The holiday season has finally arrived! It’s time for festive shows, visits with Santa Claus and spectacular light displays. All the hustle and bustle is great fun but it can also be a strain on the wallet. We’ve rounded up 25 free events taking place in New Jersey this time of year, so you can relax and enjoy some stress-free seasonal fun with your family. And to receive the scoop on wonderful activities all year long, subscribe to the Mommy Poppins New Jersey newsletter.
Westchester's Ridge Hill is once again teaming up with DreamWorks Animation to take families on an Adventure to Santa with the help of Shrek and his pals. My family and I visited when the experience debuted in Yonkers last year, and we're delighted it's returning for the 2015 holiday season.
Prior to DreamWorks' interactive experience, I had never taken my kids to see Santa. It's not that my family doesn't enjoy Christmas. We love looking at decked-out houses and decorating our own tree—all that good stuff. It just so happens that my kids have never been keen on characters; from Elmo to Mickey, they turn away from all of them, and whenever we pass Santa in the mall or an event, they never want to meet him.
However, when I heard about this unique holiday experience, I had to check it out. I figured even my character-shunning kids might enjoy going on an immersive journey to find Santa, with Shrek and friends leading the way. And, since everybody hates lines, I was thrilled to hear that, unlike Macy's Santaland and other Kris Kringle spots, you can book your North Pole Adventure time slot in advance online to cut down on wait times!
My kids really enjoyed the experience, and we have some important tips to know before you go, especially if you're making the trip from NYC or upstate.
Here comes Fall! As much as I love summer, I find myself looking forward to this season's arrival more and more every year. The cooler weather, crunching of leaves underfoot and pumpkin-flavored everything are all highlights of the season. And let’s not forget Halloween! New Jersey has many wonderful fairs and festivals for your family to enjoy this autumn—grab the kids (and a jacket) and check out these great fall events coming to a town near you.
Star light, star bright… Mommy, I want to see the stars tonight! If you have a little Galileo on your hands, fear not. New Jersey is home to a myriad of majestic outdoor star gazing locations, as well as many public observatories and, yes, even astronomy clubs for the truly dedicated. With the proper equipment, information and planning, your family will get an up-close look at planets, star clusters and the Moon. Happy star-gazing, NJ!
New Jersey has fairs and festivals galore this August. Flutter over to Pennington for a Butterfly Festival, hang out with the firefighters in Manasquan or indulge in carnival rides and games at a classic county fair. With so many options, the family calendar will be super packed all month long. Read on for our top picks, and squeeze in as many as possible—Labor Day is just around the corner! For more summer fun, visit our Summer Activities Guide.
Folks across the Nation fell in love with the majestic sport of horse racing when American Pharoah clinched the Triple Crown earlier this spring. Home to three race tracks, the Garden State draws racing fans from around the world and one arena has come up with a great way to teach horse-loving kids about life at the track. Monmouth Park's Dawn Patrol is an early morning, behind-the-scenes tour of one of the states most beautiful racing venues. Offered on weekends in July and August, this FREE event provides a great opportunity for families to learn all about the world of thoroughbred horse racing. I recently enjoyed the tour with my daughter's girl scout troop. Read on to learn why this special event is worth getting up early for.
Get ready, get set, get wet at New Jersey’s newest spraygrounds! Water playgrounds have been making a splash in the Garden State over the past several years, providing cheap (or free), refreshing summer fun. As spraygrounds and splash pads grow in popularity, new ones have been popping up throughout the state. Check out these newcomers in the New Jersey splash pads scene. Best part of all -- every destination on this list is free!
Fairs and festivals and feasts, oh my! It’s non-stop action in NJ this month—read on for our recommendations and choose your favorite (or two). With everything from county fairs to music and food festivals, there’s something to entertain every member of the family. Mark the calendar now and have a blast all month long. For more summer fun, visit our Summer Activities Guide.
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