It’s that time of year again: Grab your smartphone or camera and dress up your littles because Santa Claus is coming to a town near you. Stop by any of these malls, festivals, towns or villages to snap photos with St. Nick and join in the holiday festivities too. From an old-fashioned celebration to a virtual-reality adventure, there are plenty of places in the Garden State to see Santa this season—ho, ho, ho!
featured image via The Mall at Short Hills
Here’s where Santa Claus is stopping in New Jersey:
HGTV’s Santa HQ at Freehold Raceway Mall
November 19 – December 22
Take a virtual trip with the big guy, when your kids visit the workshop’s Magic Mirror to transform into one of Santa’s elves: They can change their elf’s outfit, create customized Elf Academy ID collector cards, explore Santa’s Observatory using ELF-RAY Vision and test out the Naughty O’ Nice Meter. Continue on with an in-person visit with Santa inside his modernized sleigh. Hint: Spend less time in line and enjoy more holiday fun with a Santa Fast Pass.
Freehold Raceway Mall
Cost: per package
Santa’s Visit to the Herbary
December 21, 10AM – 1PM
The big guy called his holiday helpers at the Herbary and scheduled his annual visit for the Saturday before Christmas. Bring your kids and (leashed) furry friends for free photos with jolly old Saint Nick.
Bear Creek Farm
Turtle Back Zoo Holiday Lights Spectacular
Friday, Saturday, Sunday: November 22 – December 1, 5PM-9PM
Every Night: December 6 – December 31, 2019, 5PM-9PM
Take a stroll under the sparkling lights of over 50 winter and animal characters and then stop by Santa’s workshop to take a picture with the man himself. If you want a special souvenir to remember the occasion, there will be professional photographer taking photos available for purchase. Be sure to check the schedule before you go: Santa has to make quick trips back to the North Pole and isn’t always on the property.
Turtle Back Zoo
West Orange, NJ
Christmas Light Show & Village
November 30 -December 8, Sat & Sun 4:30PM-11PM, Fri & Sat 4:30PM-11PM
Visit Santa’s Workshop in the Christmas Village at Skylands Stadium, featuring a photo station with Mr. Claus, carnival games and Champ, the life-size polar bear statue. Enjoy scrumptious ice cream and custom hot chocolate drinks at the snack bars, while the kids roast marshmallows over the fire pit to make s’mores. And don’t worry about the chilly winter weather—warming stations are located throughout the pavilion to help your family stay cozy.
Frankford Township, NJ
Pictures with Santa in Red Bank
Every Saturday and Sunday, November 30 – December 22, 12PM-4PM
Take a photo with old Kris Kringle any weekend this holiday season at The Galleria Red Bank’s special Santa Studio. Festive photo packages are available by TSS Photography.
The Galleria Red Bank
Red Bank, NJ
Cost: per package
Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar 2019
December 1, 8, 15, 22 12PM-3PM
Head to this legendary festival on a Sunday afternoon, where Santa will be in the house right up until Christmas. Donate a toy or gently used coat or make a cash donation towards a local charity, and receive a 4×6 print and email copy of your family’s Santa photo. Pets are invited to join in the fun and greet Santa as well.
Asbury Park Convention Hall
Asbury Park, NJ
Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten’s Weihnachtsmarkt
Fri-Sun November 29 – December 22, 12PM-7PM
Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten’s Weihnachtsmarkt is a rooftop European holiday market featuring over 25 vendors and live music. There will be artisan gifts, specialty foods, handcrafted toys, traditional warm cocktails to sip and of course, visits from Santa.
Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten
Asbury Park, NJ
Cookies & Cocoa with Santa
Saturday, December 7 (Members Only 10AM-11:00AM, Non-Members 11:30AM to 2PM)
Drop by Reeves-Reed Arboretum for Cookies & Cocoa and pose for a photo with Santa in the Arboretum’s beautifully decorated, historic Wisner House. Holiday portraits will be taken by local photographer Lisa Berkery. No pre-registration is necessary.
Reeves Reed Arboretum
Cost: $15 per pose, $25 for non-members, includes cookies & cocoa
42nd Annual Hope Christmas Craft Market
December 7, 10AM-5PM & December 8, 10AM-4PM
Bring the whole family to shop, snack on holiday treats and visit Santa at this market that takes place in 6 buildings filled with holiday cheer. Hop between the buildings on the free shuttle service, then finish off the day by cutting down your own tree at Wyckoff’s Christmas Tree Farm and enjoying a cup of hot apple cider at Mackey’s Orchard.
Cost: $4, proceeds go to the Hope Recreation Program
Santa is Coming to Kirby’s Mill
December 7, 12PM-4PM
Are you on Santa’s list? He’s checked it twice! Bring your littles to visit him so he knows what they want under the Christmas tree. Make sure to set your smartphone in portrait mode when you snap your kids with Santa.
The Sawyer House in the Mill Complex
iPlay America’s Breakfast with Santa
December 8th at 9:30AM-1PM
Your littles will be thrilled to eat breakfast with the big guy: The buffet includes an omelet station, assorted breakfast breads, yogurt and granola, pancakes, fresh fruit and more. While you eat, Santa will walk around and visit with guests at their tables. Then, get ready to sing and dance along to a live performance. Complete the morning by gathering the whole family together for a picture with Santa Claus, taken by a professional photographer with a free digital download.
Cost: $15.95 for children, $29.95 for adults, add-ons available
Visit Santa at Schaefer Farms
December 1st, 12PM-2PM and 15th, 1PM-3PM
Snap a photo with Santa and shop for holiday decor: Pick up the greenery—Christmas trees, wreaths, grave blankets and decorations—as well as firewood for your seasonal celebrations.
Visit with Santa at Johnson’s Corner Farm
November 29 – December 23
Monday-Thursday 5PM-8PM, Fridays 5PM-9PM, Saturdays 11AM-9PM, Sundays 11PM-8 PM
Get ready to snap a ton of photos with Santa Claus at this free event which features their famous Light Show on the Lake. Take a lighted hayride, decorate a Christmas cookie, and roast a s’more on an open fire.
Johnson’s Corner Farm
Cost: Free, bring your camera
Photos with Santa at Deptford Mall
Now through December 22
Click here for available visiting hours.
This holiday, check out the interactive Elf Academy at Santa HQ. You can try on the latest elf looks with Santa’s Magic Mirror, create your very own Elf- ID Card and scan yourself on the Naughty or Nice O’Meter. Meet the big guy and make magical memories with jolly old St. Nick.
Deptford Township, NJ
Cost: per package
Holiday Marketplace at HCCC
December 14, 12PM – 3PM
Shopping is sure to be merry and bright at this community holiday market. This event features lots of festivities for kids, including a magic show, face painting, craft stations and selfies with Santa.
Hudson County Community College
Jersey City, NJ
Santa Photos at Cumberland Mall
Now through December 24th
Mondays – Saturdays 10AM – 9PM, Sundays 11AM – 6PM, Christmas Eve: 10AM – 5PM
Squeeze in photos with Santa as you tackle your holiday shopping at Cumberland Mall. You can even bring your furry friends along for a full family photo in front of Santa’s fireplace.
Cost: Packages vary
It’s Santa Photo Time at Menlo Park Mall
Now through December 24
Click here for special holiday hours.
While you shop around, children can stop by to whisper their wish list in Santa’s ear, then have their magical moment with Santa captured forever with keepsake photos. Don’t miss the quickest way to be merry: To bypass the long lines, reserve your fast pass here.
Menlo Park Mall
Cost: per package
Santa Visits Westfield Garden State Plaza
November 165 – December 24, Monday – Saturday 10AM – 9PM
Santa is visiting his gorgeous house at Westfield Garden State Plaza. He will be available to strike a pose while answering all your questions about the North Pole until December 24. Please note that Santa takes breaks to feed his reindeer every day from 1pm-2pm and 5pm-6pm.
Westfield Garden State Plaza
Cost: per package
November 16 – December 24
Weekdays 5PM – 8PM, Saturday 10AM – 8PM, Sunday 12PM – 5PM
Gather the family and come to experience the joy of a classic Christmas in the Bass Pro Shop. Pick up a Bass Pass in-store for a time slot to see Santa, then explore Santa’s Wonderland or shop the store while waiting in a virtual line. Littles won’t be bored with free arcade games, make and take crafts, and hands-on activities that celebrate the season. Everyone who visits with Santa will receive a free 4X6 professional photo.
Bass Pro Shops
Atlantic City, NJ
Santa Visits Kale’s Garden Center
November 30th & December 1 from 10AM-4PM.
December 7 & 8 from 10AM-4PM
December 14th from 10AM-4PM
December 15th from 2PM – 5PM
Browse the extensive holiday displays at Kale’s Garden Center and meet Santa Claus. Take photos with him, and then stick around for cookies, hot cocoa and coffee.
Kale’s Garden Center
Santa’s Flight Academy at Short Hills Mall
November 7 – December 24, Open during mall hours
Your little one can join Santa’s Flight Academy to help Santa fly his sleigh. Kids receive a personalized Cadet Badge, can try on a virtual flight suit and dance in the snow, and then meet the big guy himself, posing for precious keepsake photos.
The Mall at Short Hills
Short Hills, NJ
Cost: free, photos per package
Pictures with Santa at Santa’s Workshop in Bridgewater Commons
Now – December 24, Click here for hours.
Take a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to the North Pole. Step into the magical elevator and head to Santa’s workshop, where the he’ll be waiting to greet you. You’ll have the chance to explore the workshop and spend quality time with Mr. Claus.
Cost: per package
Santa’s Tree Lighting Ceremony at Cape May County Zoo
November 30 and December 1, 4PM-6PM
Can you keep a secret? Rumor has it that the zebras at the Cape May County Zoo brought Rudolph and his crew in through the back gates. Come see for yourself, and while you’re there, get your photo taken with the jolly man in the big red suit and go for a ride aboard the Polar Express train. On Saturday, catch a holiday performance by the Cape May Dancers and on Sunday, look out for a Frozen II Showcase with character appearances.
Cape May County Park & Zoo
Cape May, NJ
Breakfast with Santa Aboard the Battleship
December 14, 9AM-11AM
Families can board the battleship to enjoy a delicious hot breakfast served chowline-style at the crew’s galley, and a self-guided tour of the ship, along with the chance to win some great prizes. Later, meet and get your photo with Santa — with the famous memorial as your backdrop.
Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial
Cost: $18 for kids under 12, $24 for adults, $10 pp for active military families
Visit with Santa at Historic Longstreet Farm
December 21 – 22, 12PM – 3PM
Come to the Longstreet Farm and enjoy an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas. Children can visit with Santa, then take a walk to the farmhouse and have a cup of cider. Make sure to post a Santa snap to the ‘gram!
Historic Longstreet Farm
The Magic of Christmas at Olde Stone House Historic Village
December 14, 5:30PM-8:30 PM
A wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit, when you enjoy readings of The Polar Express in the Blackwood Train Station and listen to live Christmas music in the Bunker Hill Presbyterian Church. Kids can write a letter to Santa and mail it at the Turnersville Post Office. The whole family can feast on yummy snacks at the bake sale in the Charles Quay Farmhouse, and then stop by and meet Santa himself at the Olde Stone House.
Olde Stone House Historic Village
Sewell, New Jersey