family,  inspiration

Family Fun at the 9th Annual North Jersey D.A.R.E. Carnival

It’s been another week of medical visits for me towing lil man along including today. I feel bad having to take him along, but obviously leaving him home alone isn’t an option.

To make up for it, my hubs came home early from work yesterday, took lil man and I out to eat and headed to the Carnival. It was a great way to end the day and start off the weekend.

The Carnival we went to is the 9th Annual North Jersey D.A.R.E. Carnival held at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ. Basically, bring your family for a fun time at an old-fashioned carnival and help your community at the same time. Every entry fee is donated to the D.A.R.E. NJ program. If you’ve never heard of the program, here’s a blurb from their website:

“D.A.R.E. (Drugs Awareness Resistance and Education) New Jersey works with local law enforcement and the educational system to bring fun and educational material about the personal and social consequences of substance abuse and violence.”

Rides include the usual fare: ferris wheel, roller coaster, “twisters”, swings, potato sack slide, etc. You’ll find loads of carnival games.

And no carnival is complete without cotton candy or funnel cake.

The entrance fee is $3.00. Children under 4 are free. Once you’re in the carnival you can walk around, play the games, eat or buy tickets to go on the rides. The games are all “amusement only”. So, basically, you pay a flat fee and get a prize regardless whether you win or not. It’s a way to encourage people to play without the fear of wasting money. Fun for the kids too so there’s no disappointment of going home without a prize. Some of the games are $3, $5 or $10 depending on prize size.

Many of the rides had a minimum height requirement of 36″, so unfortunately, lil man was 1″ short. Luckily, the one ride he was attracted to allowed a 30″ height requirement with an adult. The Wiggly Wurm – he absolutely loved it. The only other ride he would have been able to go on was the merri-go-round, but had no interest.

There’s also a free petting zoo. If you want to feed the animals you need to pay for the feed. I couldn’t believe it, but they had a giraffe. I’ve never been so close to one before and even got to touch his nose. Looked like most of the animals there were young as they all fit under a tent. There were alpacas, a zebra, parrots and lemurs, just to name a few.

Even though lil man couldn’t go on most of the rides, it was still fun just to walk around, watch lil man oooh and aww at everything, play the carnival games and just have a nice family night out. I would definitely recommend it.

Opening hours:

  • May 31st – June 10, 2012
  • Monday – Friday at 5 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday at noon

Park at the outside lot from Lord and Taylor right off Route 4 East.

Directions to the Westfield Garden State Plaza are here.


  • Mary C. Nasser

    Your photos of the carnival are wonderful! You really captured the festive spirit.
    And for such a good cause as D.A.R.E.

    So nice to meet you through BYW 2.0!
    All the best,

    • YippyMomma

      Thank you so much Mary! Love your work and the photos of your work on your blog. We had a lot of fun. Lil man didn’t want to leave. Lol. Looking forward to seeing you in BYW & interacting.

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