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 relax and enjoy some seasonal fun with your family. And for more wonderful activities, visit our Mommy Poppins New Jersey Holiday Fun Guide.
The holidays are upon us. Grocery stores have clearanced out fall goodies to make way for winter holiday treats. Malls are playing Christmas carols and setting up Santa's chair for young visitors. And our Mommy Poppins calendar is no different. This weekend, we notice some holiday events creeping onto our pages with many more to come!
However, there are some non-holiday events to embrace before we are immersed in the season. There are Boy Scout or Girl Scout events to help scouts earn badges. If you are looking for a bargain, check out this weekend's consignment sales. Or, channel your artsy side and make a mosaic cookie plate... just in time to leave cookies for St. Nick on Christmas Eve.
I have a confession to make: I have three kids (ages 11, 7 and 5) and I've never taken them to see Santa. Its 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 at a holiday event, they never want to meet him.
However, when I heard about DreamWorks' brand-new North Pole Adventure at Westchester's Ridge Hill in Yonkers, I was intrigued. I figured even my character-shunning kids might enjoy going on an immersive journey to find Santa, with Shrek and his pals leading the way. And, since everybody hates lines, I was thrilled to hear that, unlike Macy's Santaland and other Kris Kringle spots, you book your North Pole Adventure time slot in advance online, so no wait! Plus it's FREE (though purchasing photo packages is, of course, encouraged but not required).
As you can see from our pics, my kids and I really enjoyed our North Pole Adventure experience but there are some important things to know before you go, especially if you're making the trip from NYC or upstate.
Poor November! After the Halloween decorations and political campaign signs have all come down, it seems November doesn't have a chance as we are thrown right into the winter holidays. However, our jam-packed Mommy Poppins calendar and our November Go List remind us to pause and take time to enjoy some family fun.
If your family appreciates the arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art offers multiple programs this weekend: Family Gallery Tours, Drawing in the Galleries and Tours for Tots. If the theater appeals to your clan, there are plenty of shows to keep the family entertained. The Walnut Street Theatre's Mary Poppins opened this week while The Media Theatre's Annie Jr. and The Players Club of Swarthmore's Peter Pan still have performances going on. And, don't forget it is the last weekend for the Weeki Wachee Mermaids so be sure to swim over to Adventure Aquarium for their unique performance.
Remember, take some time and enjoy the 11th month of our calendar... because, you know, there are only 3 more weeks until Black Friday...
I didn't grow up in Los Angeles; and although I have Latin American family, we are not of the Mexican or Guatemalan variety - meaning I arrived in SoCal knowing next to nothing about Day of the Dead. I've gradually pieced together the whole fascinating cultural and historical puzzle, discovering how many Halloween traditions we actually owe to the Native Americans who were in the city of angels before us, before the Spanish, before Christianity. El Día de los Muertos is a rare opportunity to understand several layers of angeleno culture, while celebrating something that looks a heck of a lot like Halloween.
While LA offers many Day of the Dead celebrations, the most authentic may be the novenarios, the nine nights of revelry leading up to November 2. Many Spanish-speaking countries have novenarios leading up to Christmas, but there is a similar build-up to the Day of the Dead, and here in LA it is most celebrated, not surprisingly, on Olvera Street. I've been curious to check out this traditional celebration for years, but between ghost trains and haunted houses our last week of October has always been booked solid. Not to mention that whole parking downtown thing. This year I finally decided to take the sugar skull by the horns and go see what it's all about. Curious?
You just shelled out the big bucks for summer camps and back-to-school shopping. The countdown to Christmas has already begun. Money, money, money. Save a few bucks by selecting an offbeat night to eat at a fun restaurant with the kiddos. You can still enjoy a night out and you don’t have to pay a babysitter… Win-Win. And if you happen to be hauling the munchkins a bit farther south, check out our Kids Eat Free in Central New Jersey.
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.
So we're back in school. We're packing lunches, going to PTA meetings. and overseeing homework. And we're probably starting to wrap our minds around figuring out some enrichment classes to fill in the gaps and/or add some sparkle to the process. Open houses and free trial classes make the hunt for great classes a little more do-able, which is why we offer this list of 10 great places that offer chances to try it out for free, either in the coming weeks or - in many cases - all year long. And for more enrichment options, check out our Enrichment Programs, Classes and Activities Guide.
Welcome to Mommy Poppins New Jersey! The free online resource for parents and kids where you’ll get the scoop on what’s fun, unique, outdoorsy, indoorsy, artsy, bouncy, sassy and splashy in the Garden State. Come play with us, won’t you?