Mostly Free & Fun Things To Do With NJ Kids This Weekend Dec 8-9: Santa Train Ride, Hanukkah Wonderland, Teddy Bear Tea & More!
The holiday countdown is on so you’re bound to see twinkling lights, holly and the Big Red Man everywhere you go. Time to check out the Santa Claus Train Ride, Santa Fly-In Celebration or Hudson Ballet’s Nutcracker! And the first night of Hanukkah is this Saturday, so get in the spirit with Hooray for Hanukkah crafts at the Garden State Museum or the Hanukkah Winter Wonderland at Imagine That! Read on for our top picks and remember you can find a listing of all NJ activities in our Event Calendar.
10th Annual Christkindlmarkt (Tuckerton, NJ)
Need some old-fashioned Christmas fun to get you and your family into the holiday spirit? Head down to the Tuckerton Seaport for their 10th Annual Christkindlmarkt. Duck into a huge heated tent as you enter their holiday market and fair. Kids will be excited for the horse-drawn cart rides, fun holiday food and Christmas music. Adults will love the hot mulled wine with more wine tasting and sales by DiMatteo, Tomasello and Valenzano. Cheers! Saturday & Sunday 10am-4pm. $3/Person. 609-296-8868
21st Annual Santa Claus Special & Train Ride (Whippany, NJ)
It's the time of year when Santa Claus invites one and all to celebrate the coming Christmas season with family and friends by riding the rails onboard the Whippany Railway Museum's Santa Claus Special excursion trains. The 10-mile, 45-minute round trip excursion heads from Whippany to Roseland and the return ride allows passengers time to enjoy the festivities of the season together on the train. During each excursion, Santa makes his way through the train and visits with the children onboard. Santa's helpers follow along, giving the kids a special gift. Don’t forget your cameras! Train rides depart hourly on Saturday & Sunday from 1-5pm. Advance registration is required. $13/Adult, $8/Kids 12 and under, Children under one year are FREE. 973-887-8177
Saturday, December 8
Teddy Bear Tea (Morristown, NJ)
Guests (and their teddy bears!) will be treated to scrumptious treats and a festive holiday performance in the Bickford Theatre. The brunch isn’t over until jolly old St. Nick himself makes an appearance with a special gift for each child. The Teddy Bear Tea is a fun and festive pre-holiday event where the family can get all dressed up (making it also the perfect opportunity to snap a family photo for those last minute holiday cards!). Recommended for ages 3 to 8. Seatings at 11am, 1 & 3pm. FREE for Morris Museum members, Non-members $10/Adult $7/Child. Advance reservations required 973-971-3706
Family Holiday Celebration (Wildwood, NJ)
The Christmas fun begins Friday evening with the Greater Wildwood Jaycees' Christmas Parade, followed by the Tree Lighting Ceremony. Then warm up inside the Wildwood Convention Center with hot chocolate and cookies as the parade winners are announced. The celebration continues all day Saturday with family fun including pictures with Santa, free movies and a holiday bazaar. Parade registration begins Friday evening at 6pm. Parade and tree lighting at 7pm. Saturday festivities from 10am-5pm. FREE admission. 609-522-3800.
Winter Enrichment Workshop at Turtle Back Zoo (West Orange, NJ)
Drop by Turtle Back Zoo with your grade school-aged kids this Saturday for a little winter fun. Zoo experts will keep kids engaged on a chilly December day as they learn all about the different animals at the zoo and make holiday presents for them! Be sure and stay as the sun goes down for their annual Holiday Lights Spectacular - bundle up and admire glowing figurines such as bears, tigers and elephants, along with wooden soldiers, stars and winter scenes. 11am-3pm. FREE with zoo admission. 973-731-5800
Santa Fly In Celebration (Teterboro, NJ)
If the kids have already sat on Santa’s lap at the mall and maybe even had breakfast with Old St. Nick, really knock their socks off at the Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum this weekend. All eyes will look towards the sky as Santa Claus circles the museum in a helicopter before making a dramatic entrance into the parking lot aboard a huge fire truck! How’s that for a Christmas show?! After the meet & greet, check out the museum's awesome fighter jets and hover crafts. 11am. $7/Adults, Children under 12 are FREE. 201-288-6344
Hudson Ballet’s The Nutcracker (Hoboken, NJ)
Hudson Ballet's sparkling production of the enduring classic "The Nutcracker" will usher in the holiday season at the Hoboken High School. Choreographed by Bethany Marc-Aurele, this production is set in the turn of the 18th century and is ﬁlled with 50 dancers, colorful props and elaborate costumes. See marching toy soldiers and the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy dance as a young child's holiday dream comes to life before your eyes. All proceeds from this junior ballet’s performance of the Nutcracker will benefit the Hoboken Relief Fund for Hurricane Sandy. Reception including refreshments and silent auction at noon, performance at 1pm. $22/Adults, $15/Child. 201-683-4350
Sunday, December 9
Chanukah Winter Wonderland & Olive Press Demonstration (Florham Park, NJ)
Celebrate the Chanukah season and the festival of lights at Imagine That! Children’s Museum’s Winter Wonderland event. Meet Judah the Maccabee, enjoy a craft and watch an olive press demonstration too - join Rabbi Rosenblum from Living Legacy and Rabbinical College of America as he demonstrates how to extract oil from olives. Children will also decorate a donut and complete a craft project to take home. Recommended for children 6 and under, advance reservations suggested. 1-4pm. $10.99/Child, Adults are FREE. 973-966-8000
Hooray for Hanukkah (Cherry Hill, NJ)
Drop in the Garden State Discovery Museum this Sunday afternoon and get into the Hanukkah spirit. Enjoy Hanukkah crafts, songs, stories and snacks from the ‘hostess with the mostess’ and longtime museum friend, Rosie Hymerling. Then participate in a holiday sing-a-long as families harmonize together. Kids still have energy left to burn? Check out the rest of the museum from the climbing wall to the turtle bog to the Dinosaurium. 12-3pm. $10.95/Children & Adults, $9.95/Seniors. 856-424-1233
Snowshoe Hike (Basking Ridge, NJ)
Join a Naturalist at the Basking Ridge Environmental Education Center for some winter fun in the snow! Your group will snowshoe on some of the beautiful trails and enjoy the winter scenery. The Naturalist will answer any questions about seasonal flora & fauna. Bring your own snowshoes or borrow a pair from the center (limited amount of snowshoes available – first come, first serve). Pre-registration is required. 12 – 1:30pm. FREE. 908-766-2489
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: Totally Turkeys, Santa's Arrival, November 23-27
- Weekend Fun for NJ Kids: Thanksgiving at the Museum, Art for Families, November 21-22
- Weekend Fun for NJ Kids: Train Celebration, Teddy Bear Picnic, November 14-15
- Weekday Event Picks for NJ Kids: Make Your Own Pizza, Turkey Puppets, November 9-13