By Liz Johnson
Keeping kids busy during summer vacation can be time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be costly. Below are a few ideas for occupying kids that are easy on the wallet.
Free Ice Cream
Where: JJ Scoops, 1 Main Street, Clinton
When: June 21st from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Investors Savings Bank will be handing out free ice cream coupons that can be redeemed at JJ Scoops in Clinton.
Concert Under the Stars
Where: Deer Path Park, 120 W. Woodschurch Road, Flemington
When: Thursdays, June 27 through August 15 at 7 p.m.
Now in its 43rd year, this free annual summer program is the perfect family-friendly event. Set up on the lawn and let kids roam the playgrounds that surround the music program. For more information, click here.
Where: Lambertville-New Hope Bridge, Bridge Street, Lambertville
When: First Friday of the month, 9 p.m.
These Friday night shows have become synonymous with summer. The best place to watch the display is the Lambertville-New Hope Bridge, although just about anywhere along the river will do.
Where: Hunterdon County libraries
When: Various times throughout the summer
From intergalactic art to cat and caterpillar crafts, Hunterdon County Library system is hosting a number of free arts and craft classes for kids throughout the summer. Click here for a complete listing.
Fun Science Projects
Learn to make a marshmallow solar oven or a deep space antenna. Hunterdon County Library is hosting numerous hands-on science programs for kids that are anything but dry and dull. Click here for a complete listing.
For more reasons to rediscover your local library this summer, click here.
Outdoor Rollerblading or Roller Skating
All you need is a pair of skates and a trip to a local park that has a paved walking trail. For example, Alexandria Township, 1 Jerimiah Lane, Pittstown, has a 1.1 mile paved loop. Kingwood Township Park, 200 Union Road, Frenchtown also has a 1-mile paved loop.
For more on our favorite parks and playground in Hunterdon County, check out this article.
Delaware River Tubing
All it really takes to tube down the Delaware is a rubber inner tube or sturdy flotation device. If you have one or two on hand, there are plenty of access points along Route 29 to launch and get out, including several boat launches in Kingwood and Delaware townships and Bulls Island State Park just outside Stockton.
Watch Airplanes Take Off
There’s something exhilarating about watching an airplane rumble down a runway before it launches into flight. Hunterdon County is home to several small airports including Alexandria Field, Sky Manor Airport, both in Alexandria Township, and Solberg Airport, 39 Thor-Solberg Road in Readington Township, which is hosting a free annual Solstice Celebration on June 29 at 4 p.m. that includes hot air balloons, face painting and a cookout by the Kiwanis Club.
Pick-Your-Own Farm Visit
From berries to apples and peaches, there’s nothing better than a piece of ripe fruit pulled fresh from the vine or tree. Hunterdon County has plenty of pick-your-own farms. For a complete listing visit www.pickyourown.org/NJnw.htm. Note, that while the picking is free, there’s likely a charge for the fruit you want to take home.
Anyone under the age of 16 can fish without a license in New Jersey. Many of the creeks and streams throughout the county are stocked with trout. They’re also a great place to take a dip on a hot summer night.
August is the month for 4-H fairs, including those in Somerset, Bucks counties. Hunterdon County’s 4-H fair will be held Aug. 21 – Aug. 25th at the South County Park, 1207 Route 179 Lambertville. For more information, visit www.hunterdoncountyfair.com. While the fairs are free to enter, there’s often a nominal charge for parking. Food and amusements also have a cost.
Watch a Baseball Game
Just about any night of the week there’s a game being played on the numerous fields throughout the county. While it may not be the same experience as watching a professional or semi-professional team, the game is America’s favorite pastime. For a list of fields in the county, check out Hunterdon Happenings Day at the Park listing here.
Gaze at the Stars
Raritan Valley Community College has a planetarium on 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg that is hosting several free events this summer, such as Astronomy Day on July 20. Hunterdon County Library will also be hosting an inflatable planetarium.
Registering at kidsbowlfree.com and get up to two free games of bowling per day, per child. Frenchtown’s West Hunterdon Lanes on Route 12 in Frenchtown is one of the participating alleys.
Shoe rental may be required unless you have designated bowling shoes.
Visit a Museum
Hunterdon County Library offers free passes to library card holders to several area museums and discounted passes to waterparks and Crayola in Easton, Pa. Visit www.hclibrary.us/community/museum.htm for more information.