, Absecon (near Atlantic City),on April 20th for the British Car Show
- Visit Wildwoods for the Sensational Spring Concert Weekend on April 26th -27th
- Pick up some concert tickets for Fleetwood Mac (playing 24th April) or Rihanna (playing April 28th) who are performing this month at the Prudential Center Newark.
- Let your hair down at the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival on April 5th – 6th
- Celebrate 1913 & American Art in the Armory Show: Enjoy a special small-group gallery talk on April 9th, about the current exhibition, ‘The New Spirit: American Art in the Armory Show, 1913’ with the MAM chief curator at Montclair Art Museum. Reservations are required.
Have an amazing April!