Mostly Free & Fun Things To Do With NJ Kids This Weekend Nov. 24-25: Holiday Lights, Puppet Show, Nutcracker & More!
So you’ve got a belly full of turkey, a fridge full of leftovers and out of town guests waiting to be entertained? Tackle the holiday season full on with the Turtle Back Zoo Holiday Lights Spectacular, Pictures with Santa at Jackrabbit Toys or American Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker. For some regular fun without candy canes, check out the Rock and Mineral weekend or Aesop’s Fables: A Zany Adaptation! Read on for our top picks and remember you can find a listing of all NJ activities in our Event Calendar.
Lights On! Winterlight Weekend (Hamilton, NJ)
Kick off the holiday season at Grounds For Sculpture with two days of merriment just after Thanksgiving. Music, performances, workshops, artisan crafts and holiday shopping fill each day, and at sundown watch the park come ablaze with tens of thousands of lights. Stroll the paths as trees and buildings twinkle with holiday magic. On Saturday, participate in a Graham Cracker House Workshop and on Sunday, enjoy an afternoon Holiday Tea Party from 4-6pm - savor your own pot of holiday tea while snacking on a delicious selection of cookies and finger sandwiches. Various times on Saturday & Sunday. $12/Adult $8/Children 6-12 Children under 6 are FREE. 609-586-0616
The Nutcracker (Princeton, NJ)
American Repertory Ballet brings the magic, beauty and fantasy of this favorite holiday show to the McCarter Theatre stage with Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score and a cast of over 100 performers. Directed by Company Director Douglas Martin, ARB’s professional company will be joined by students from Princeton Ballet School to tell the story of a young girl and how a mysterious gift brings about enchanted dreams and fantastical scenes. Recommended for ages 4 & up. Friday and Saturday at 1 & 4:30pm/Sunday at 1pm. Ticket prices $25-55 depending on seat location. 609-258-ARTS
Turtle Back Zoo Holiday Lights Spectacular (West Orange, NJ)
Experience Turtle Back Zoo in the winter as 100,000 bulbs and 40 lit displays illuminate the zoo this holiday season! Bundle up and admire glowing figurines such as bears, tigers and elephants, along with wooden soldiers, stars and winter scenes. Some of the regular exhibits will be open past dusk as well – a rare treat for kids and adults alike to see the animals at night. The zoo will be collecting non-perishable food, winter coats and unwrapped new toys for the needy each evening of holiday lights. Saturday & Sunday 5-9pm. FREE.
Rock and Mineral Weekend (Morristown, NJ)
Presented by the Morris Museum Mineralogical Society, enjoy a rockin’ weekend at the Morris Museum. Start off by exploring the mineral, gem, and fossil displays throughout the building – and staff will be on hand to identify any of your mystery rocks and minerals. Families will be able to examine fossils, learn about fluorescent minerals, and listen to engaging presentations on various topics in geology and about the Earth. Other activities include a sand box scavenger hunt and a mineral magic show. Friday 12-3pm, Saturday 11am-5pm & Sunday 1-5pm. Members are FREE. Non-members $10/Adult $7/Child.
Saturday, November 24th
Santa and Mrs. Claus at Jackrabbit Toys (Sea Girt, NJ)
Deliver your wish list in person and meet Santa & his leading lady at Jackrabbit Toys. Jolly Old Saint Nick will be available to meet children and take pictures – remember bring your camera to capture the magical moment. Enjoy treats from Mrs. Claus's bakeshop and complimentary coffee. And then stay and have a look around this one of a kind independent toy shop to get a jump on your holiday shopping. 11am-2pm. FREE.
New Jersey Symphony Family Concert (Newark, NJ)
YouTube music sensation Project Trio along with beatboxing flutist Greg Patillo, cellist Eric Stephenson and bassist Peter Seymour explore music and emotions in a program that features the first movement of Beethoven's 5th. Free pre-concert adventures begin in the symphony hall lobby an hour before the show. Meet the musicians up close, try an instrument, dress up like Beethoven and do some crafts too! Activities and music for all ages to enjoy. 2pm. $15/Person. 1-800-255-3476
Newark Museum DIYnamite Thanksgiving Weekend (Newark, NJ)
Skip the Black Friday holiday shopping rush and get creative at the Newark Museum this Thanksgiving weekend by making your own DIY gifts with the kids. Visit different stations to make beeswax candles, glowing castle lanterns, picture frames, clay jewelry plates, homemade bath fizz & more. And don’t leave before visiting the museum’s many mainstay exhibits including the sculpture garden, the Newark fire museum and the Look/Touch/Learn nature & art area. 1-4pm. FREE with museum admission. 973-596-6550
Sunday, November 25th
ImaginOcean Puppet Show (Englewood, NJ)
A one-of-a-kind live black-light puppet show, John Tartaglia’s ImaginOcean is a magical undersea adventure for kids of all ages. Tank, Bubbles and Dorsel are three best friends who just happen to be fish, and they’re about to set out on a remarkable journey of discovery. As they swim off in search of clues, they’ll sing, they’ll dance, and they’ll make new friends, including everyone in the audience. The performance is jam-packed with music ranging from swing to R&B to Big Band. 4pm. Ticket prices $20-75 depending on seat location. 201-227-1030.
Tom Chapin & Friends Holiday Show (Morristown, NJ)
Tom Chapin engages the hearts and minds of young listeners during Christmastime with witty, life-affirming original holiday songs. He also adds warmth and imagination to traditional favorites performed in fun and participatory musical styles. Recommended for ages 4 & up. 1:30 & 4pm. Ticket prices $12-15 depending on seat location. 973-539-8008.
Aesop’s Fables: A Zany Adaptation! (Hoboken, NJ)
Aesop’s Fables and its all-adult cast will delight children ages 3 to 10 while entertaining in the 12th season of the Hudson Theatre Ensemble Children’s Series Silly on Sixth! These time-tested stories will be told in a quirky and hilarious way that will engage parents along with their kids. And if your child has a November birthday, give the theater a heads up and the performers will sing Happy Birthday – then your whole group can meet the cast after the show. 11am & 1pm. $10/Adults $7/Kids. 201-377-7014
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