Make the Most of Those Summer Nights in North Jersey

Hot air balloon, NJ
••• Scenes from the Quickchek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning. Anthony Quintano / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Now that school’s out and the summer’s finally here, you may be looking for some fun family activities in the area.  With the sun setting later, there are plenty of things to do at night for all ages.  From open air events to indoor entertainment, here’s a list of some exciting ideas for your summer nights.

Summer in Northern New Jersey?  You know what that means.  It’s New Jersey State Fair time!  Bring the whole family to the Meadowlands for a good old fashioned carnival, complete with a hypnotist and high dive show included in the price of admission.

  The fair boasts dozens of rides perfect for young children as well as “spectacular” and “thrill” rides for adults and older children.  The fair opens before sunset, but really comes to life after it gets dark.  For a change of pace from your local fireworks, see the special Independence Day Fireworks displays on July 3rd and 4th.  Now in its 30th year, this local tradition will create many smiles again this season.

Address: 1 MetLife Stadium Drive, East Rutherford, NJ 07073

Hours and admission vary by night.  Visit the NJ Fair website for detailed information.  The fair runs from June 23rd to July 10th.

When is the last time you went rollerblading?  Florham Park Roller Rink is a classic rink that blasts 90s pop hits and turns up the lasers.  Skate the night away on a pair of rented blades or skates, and when you want to take a break, try your luck winning candy from the claw machine right off the rink.

  Pretzels, pizza, soda, and other snacks are available in the seating area adjacent to the rink.  You can also try to beat the high scores of classic arcade games in this retro paradise.  You might work up a sweat getting down on the rink, but the air conditioning makes rollerblading at Florham Park Roller Rink a great indoor activity for the summer months, especially enticing because of its affordable group rates.

Address: 192 Ridgedale Avenue, Florham Park, NJ 07932 

Hours: 2 hour sessions vary by day; visit the Florham Park Roller Rink website for up to date information

Admission:

Afternoon Admission: $6.50

Evening Admission: $7.50

Skate Rental:  $4.00

Looking for a family event that’s out of this world?  Head over to the Warren County Farmers’ Fair and Hot Air Balloon Festival!  This unique event offers visitors the opportunity to watch nightly hot air balloon launches and races as well as hop aboard their own tethered balloon ride.  Equestrian shows, farmers’ markets, and baking contests abound at this fair.  See a down and dirty demolition derby, and then get creative at the crafts tables.  There are races and contests for children, teens, and adults.  For the littlest visitors, there’s even a baby crawl contest!  Watch the balloons dot the sky from a vantage point on the field as soon the winds die down at night—or, if you’re feeling adventurous, soar above the fair on your very own balloon ride.

Address:1350 Strykers Road, Phillipsburg, NJ 08865

Hours: July 30th-August 6th, 2016; visit the fair and festival website  for more detailed information on all events

Admission: Many activities are free, including balloon watching; visit here for event prices

New Jersey is home to not one but two hot air balloon festivals. And you thought Albuquerque was the balloon king! The QuickChek Festival of Ballooning is held every July in Readington, NJ - very worth the drive to almost-central Jersey.

Lights, camera, action!  Get your picnic blankets ready and pick up some popcorn at one of Northern New Jersey’s premier outdoor movie screenings.  Several towns offer regular screenings to anyone interested in showing up.  Connect with your community as you view family friendly movies under the stars.  Movie start times vary by location, but usually start once it’s sufficiently dark outside.  Arrive before 8:30 to make sure you don’t miss the movie, but it doesn’t hurt to arrive earlier to get the best seats you can.

Summer Outdoor Movies:

Screen on the Green

Address: 365 Broad Street, Summit, NJ 07901

Hours: dance party at 7:30 pm; movies at dark (every Thursday night through July and August)

Admission: free

Movies in the Park:

Address: Riverside Gardens Park, Red Bank, NJ 07701

Hours: Tuesday nights through July and August

Admission: free

Films in Van Vorst:

Address: Van Vorst Park, 257 Montgomery Street, Jersey City, 07302

Hours: Wednesday evenings, June 8th through September 7th

Admission: free (and free popcorn!)

Movies Under the Stars:

Address: Pier A Park, 100 Sinatra Drive, Hoboken, NJ 07030

Hours: Wednesdays, June 8th through August 17th (Movies begin at (9:00 pm in June and July and 8:15 pm in August.)

Admission: free 

Bring out your inner knight at Medieval Times.  If you’re looking to beat the heat, come to this incredible castle setting for a show and meal that’s sure to entertain.  Children will love rooting for their favorite knights in a live jousting match, and adults are sure to be riveted by the dramatic storylines.  Dinner is included in the price of a live show, so attending a show at night is a great way to mix up the traditional family night out to eat.  Another perk of coming in the summer?  Medieval Times is offering reduced ticket prices for both the 4th of July (on tickets for shows from now through July 5th) and “summer savings” steals (on tickets purchased for a limited time, but valid through 12/31/16).  

Address: 149 Polito Avenue, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071

Hours and Admission: Visit the Lyndhurst Medieval Times website for daily show times and special savings on show tickets.