Explore art, culture, jazz, film, theater and more! Several kid-friendly museums are always gratis (or pay-what-you-wish), and tons more offer special free museum days. Here are some ideas. Exploring cool and out or the ordinary is one of our favorite free things to do with kids, so check out our list and get going! Please call ahead to confirm schedules and fees as they are subject to change.
Montclair Art Museum
3 S. Mountain Ave, Montclair, 973.746.5555, montclairartmuseum.org
Free First Thursday Nights at MAM every month from October through June, 5–9p.m., and enjoy an evening of free art and dynamic programming. Add-onexperiences - pay a special exhibition and children under 12 see it free. Kids’Creativity Center lets parents make a play date with art! Appreciate the full experience of Free First Thursday Night while your kids enjoy getting creative in the new Helen and Bill Geyer Art Studio.
WBGO KIDS Jazz Concert Series
Kids@wbgo.org, 973.643.4763, wbgo.org
Free WBGO Kids Jazz Concert Series brings world-renowned jazz musicians to concert halls and venues throughout Essex County. Hour-long concerts give young listeners the chance to discover the enjoyment of jazz, improvisation, and musical collaboration. Concerts held once a month on Saturdays at 1:30. Best for ages 7 – 11. Dates: March 4 @ Montclair Art Museum, April 8 @ NJPAC, 1 Center St, May 6th @ Newark
Zimmerli Art Museum
71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, 732.932.8201, zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu
The Zimmerli is a teaching museum with di-verse collections and dynamic programming which offer something for everyone.
Princeton University Art Museum
McCormick Hall, Princeton, 609-965-4677, artmuseum.princeton.edu
The Princeton University Art Museum seeks to bring the visual arts to the heart of the Princeton University experience for students, scholars, and visitors of all kinds as one of the world’s greatest comprehensive museums in an academic setting.
Jacobus Vanderveer House and Museum
3055 River Road, Bedminster, 908-396-6053, jvanderveerhouse.com
A great place to bring kids to learn history during the revolutionary war era.
Air Victory Museum
68 Stacy Haines Road, Lumberton 609-267-4488, www.airvictorymuseum.com
See dozens of airplanes, engines, missiles and bombs from the U.S. Air Force! Great museum for history fanatics! Children: $2
The Jersey Explorer Children’s
192 Dodd St., East Orange, 973.673.6900, jerseyexplorer.net
Children can play in the different exhibits such as, the time traveler, the tombs of the ancient kings, stargazer, main street village, and their off the page theater. Children 2 years and younger receive free admission.
Heritage Glass Museum
25 E. High St., Glassboro, 856.881.7468, hertiageglassmuseum.com
From antique glassworker tools and handblown glass to vintage bottles and paperweights, the Heritage Glass Museum in Glassboro features more than 200 years of South Jersey glass, and it won’t cost you anything to visit. The museum is located in the stately Hollybush Mansion, built in 1847.
The Center for Contemporary Art
2020 Burnt Mills Red, Bedminster Township, 908.234.2345, ccabedminster.org
Featuring a variety of contemporary art exhibits by emerging, established and underrepresented artists in a range of media, The Center for Contemporary Art is a thoughtprovoking destination for visual arts. Admission is free (with a suggested donation of $5), and classes for a cost are also available.
Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers
Rutgers University (Turnpike exit 9 to Rt. 18N), George and Hamilton St., New Brunswick, 848.932.7237
Housing more than 60,000 works of art ranging from ancient to contemporary art. Visit website for schedule of lectures, films, concerts, performances, and classes for children to adults. Free General Admission
Thomas Edison National Historical
211 Main Street, West Orange, 973.736.0550x11
Come visit the Laboratory Complex. Explore 20,000 square feet of additional exhibit space, including two floors of the main laboratory building which were previously closed to the public. Spend an hour or spend the day. The Laboratory is now a self guided experience so you can pick and choose what’s interesting to you. Entrance to Laboratory and Edison Estate $10, Under 16 years is Free. Park pass on a first come first serve basis.