Quirky Christmas: Some NJ Holiday Events You May Not Have Heard Of
Annual light displays, check. Breakfast with Santa, check. Annual holiday shows, double check. All good stuff, to be sure. But if you're thinking you might like to mix up your holiday adventures a bit, check out some of these, shall we say, "off the beaten path" celebratory ideas. Some are out of state; some are at your local garden center. Because sometimes parents need to throw something new into the mix to keep these kids on their toes.
Christmas Ice Caverns and Christmas Store (Fairfield, NJ)
Located inside Jody's Silk Florist and Patio Center in Wayne, the Ice Caverns are New Jersey's largest walkthrough animated Christmas display. A steal at only $2.75 per person! Santa pictures with North Jersey's #1 Santa are available as well (hours vary). Spread out over 10,000 square feet, the caverns have been updated every year to include characters sleigh riding in the snow, Santa’s candy factory, Santa’s reindeer feeding barn, toy story figures and a life-size Nativity. The gift shop is full of thousands of ornaments and an excellent array of trees, wreaths, swags, and handcrafted centerpieces. Ice cavern hours are Monday thru Saturday from 10am to 8pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm.
Adventure Aquarium’s Christmas Celebration (Camden, NJ)
Now through January 1, Adventure Aquarium transforms into an underwater winter wonderland featuring larger-than-life decorations, twinkling lights, glowing trees, and gently falling snow. Daily festivities include live shows and appearances by Scuba Santa, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. The Christmas Celebration shows are held from 10am to 5pm. General admission runs $24.95 per adult and $18.95 per child (ages 2-11).
Casino Pier Holiday Party (Seaside Heights, NJ)
When you think of celebrating Christmas, Casino Pier is probably not the first place that comes to mind. If you are looking for some holiday fun, check out this Saturday’s (December 14) holiday party from 12pm to 3pm. From the ugly sweater contest to candy cane limbo, this free event will surely get you in a festive mood! Fun, games, prizes and a visit from Santa will run throughout the event.
Twinkle Town and Little Houses at Willow Run Garden Center (Cresskill, NJ)
Similar to the Christmas Ice Caverns, this garden center is an animated walkthrough Christmas display, but they also have tiny houses you can explore, animals to pet and feed, and a huge assortment of Christmas decorations. It's free and a great way to entertain little ones when it's too cold and windy to play outside. Twinkletown and the Little House are open through December 24 from 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.
Sea of Lights at Jeninkson’s Aquarium (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ)
Once again, Jenkinson's Aquarium transforms into a winter wonderland for the holidays! Stop by the Sea of Lights Holiday Festival on December 21, 23, 26 or 28 from 6pm to 8pm to see this summertime destination turn into a festive Christmas celebration. Admission is $6 per person.
Koziar's Christmas Village (Bernville, PA)
Imagine your child's excitement as you drive into a valley aglow with over 500,000 Christmas lights! Koziar's Christmas Village is worthy of a December day trip. Located about an hour and a half west of New Jersey, Koziar's is a recipient of the best Christmas Display in the World with more than 50 buildings and structures lit with beautiful themed displays such as the Old Firehouse, Christmas in the Jungle, and Santa's Toy Shop, plus fresh baked goods and pictures with the big guy himself on Santa Claus Lane. Dress warmly (some attractions are outdoors) and bring your camera. Admission prices are $9 per adult, $7 per child (ages 4-10) and children under 3 are free. Now open seven days a week until January 1st. Monday to Friday from 6pm to 9pm, Saturday from 5pm to 9pm and Sunday 5pm to 9pm.
Holly Jolly Holidazzle (Manahawkin, NJ )
Glamor, glitz, goodwill and garland? What more could you ask for in a holiday musical! Stop by the OceanFirect Theater for the Holly Jolly Holidazzle, a “toe-tapping” musical event for the whole family. Show times are December 13 at 3pm and 7:30pm; December 14 at 2pm and 7:30pm and December 15 at 2pm. Admission is $35 per adult, $20 per child. For more information, please call (609) 312-8306.
Magical Fireside Christmas at the Pocono Manor Inn (Pocono Manor, PA)
Craving some down-home Christmas magic in the mountains? Check out the Magical Fireside Christmas! Awaken your senses with the sweet smell of roasting marshmallows, warmth of the fire and a spectacular display of lights adorning the grounds and buildings. Enjoy live animal displays, horse drawn carriage and train rides, story-telling, a visit with Santa and more. The cost is $5 per person and includes the free activities and five activity tickets for optional activities. Additional activity tickets are available for purchase. Magical Fireside Christmas runs until December 31st during the following times: Fridays from 4pm to 9pm, Saturdays from 12pm to 8pm and Sundays 12pm to 5pm.