Mostly Free & Fun Things To Do With NJ Kids This Weekend Dec 15-16: Nutcracker Workshop, Kwanzaa Party, Zoo Holiday & More!
We may be oh-so-busy wrapping, baking & shopping but there's still time to catch a performance of NJ Ballet’s Nutcracker or snap the kids meeting jolly old Saint Nick at Santa’s Little Elf Workshop. If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind holiday fun, play an instrument at the Touch the Music Nutcracker Workshop or whip up organic Christmas cookies at the Green Gift Workshop. Read on for our top picks and remember you can find a listing of all NJ activities in our Event Calendar.
2012 Holiday Spectacular (Ocean City, NJ)
The annual down-the-shore holiday show returns in a new production for 2012. Bring the kids to “rock around the Christmas tree” as a cast of professional singers and dancers celebrate the season with a fully-staged musical revue of holiday hits. High-energy choreography, colorful costumes and festive sets all come together on the Music Pier stage to create a family-friendly show sure to put everyone in the Christmas spirit. Show times Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 2 & 7:30pm and Sunday at 2pm. $18/Adult, $15/Seniors & Kids ages 12 and under. 609-525-9300
New Jersey Ballet’s The Nutcracker (Morristown, NJ)
The acclaimed New Jersey ballet brings The Nutcracker to life and the Christmas tradition continues in this seasonal must-see that enchants youngsters and grown-ups alike. From the giant presents and Christmas tree on stage to the ‘Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies” to the live orchestra, this is the perfect introductory fine arts experience for children. Recommended for ages 4 & up. Show times Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday & Sunday at 1 and 6pm. Ticket prices vary ($25-59) depending on seat location. 973-539-8008
Saturday, December 15th
Santa’s Little Elf Workshop (Englewood, NJ)
Bring your little ones to Enamor Me (and get out of the cold!) this Saturday for a ton of hands-on Christmastime fun all in one place. Activities include decorate your own gingerbread man and holiday crafts along with free family portraits (no sitting fee) and complimentary goodie bags for each child. And little ballerinas will have a blast decorating their own tutus to take home for dress up. 10:30am-12:30pm. $12/Child. 201-439-9999.
A Natural Holiday (Bernardsville, NJ)
Take a break from all your shopping and baking to make some natural decorations for the holidays at the Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sanctuary will provide instruction, ideas and examples of small animal decorations made from natural materials found locally here in New Jersey. Children must be accompanied by an adult & pre-registration is required. 10-11:30am. $8/NJ Audubon Members, $12/Non-members. 908-766-5787
Touch the Music Nutcracker Workshop (Pine Brook, NJ)
Children will hear the classic holiday story of The Nutcracker accompanied by the beautiful music of the Nutcracker Ballet by Peter Tchaikovsky. Afterwards, they’ll get a chance to play some of the instruments heard in the score at the Fine Arts Connection studio. A great outing both for longtime fans of the Christmas ballet or for those planning to see the show for the very first time this holiday season. Each workshop is 45 minutes long. 2-2:45pm Ages 3 to 5, 3-3:45pm Ages 6 to 9 & 4-4:45pm Ages 10 to 12. $10/Child. 973-220-9785
24th Annual Community Kwanzaa Celebration (Montclair, NJ)
Montclair Public Library presents the 24th Annual Community Kwanzaa Celebration. Celebrate community spirit with a performance by the Dance Theater & Education Center of Irvington, NJ and a Kwanzaa craft for children. The celebration will begin with a pouring of libations for the ancestors. African-American heritage books, clothes and artifacts will also be available for purchase in the auditorium. African Market opens at 1pm, crafts & performance begin at 2pm. FREE admission, pre-registration required. 973-744-0500 x2236.
Pajama Night: Story Telling Under the Stars (Toms River, NJ)
Storybooks come to life with this cozy, family-friendly event. Giant-sized pictures float among the stars to accompany the tales. Children will enjoy the stories and learn a bit about the stars and other objects visible in the night time sky. Kids and adults alike are encouraged to come wearing comfy pajamas, with their favorite blanket and/or pillow to spend a fun and relaxing hour under the planetarium stars. Recommended for any child that still enjoys bedtime stories. 6pm. $8/Person. Advanced registration recommended. 732-255-0400 x2111
Sunday, December 16th
Holiday with the Animals at Bergen County Zoo (Paramus, NJ)
Bundle up and visit the Bergen County Zoo for some holiday fun this Sunday. Stroll around the quaint grounds and check out North American animals such as tapirs, buffalo and monkeys. Watch the animals receive and open special gifts prepared by the keeper staff – then enjoy complimentary refreshments and pictures with Santa! And don’t forget to take a spin on the zoo train – another exciting way to see the animals in their natural habitats. 12-3:30pm. FREE with zoo admission. 201-262-3771
Terrific Turtles (Lyndhurst, NJ)
If your family needs a break from all things holiday, stop by the Meadowlands Environmental Center on Sunday for some turtle education. Through story, art and role-playing, the kids (and adults too!) will discover what it's like to be a turtle living in the marsh. After the presentation, everyone will get a chance to meet the resident turtles and learn how they eat, breathe and protect themselves. Recommended for ages 3-4. 1-2pm. $8/Members, $10/Non-Members. 201-460-8300
Green Gift & Cookie Making Workshop (Roseland, NJ)
Give green this holiday season by crafting and giving sustainable and alternative gifts. Join one of the classes led by talented instructors/crafters at the Essex County Environmental Center and make something special for your loved ones. Adults can choose to make cinnamon dough mini-ornaments or healthy-and-tasty organic cookies. A variety of kids' crafts will be offered too! 12pm. $8/Adult, $6/Child. 973-228-8776
Don't forget: We have additional activity listings in our Event Calendar. And if you are heading into NYC for the weekend make sure you visit the New York City Mommy Poppins events calendar to get the latest on all the fun to be had NYC-style.
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- Weekday Event Picks for NJ Kids: Peach Festival, Butterfly Tea Party July 20-24