12 Things To Do With Family In Newark, Delaware

Last Updated on March 3, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Newark, Delaware offers a surprisingly diverse array of fun activities and attractions for families visiting the area. Only a short drive from major East Coast cities like Philadelphia and Baltimore, Newark provides a more laidback alternative for those looking to get away on a family vacation.

From exploring historic downtown to enjoying the natural beauty of White Clay Creek State Park, there are activities that will appeal to all ages and interests when spending time together as a family. This article outlines 12 of the top things to do with family in Newark, Delaware.

Go Sightseeing in Downtown Newark

As the home of the University of Delaware since 1833, Newark has no shortage of historic charm. Spend a morning or afternoon wandering the downtown area to take in the sights. Main Street is full of restaurants, cafes, and shops, many in buildings that have stood for over a century.

Stop at the Newark History Museum in the Old Town Hall to learn about the city’s long history. Afterward, snap some photos by the Newark Rail Station, the iconic Delaware Railroad monument, and the other public art installations scattered around downtown. Don’t miss the opportunity to treat the kids to warm cookies from the Milk & Honey Bake Shop, which first opened its doors in 2012.

Marvel at the Newark Natural History Museum

Conveniently located on the downtown Main Street, the Newark Natural History Museum offers family-friendly science exhibits focused on Delaware’s native plants and animals. Visitors can get up close and personal with mounted specimens in detailed dioramas as well as fossils from the region spanning over 500 million years of natural history.

Interactive displays allow kids to uncover secrets like real paleontologists with games challenging them to put together full dinosaur skeletons. Favorite parts for many families include the huge 8-foot-tall replica of a mastodon skeleton and the LIVE Animal Room featuring turtles, snakes, frogs and lizards native to First State. General admission ticket prices are under $10 per person making for an educational and budget-friendly outing.

Take a Hike at White Clay Creek State Park

Just minutes from downtown Newark, White Clay Creek State Park preserves over 3,000 acres of scenic natural landscapes perfect for enjoying the great outdoors as a family. Over 37 miles of hiking trails cater to all abilities, winding through meadows and forests surrounding the gorgeous White Clay Creek. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at spots like Bear Hole Trail’s overlook with views across the valley.

Lookout Tower on PennDel Trail rewards those who make the 1⁄2 mile climb up with panoramic views over nearby Pennsylvania. Families with kids will love the mostly flat, 1.9 mile Judge Morris Estate Trail that passes by the historic 1790s home of Judge Hugh Morris. Download the state park’s smartphone app for guided tours explaining sites of interest along the way.

Paddle on Middle Run

For a fun outdoor adventure the whole family can enjoy together, rent kayaks or canoes from the outfitters at White Clay Creek State Park. Paddling along Middle Run waterway allows you to experience lush views along the creek from the unique perspective of the water. Novice paddlers will enjoy the mostly calm sections running through picturesque farmland and hardwood forest.

More experienced kayakers can challenge themselves on rockier sections with small rapids. Guided eco-tours are available allowing families to leisurely learn about the habitat and wildlife found on along Middle Run, including sightings of heron, turtles, wood ducks and more. Pack a lunch to enjoy on shore at one of the resting spots with picnic tables.

Tour the Air Mobility Command Museum

Aviation enthusiasts young and old will find plenty to marvel over during a visit to the Air Mobility Command Museum located just a few minutes drive from downtown Newark. This free museum houses over 30 historic military aircraft used over the last century in active Air Force operations. Kids go crazy exploring the gigantic cargo planes and refueler jets they can climb inside.

Families can walk right up to aviation marvels like the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter or Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker to appreciate their immense size and learn about their impressive capabilities from knowledgeable docents. Interactive multimedia displays showcase vintage pilot gear and flight simulation games perfect for kids. Time your visit to catch one of the frequent guided walking tours or hands-on STEM education programs included with admission.

Catch a Show at Candlelight Dinner Theater

For evenings full of food, laughs and song, treat the family to an entertaining show at Candlelight Dinner Theater. Enjoy a delicious multi-course meal while watching Broadway-style productions featuring talented local performers. Current line-ups include family-friendly options like Disney’s Newsies as well as classic favorites like Beauty and the Beast.

Children’s Theater performances like Junie B. Jones appeal directly to younger audience members. With reasonable ticket prices including meals, Candlelight makes for an easy night out without all the fuss of cooking or cleaning. The all-ages entertainment ensures everyone in the family has fun.

Learn History at Old College & Newark Academy

History buffs will enjoy exploring a few of Newark’s storied academic institutions, established when the city was still just a small college town. A campus tour of the University of Delaware’s original Old College building (now known as Delaware Hall) allows visitors to see artifacts from over 300 years educating students.

Kids can check out the tiny dorm rooms students once lived in or try to find the secret passage hidden behind one fireplace. Similarly, the Newark Academy school offers tours showcasing centuries of preserved architecture and artwork. Docents explain alumni family trees tracing back to Founding Fathers and early scientific pioneers. Both tours provide plenty of Instagram-worthy photo ops too.

Bowl at Funtime America

For some family-friendly indoor fun, Funtime America offers bowling, skating, arcade games, laser tag and more all under one roof. With 40 lanes available, families can always jump right into bowling without a wait. Bumper lanes and tiny kid-sized balls make it easy for even little ones to knock over pins.

The arcade tempts with dozens of redemption games allowing kids to trade tickets won for bouncy balls, novelty erasers and cheap toys perfect as souvenirs. Teens will find more excitement zipping around the two-level laser tag arena for adrenaline-pumping games. Parents can relax with burgers and beer from the full-service bar while kids play.

Create Pottery Keepsakes at Newark Arts Alliance

Let the kids creativity run wild at a family pottery workshop at the Newark Arts Alliance studio and gallery space. Friendly instructors walk families through centering clay on the wheel, sculpting free-formed creations by hand as well as decorating pre-made pieces with personalized designs.

You can pick functional items like mugs and bowls or decorative sculptures like animals or figurines. The pieces then get fired overnight in the kiln so families can return the next day to collect art ready for gifting or displaying at home. If parents want some solo creative time, kids age 7 and up can join drop-off workshops to handbuild garden gnomes, monsters or other fun ceramic works.

See Exotic Species at the Elkton Zoo

Just across the Maryland border, the small Elkton Zoo packs over 100 species into its compact, thoughtfully-designed habitats ideal for easy family viewing. Families can safely see exotic animals like tigers, hyenas, lemurs and monkeys up-close from cleared walking paths past each enclosure.

Learning stations provide plenty of fascinating facts to share with curious kids. Unique zoo residents like the adorable Patagonian Cavy or massive American alligators offer something exciting even for experienced zoo-goers. Visitors rave over chances for respectful interactions like feeding leaves to gentle giraffes or watching the mischievous otters play. Tickets cost under $15 each while kids under 3 enter free, keeping outings affordable.

Sip Local Brews at Home Grown Café

While the kids enjoy Newark’s family attractions and activities, parents can sample the First State’s proud craft beer culture thanks to downtown’s Home Grown Café. With an ever-rotating tap list primarily focused on exceptional Delaware-based breweries, beer aficionados will discover new favorite IPAs, lagers, sours and more.

The from-scratch menu emphasizes organic, vegetarian fare like Impossible burgers satisfying both carnivores and herbivores. Kids will happily munch on crunchy Spielburgers or haystack sweet potato fries alongside tall glasses of fresh lemonade or hot chocolate. Sweet endings might feature the giant Toll House Pie perfect for sharing. In nice weather, request patio seating to watch Newark locals and university students going by.

Pick Fruit at Fifer Orchards

From late summer into fall harvest seasons, families can pick their own juicy, ripe apples straight from the orchard at Fifer Orchards. Wagon ride tours transport smiling visitors deep into the farm’s hundred acres of apple trees, peach trees and berry patches bursting with fresh flavor. Kids eagerly scramble to fill buckets with tasty treats liking snacking as they work.

Depending on timing, families may pick strawberries in June, cherries and blueberries in July, peaches and pears through August before apples dominate September and October outings. Back at the farm market, freshly baked fruit pies tempt for dessert later or as sweet souvenirs. Seasonal festivals hosted most weekends celebrate crops with live music, local artisans, lawn games and more farm fun.

Conclusion


With historic sites, scenic nature, family-friendly museums, outdoor adventures and plenty of kids’ activities, Newark truly caters to visiting families seeking entertainment. Nearby big cities may grab more attention, but Newark’s small town charm makes it surprisingly ideal for quality time enjoying a vacation together.

From active explorations downtown and along White Clay Creek to live performances at venues favorites with locals, there are diversions here to engage family members of any age.

Whether trying new experiences like paddle tours and pottery workshops or revisiting classic favorites like bumper bowling and pick-your-own orchards, Newark brings families closer through shared adventures and simple joys.

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