Given up yet? If you’re like the parent researching and writing this story, probably. Definitely. Still, it’s nice to know what’s going on out there, even if you’ll just let your kid binge Season 1 of The InBESTigator for the eighth time this week. (Really, it’s better than those Minecraft YouTubers he didn’t turn off all July.)
If a day off were to come your way — or a weekend day free of endless errands — you might want to spend it culling sunflowers in South Jersey, touring Hogwarts, I mean, Fonthill Castle, spending a full six hours at Storybook Land, lolling about Meadowbrook (be sure to book ahead), or, if you’re feeling a bit less ambitious, maybe signing your fam up for an hour learning about turtles and tortoises. Or not. Sigh.
8 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Friday–Sunday, free, check COVID-19 safety guidelines at hillcreekfarms.com before you go (all ages)
Mullica Hill’s Hill Creek Farms celebrated its grand reopening last weekend with water ice, live music, $1 dogs, apple fritters, barrel train rides, and an entry fee with a $15 credit toward you-pick sunflowers or you-pick tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Other days, free entry means outdoor time among the cornstalks and pies to go. Before you know it, apple-picking time will be here.
10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily (10 tours per day), $8–$15 (5 & under free), tours by reservation only at mercermuseum.org (all ages)
The guides at Fonthill in Doylestown don’t wear prefect badges, but once you’re inside Henry Mercer’s quirky concrete castle, with its endless tiles, mismatched doors, and 33 stairwells, it’s easy to feel like you’re in Hogwarts. The inside of the concrete, 200-window structure is available to guided tours for groups of five exclusively. But the grounds are open and free for socially distanced picnics and play. Giant squid not included.
11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday, $27–$30, reserve online at storybookland.com or just show up (ages 3 and up)
That trip to Disney may be on the back burner. In the meantime, South Jersey’s charming, 65-year-old amusement park, perfect for ages 3 to 8, is an affordable, accessible substitute — without the crowds or commotion of nearby boardwalk rides. There were never long lines for Storybook Land joyrides like Bubbles the roller coaster, the antique cars, and the teacups. And, now, with 50% capacity, the tree-lined kiddie oasis in Egg Harbor Township is even easier to enjoy.
9–11:30 a.m. & 1–3:30 p.m. Wednesday–Saturday, free, by reservation only at phsonline.org (all ages)
Tickets are free — but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to get — for Montco’s version of Longwood. Since reopening this month, the 25-acre horticultural destination in Jenkintown has been booking a few weeks in advance. Kids will find puppy, owl, and lizard topiaries to delight them, fountains and pools to splash in, and an amazing, affordable garden shop — run, like the rest of the place, by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
1–2 p.m. Wednesday, free, registration required at hawkmountain.org (ages 5 and up)