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Free activities in New Jersey

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Free family fun

Forget the old adage “You get what you pay for.” At these family destinations, you get a whole lot of fun for nothing. Here are our top picks for free family activities in New Jersey.

The Center for Contemporary Art

Immerse yourself in art at the Center for Contemporary Art (formerly known as the Somerset Art Association). Here, the whole family can enjoy free admission to exhibitions of contemporary art that will inspire visitors of all ages. Exhibits change regularly and feature everything from abstract watercolor landscapes to realistic oil paintings. The center offers professionally taught workshops and classes for children and adults. Summer camps and art-themed birthday parties are also available.

Location: Bedminster, New Jersey

Website: http://ccabedminster.org/

The Cape May County Park and Zoo

The Cape May County Park and Zoo has been delighting generations of visitors with free family fun since 1975. While it may not be the biggest zoo you've ever been to, Cape May is home to 250 different species of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles, including lions, tigers, zebras and giraffes. The zoo is located within Cape May County Park Central, which offers plenty of beautiful spots for picnicking, paths for walking and biking, playgrounds, and even a disc golf course.

Location: Cape May Court House, New Jersey

Website: http://www.capemaycountygov.net/Cit-e-Access/webpage.cfm?TID=5&TPID=442

Howell Living History Farm

Have you always wanted to experience life on a farm? Here's your chance! Free admission to the Howell Living History Farm lets you get an up close look at farm activities like sheep shearing, maple sugaring, bee keeping, corn planting, hog slopping, wheat harvesting and more. Of course these events are all seasonal, so check the calendar of events before planning your visit. Support this local farm by stocking up on products made right on the premises, like stone-ground wheat flour, maple syrup and honey. These make great gifts for out-of-state friends.

Location: Titusville, New Jersey

Website: http://www.howellfarm.com/

Marine Mammal Stranding Center

If you've ever seen a sea animal washed ashore, it can be a heartbreaking sight. Fortunately, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center has rehabilitated thousands of such animals over the years. Tour the center's museum to get an up close look at the rescued animals and learn more about their mission. Donations are welcome.

Location: Brigantine, New Jersey

Website: http://www.marinemammalstrandingcenter.org/

Sea Girt Lighthouse

Visit this historic lighthouse on Sundays between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., April through November, for a free guided tour. Explore all the rooms within, and learn about the men, women and children who lived in the lighthouse and how they protected the shores since 1896. Lighthouse gift items are for sale, with proceeds supporting the nonprofit organization that operates the lighthouse.

Location: Sea Girt, New Jersey

Website: http://www.seagirtlighthouse.com

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