Photo Credit:  John Newman, Skyhook,1998, steel, stone, epoxy foam, epoxy resin, cable, wood, paint, 240 x 300 x 156 inches, Grounds For Sculpture, Gift of The Seward Johnson Atelier, © Artist or Artist’s Estate, photo: David Michael Howarth Photography


You don't have to travel far to give your kids some of the coolest and culturally-rich experiences of their lives. Head to any of the lovely towns in the Princeton-Mercer region and have a family playcation you'll never forget. Choose your own adventure from the options below.

1. Trenton Thunder

Based in Trenton, this minor league baseball team plays at the Trenton Thunder Ballpark, which offers stunning views of the Delaware River. In addition to the baseball games, the park also hosts a variety of family-friendly events throughout the year, including fireworks shows, movie nights, and concerts.

2. Delaware and Raritan (D&R) Canal State Park

Instead of the ballpark, visit D&R Canal State Park, a 70-mile-long state park that follows the path of the Delaware and Raritan Canal. With several miles of biking and hiking trails, as well as fishing and boating opportunities, the kids will love exploring this outdoor wonderland.

3. Sky Zone Trampoline Park
The Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Hamilton Township is a great place for kids to burn off some energy. They'll have the freedom to run, jump and play on a unique mix of attractions, including Ninja Courses, the Toddler Zone, springy Air Courts, Drop Zones, and incredible zip lines that send riders soaring across the park.

4. Terhune Orchards
Kids can pick their favorite fruit and pet some friendly farm animals at Terhune Orchards, a 250-acre sustainable family-owned farm in Princeton. Mom and Dad will have fun when visiting the winery and farm store for some of their own delights.

5. Grounds For Sculpture
This 42-acre sculpture park is a great place for kids to explore and learn about art. With over 270 sculptures from contemporary artists, it's a visual feast for everyone in the family. After you take in the sights, have an actual feast at Rat’s Restaurant, named for the beloved character Ratty from the classic children’s storybook "The Wind in the Willows."

6. Old Barracks Museum
This museum in Trenton is a great way for kids to learn about New Jersey's history through exhibits, tours, and reenactments that bring the state's colonial past to life.

7. Watershed Nature Center
The Watershed Nature Center in Pennington offers educational programs and nature trails where children can learn about the local wildlife and ecology while enjoying the outdoors.

8. Mercer County Park
This adventure land encompasses over 2,500 acres across the townships of West Windsor, Hamilton, and Lawrence. From water sports to rope climbing courses to athletic fields, there's something for every kid to enjoy here. Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes has said that the county is "constantly looking for ways to attract new users to our park system and stay on the cutting edge of outdoor recreation offerings."

9. McCarter Theatre Center

For more interactive and enriching experiences, head to McCarter Theatre Center. Its educational programs include after-school, in-school, student matinees, and audience engagement programs that foster a supportive and creative environment where kids are free to explore, play and develop their unique artistic voices.

10. Mercer County Stables
This 243-acre facility has marked trails for bird watching, walking, hiking, and horseback riding that lead to Rosedale Park and Mercer Meadows via the Lawrence Hopewell Trail. Kids ages 12 and older can join the adults for a 45-minute guided trail ride around the property.

11. NJ Fish & Wildlife

Got a little angler on your hands? Sign them up for the annual Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Youth Fishing Challenge, a free statewide event that Mercer County takes part in to promote fishing among youths and their families.

Regardless of how you spend your time, the splendor and history of the Princeton-Mercer Region will leave you and your family with memories that will last a lifetime.