NEW JERSEY - It took a while for Father's Day to be embraced by the nation. Father's Day did not become a thing until 1972.
Moms, on the other hand, had a day designated in their honor 58 years earlier. It took a bit, but eventually, Father's Day was set for the third Sunday in June. Father's Day is June 16 and there are an abundant of fun, family-friendly ways to celebrate dad this weekend in the Garden State from country music to train rides to the boardwalk.
Here are some highlights for Father's Day weekend 2019:
- Casino Pier in Seaside Heights is letting dads ride for free with a paying child 16 years of age or younger on Sunday, June 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The free pass does not include the Go-Karts, Skyscraper, SkyCoaster and Sky Ride.
- Whippany Railway Museum is chugging along on June 16 for Father's Day train rides. Trains depart at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets are $19 for adults and $14 for kids ages 12 and under for club seating. Caboose seating is $16 for adults and $11 for kids under 12. Babies one and under are free for either seating.
- Dads are free at Wild West City in Stanhope with a paying child June 15 through June 16. This western theme park brings Dodge City, Kansas in the 1880s to life.
- If dad loves country music, head to Country Fest at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford. Doors open at 2:30 p.m., but headliners don't take the stage until 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $30 at the door. Featured performers include Thompson Square, the Jason Wicks Band and Lauren Davidson.
- For dads that love food trucks, the ninth annual Cultural Festival and Food Truck Rally will be at Mercer County Park in West Windsor on June 15 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The day features food, music, dancing and art.
- The Spring Lake Irish Festival takes over Third and Morris Avenues on June 15 from noon to 5 p.m. This always popular event features food, music, Irish step-dancing, a beer and wine garden and children's activities.
- Enjoy the great outdoors with dad on a Father's Day hike. Cora Hartshorn Arboretum in Short Hills is hosting guided hikes on June 16 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Hikes are $5 for members and $8 for non-members. Come dressed for a hike and remember to bring water.
- For dads who love brunch, Alstede Farms in Chester is serving a Father's Day brunch at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. The 90-minute brunch includes a scenic hayride along with brunch. Reservations are required and brunch is $29.99 for adults and $19.99 for kids 12 and under.
- Golfers may want to head to TopGolf in Edison. This popular Dad's Day destination offers golf games for all skill levels, food, entertainment, a kids zone and more. Reservations can be made online for a $50 fee. The fee does not go towards any activities or food purchased. If you are planning to go on Father's Day, arrive early. TopGolf opens at 8 a.m. on Sundays.
- Jersey Shore loving dads get free admission to the Jenkinson's Aquarium, mini golf, funhouse, rides and Adventure Lookout on June 16 along with a paid child's admission.
- Run a 5K with dad in New Jersey to celebrate Father's Day. There are a host of races across the state on Father's Day weekend.
- If dad is a movie buff, "Men In Black International" is out this weekend. "The Secret Life of Pets 2" debuted last weeked and offers a family-friendly option for families with younger kids.