50+ Kid-Friendly Things To Do This Weekend

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With Hanukkah beginning Sunday night and Christmas and Kwanzaa over a week away, it’s time to make the most of the last full weekend before the holidays. Watch dancers and listen to storytelling at Kwanzaa at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, shop for last-minute gifts and holiday cheer at the Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar in Asbury Park, or make candles, taste latkes, and ride the choo-choo at the Hanukkah Village Walk in Medford. And if you want more holiday fun, don’t miss Holiday Activities in NJ. (featured photo credit: @asburyparkbazaar and @rosebudphoto.ck)

(Note: It’s always best to check ahead for in-person events)

Wonderland Walkthrough
December 14-18
Walk-through vintage figures from the 1950s-70s and see different scenes from the traditional nativity to the new-age Olaf and Anna. Santa will be there too.
Cost: $12 for Adults, $10 for children
Maple Leaf Farms NJ, 525 US Highway 9, Manalapan, NJ 07726

Meet & Greet and Photo with the Grinch
December 16 
The Grinch gets a bad wrap, but he’s not all that mean—stop by for a friendly visit with the Grinch and get a free photo.
Cost: Free
Berlin Farmers Market, 41 Clementon Rd, Berlin, NJ 08009

Club MAC “Gingerbread House Parties”
December 16-17
It’s a Gingerbread House Decorating Party, where each child will decorate and take home their own full-sized gingerbread house. There will also be a movie, pizza, drinks, and snacks.
Cost: $40 per child
Middletown Arts Center, 36 Church St., Middletown, NJ 07748

Lighting up Nature Jakes Branch County Park
December 16-19 at 6 PM
Check out the neighborhood-style drive-through holiday display —”Lighting Up Nature.” This is a free, fun event for the whole family.
Cost: Free
Jakes Branch County Park, 1100 Double Trouble Road, Beachwood, NJ 08722

The Grinch Experience
December 17 at 9:30 AM
Take a photo with the Grinch, grab and go a green pancake breakfast, and taste hot cocoa while you are there. Purchase tickets in advance and choose your own start time.
Cost: $20 per person and bring a food donation for the Metuchen Food Pantry
Creative Twists, 10 Pearl Street, Metuchen, NJ 08840

Kwanzaa at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center
December 17 at 10 AM
NJPAC honors the seven principles of Kwanzaa with festivities, including dance classes, storytelling, face painting, a Kwanzaa candle-lighting ceremony, live performances, and traditional foods. 
Cost: Free
1 Center Street, Newark, NJ 07102

Meet and Greet with Santa and Toy Drive
December 17 at 12 PM
Stop in for free food, mingling, and a special visit from Santa. If you can, each party is being asked to please bring a new toy to donate to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to bring some holiday cheer to kids who cannot be home for the holidays. 
Rastelli Kids Complex,1855 Huffville Road, Deptford, NJ 08080

Fort Lee Artisan Market
December 17
See a collection of local makers and artists offering their unique, hand-crafted creations. This monthly outdoor market also hosts live music from The Bergen County Acoustic Musicians featuring acoustic rock and folk/rock guitar music.
Cost: Free to enter
Hudson Lights Park (The Be Fort Lee Sign – between Schlosser Street and Hudson Street), Fort Lee, NJ 07024

Artist & Maker Happy Holiday Market
December 17-18

Last-minute gifting is inevitable, so why not stop by for live music, food, and gifts made by local artisans? You’ll find that and more at this festive market in historic Jersey City, offering a unique opportunity to shop directly from emerging new makers and established artists to find one-of-a-kind items and meet the people who made them. 
Grove Street PATH Plaza and The Ashford Rooftop, 
Jersey City, NJ 07302

Spreading Christmas Cheer at the Farm!
December 17-18
Take a hayride around the farm, pet and feed all our rescued animals, sip on some hot cocoa or take a pony ride while spreading some Christmas cheer. Look out for Santa, s’mores, hot dogs, tacos in a bag, and drinks.
Cost: $15 + tax
10 Lil’ Acre Rescued Animal Farm, 116 Texas Rd, Old Bridge, NJ 08857

Bell Works Fresh Holiday Market
December 17 and 21
If the weather outside looks frightful, you can still shop at this indoor market with 75 local farmers, food purveyors, local artisans, and more. 
Cost: Free to enter
Bell Works, 101 Crawfords Corner Road,
Holmdel, NJ 07733

Christmas At Allaire
December 18 
Start a new family holiday tradition with a Christmas visit to the Historic Village at Allaire. See historic buildings, celebrate Victorian holiday celebrations, see the vintage model train and village, enjoy music at the Chapel, and there will even be a surprise visit from Santa Claus.
Cost: Starting at $8
The Historic Village at Allaire, 4263 Atlantic Avenue, Wall Township, NJ 07727

Main Street Pops Holiday Market
December 18
Look for handmade goods and unique finds on Sundays in December. Find everything from jewelry to home goods to artisanal foods.
Under 14th Street Viaduct, Hoboken, NJ 07030

Pancakes and Pajamas with Santa
December 18 at 8 AM
Get into those holiday pj’s and get the butter and syrup ready for breakfast with Santa in Middletown. This event is first come, first serve.
Cost: Price varies
New Monmouth Diner, 1887 State Route 35, Middletown, NJ 07748

Passaic Hanukkah 5K Race and Kids Fun Run
December 18 at 9 AM
This festive event promotes healthy living, exercise, and running/walking in the greater Passaic and Clifton communities and provides an opportunity for fun and friendly competition by offering a 5K race for men, women, and children. Refreshments, medals, and prizes (to top 3 overall in 1 mile and 5k as well as age group top 3) included. Everyone also gets a race shirt. 
Cost: $5 and up
The Boathouse Café at Third Ward Veterans’ Memorial Park in Passaic Park, NJ 07055

Santa Sleigh Ride 2022
December 18 at 9 AM
Santa is coming to town with his favorite First Aid Squad and EMS Elves. 
Cost: Donations accepted
776 Washington Road, Parlin, NJ 08859

Car Menorah Parade Cherry Hill
December 18 at 4 PM
The parade will be led by a car-top Menorah and a police escort through the streets of Cherry Hill. There will also be a menorah music truck, classic and antique cars, and first responder vehicles.
Cost: Free
1925 Kresson Road to the Barclay Center, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003

Menorah Lighting and Gelt Drop
December 18 at 5 PM
At this community event on the first night of Hanukkah, there be an 8-foot mega LED robot, Grand Menorah Lighting, a gelt drop, and treats for all.
Cost: Free 
430 Park Ave., Scotch Plains, NJ 07076

Woodland Park Public Hanukkah Celebration
December 18 at 7:30 PM
It’s the year of Hakhel which means gathering. Bring the whole family to celebrate in Woodland Park on the first night of Hanukkah.
Cost: Free 
Dowling Gardens, 2 Dowling Parkway, Woodland Park, NJ 07424

Ventnor City Menorah Lighting
December 19 at 5:30 PM
This south Jersey menorah lighting by the shore will take place on the Sacramento side of Ventnor City Hall.
Cost: Free
6201 Atlantic Avenue, Ventnor City, NJ 08406

Palmer Square Annual Menorah Lighting
December 20 at 4 PM
The Jewish Center of Princeton will be there for the annual lighting of the menorah in Palmer Square. There will be music and fun for the whole family.
Cost: Free
Nassau Inn Patio, 10 Palmer Square, Princeton, NJ 08542

Medford Hanukkah Village Walk
December 20 at 5 PM
Take a Hanukkah village walk, visit vendors, and then see the Grand Menorah Lighting. There will also be a trackless train, latkes, candle-making, crafts, and activities.
Cost: Free 
Medford Village Park and Main Street & Allen, Medford, NJ 08055

Ongoing Events

Christmas at the Farm
Now-December 18
Participate in fun activities with the kids, such as wreath decorating, a petting zoo, and pony rides. Pictures with Santa are available on select days.
Cost: $5 and up
149 Brindletown Rd, New Egypt, NJ 08533

Holiday Hayrides to Rudolph’s House
Now-December 18
Jump on a caroling hayride to Rudolph’s house. Kids will get a prize and magical reindeer food at Rudolph’s house. After, stop and visit Santa Claus in the greenhouse, and later, hop on a cow train ride. 
Cost: $5 and up
Zimmerman County Market, 425 Salina Rd, Sewell, NJ 08080

Winter Village at The Red Mill Museum
Saturdays & Sundays Now-December 18
This event is an annual tradition that is fun for the whole family. Complete with over 45 local craft artisans, activities, and food trucks, this is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. There’s also a beautiful Festival of Trees with decorated trees, wreaths, and 12 gorgeously decorated historical buildings that you can tour and enjoy.
Cost: $8 and up
Red Mill Museum,
56 Main St, Clinton, NJ 08809 

Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar
Now-December 18, days may vary per location; check ahead
Step into a traditional Christmas market where you can shop, celebrate, and enjoy holiday decor and entertainment in Asbury Park at the Grand Arcade. There will also be crafts and a holiday photo booth. 
Cost: Free to enter
Grand Arcade of Convention Hall, 1300 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
The Asbury Hotel, 210 5th Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

Santa’s in Morristown
Now-December 18 
Come down to The Morristown Green and take in the magic of the season. Visit and take Santa pictures in NJ to make this holiday season one to remember. 
Cost: Free
The Morristown Green, 10 N. Park Place,
Morristown, NJ 07960

Victorian Christmas at Ringwood Manor
Now-December 18
Wander through the first floor of Ringwood Manor, beautifully decorated by the Women’s Club of West Milford, for the holidays. Kids can engage in scavenger hunts and search for a variety of interesting objects throughout the house. Crafters will be selling handmade items.
Cost: $5 and up
Ringwood Manor, 1304 Sloatsburg Rd., Ringwood, NJ 07456

DiDonato’s Magical Holiday Express
Now-December 23
Have your crew go all aboard for a Christmas light display ending with a meet and greet with Santa and his elves. Don’t miss the Holiday Movie tent and take photos with your favorite snowman, Toy Market, and Walkthrough Holiday Village.
Cost: $12.95-$24.95
1151 South White Horse Pike, Hammonton, NJ 08037

Light Show on the Lake
Now-December 23
Gather ’round the fire pits at Johnson’s Corner Farm’s Discovery Barnyard to roast marshmallows and watch the lake light up in this breathtaking display. Be sure to hop on the Christmas “Light Show” Hayride to see more of the farm lit up for the holidays. 
Cost: $7.95 and up
Johnson’s Corner Farm,
133 Church Rd., Medford, NJ 08055

Christmas Underwater at Adventure Aquarium
Now-December 24
Dive into an underwater holiday show to see the World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree, snow-like flurries in the Snowtunda, or Scuba Santa in the Ocean Realm. And don’t miss the 15,000 animals throughout the aquarium to ring in the holiday spirit.
Cost:$18.99 and up
1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ 08103

Creamy Acre Farms Night of Lights
Now-December 24, on select dates

This dairy farm transforms every holiday into a Christmas Wonderland filled with huge light displays, a Musical Dancing Tree light show, and dazzling displays, which are newly expanded with double the lights and scenes this season. There will also be concessions, a country store, and fire pits.
Cost: $30 per vehicle
448 Lincoln Mill Road, Mullica Hill, NJ 08062

Farmingdale Holiday Trail
Now-December 24, weekends only
IWalk-through twinkling lights on this trail of half-boardwalk and half-padded mulch. It is double-stroller friendly. Pets are not permitted.
Cost: Free; donations are appreciated
11 Asbury Ave Farmingdale, NJ 07727

Holiday Harmonies 
Now-December 25
Enjoy performances downtown on Saturdays and Sundays. See traditional carolers, choirs, brass bands, handbells, and rock, folk, and jazz musicians bring their flavor of holiday tunes to the sidewalks of Red Bank.
Cost: Free
Red Bank, NJ 07701

Sea of Lights Indoor Holiday Lights Spectacular
Now-December 28, select dates
Where else can you see an actual diving Santa Claus but at Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant Beach? The Indoor Holiday Lights Spectacular includes treats, crafts, pictures with Santa, games, and entertainment.
Cost: $10 and up
300 Ocean Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742
(732) 892-0600

Christmas Fantasy with Lights
Now-December 30, dates and times vary; Santa visits until December 23 
Santa Claus is ready to wave his magic wand and light the park with over one million lights for the holiday season. Your littles will love seeing the park glow after dark and be thrilled to go on rides and attractions (all open at night) during this magical time.
Cost: $27.95 per person if bought in advance, $30.95 per person at the door.
Storybook Land, 6415 Black Horse Pike (Routes 40/322), Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234

Christmas Light Show & Village
Now-December 30, dates and times vary (check ticket schedule for full details)
With over two million dazzling lights, your littles will be amazed by all the sparkle and shine on this mile-long course. Afterward, head to the village to spot Santa, go ice skating, dine on hot cocoa and s’mores, and play lots of festive-filled games.
Cost: $29 standard admission or $79 VIP admission
Skylands Stadium, 94 Championship Pl., Augusta, NJ 07822

Magic of Lights New Jersey
Now-December 30
Experience the dazzling lights display entirely from the comfort of your car. Set your radio to their light show station, and then enjoy festive music as you drive through a merry arrangement of Christmas lights, trees, and decorations that will surely put your whole crew in the holiday spirit.
Cost: $20 and up
PNC Bank Arts Center, 116 Garden State Pkwy, Holmdel, NJ 07733

The North Pole Experience at Harbaugh Village
Now to December 30
Kids will love visiting Santa’s workshop, where they can make reindeer food with elves, write wish lists and meet with the big guy in red. After, take a ride on the carousel, ice skate, play games, visit the sweet shop, cozy up to the fire pit, and shop for gifts in the vendor village. All proceeds benefit GeorgesHouse.org, a non-profit committed to providing toys and transitional housing for children and families in need. 
Tickets are $19.95 a person; kids two and under are free, and some activities are an additional cost.
126 Bridgeton Pike, Mullica Hill, NJ 08062

Winter Wonderland Illuminated Walking Trail
Now-December 30
Take a stroll through the woods filled with fun snowmen and trees, illuminated boxes with miniature scenes, and a fairy garden box. After the trail, make sure to stop by the bonfires for some hot chocolate and s’mores. 
Cost: $12 and up
Indian Acres Tree Farm, 111 Tuckerton Rd., Medford, NJ 08055

Dasher’s Lightshow
Now-December 31
Drive through this dazzling show with displays synced to music on your car radio. The 25-30 minute show will dazzle your family and put you into the holiday spirit.
Cost: $29.95 and up
Newark Moonlight Cinema, 220 Orange Street, Newark, NJ 07103

South Jersey Holiday Light Show 
Now-December 31, dates and times vary
Get in the festive spirit at this drive-through holiday light show featuring dozens of dazzling displays and scenes celebrating everything your family loves about this season. Turn on the car radio to a station that syncs the light show with holiday tunes as you drive among the twinkling lights on the mile-long route.
Cost: $25 per car; tickets must be purchased in advance
Bridgeport Speedway, 83 Flood Gate Road, Swedesboro, NJ 08085

Turtle Back Zoo Holiday Lights Spectacular
Now-December 31, on select dates

Grab your winter coat and get ready to stroll through the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo to see over 50 winter and animal characters. The event will feature weekend Santa visits, as well as train rides, carousel rides, visits to the Reptile House and Aquarium, and pony rides.
Cost: Donation recommended, additional fee for some attractions. 
560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052

Allaire Community Farm
Thursdays-Sundays in December
See the largest dreidel in the world at Allaire Community Farm on a tractor-pulled wagon that takes you through beautiful holiday light displays. After, stop by the farmstand to sip hot cocoa and cider. 
Cost: $17
1923 Baileys Corner Road, Wall, NJ 07719

Holiday in the Park
Now-January 1, on select dates
Hit your favorite theme park at night to see it completely decked out in colorful lights and mingle with special guests, Santa and Mrs. Claus. Ride the roller coasters—plenty of smaller ones perfect for your kiddos—and enjoy the street entertainment all over the park. Finish the night with a festive treat, like a cup of hot chocolate, yummy cider, and fried s’mores.
Cost: $49.99 and up
Six Flags Great Adventure,
1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson Township, NJ 08527

Holidig Drive-Thru Light Show at Diggerland USA
Now-January 1
America’s only construction theme and water park will be decked out in a drive-through display of glowing lights, tunnels, holiday displays, and more. As you drive through the exhibits, tune into Diggerland USA’s radio station to get into the holiday spirit.
Cost: $34.95
Diggerland USA, 
100 Pinedge Drive, West Berlin, NJ 08091

Old Fashioned Christmas
Now-January 1
See the seaside town of Cape May transform into a Dickens village just in time for the holidays. Don’t miss free events like the Winter WonderWalk, tours of the Physick Estate, and the Christmas Candlelight House Tours. They also have a Lamplighter Christmas Tour and Santa’s Trolley Tours throughout the season. 
Cost: Prices vary
Cape May, NJ 08204

Orchard of Lights at Demarest Farms
Now-January 1
Start your engine to explore 32 acres of holiday light displays at Demarest Farms. You can also warm up by the fire pit with s’mores, enjoy hot cocoa and treats in the retail farm market, and take pictures with Santa while listening to Santa’s reindeer singing.
Cost: $35 per car
Demarest Farms, 
244 Wierimus Rd., Hillsdale, NJ 07642

The Winter WonderLights
Now-January 1
New Jersey’s largest animated holiday light show will dazzle your family with over 1.5 million lights dancing to your favorite holiday music. The trees, the tunnels, and a tribute to first responders and US armed forces are just a sample of what you will see on the half-mile drive.
Cost: $30 per car or $125 VIP season pass per car; guests are encouraged to buy their tickets online.
655 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick, NJ 08816

Bergen County Winter Wonderland
Now-January 2
Glide into a winter wonderland with a carousel and train rides in Van Saun Park. Then lace up your skates and get out on the ice for a skate among the lights and decorations. 
Cost: $5-$10
Van Saun County Park, 216 Forest Ave Paramus, NJ 07653

Brookhollow’s Barnyard
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays until January 6
Explore the farm and see all of the lights for the holiday season. This year, they’ll be doing a walk-through where you can see and feed animals from 4 PM to 6:30 PM. Train rides will be available during the walk-through; the drive-through will be 7 PM – 8:30 PM. 
Cost: $9.50 for the walk-through (under two is free); $20 per car for the drive-through. 
301 Rockaway Valley Road, Boonton, NJ 07005

Holiday Light Show on the Lake
Now-January 6
Visit Historic Smithville to ride the carousel and roast s’mores by the firepits on the green. Then watch favorite holiday tunes synchronized to a unique light display. There will be over 120 Christmas trees, constructed from 50,000+ Christmas lights, magically floating atop Lake Meone in the center of the village. An orchestrated show of lights dances across the water to Christmas music when the sky is dark. The show can be seen from either side of the village and the bridge.
Cost: Free
Historic Smithville Village, 
615 E Moss Mill Road, Smithville, NJ 08205

Monmouth Museum Holiday Train Display
Now-January 8
Kids will love seeing this nostalgic display featuring Lionel Trains winding through an over 30ft exhibit of towns, mountains, cities, and more. Alongside the trains, the Main Gallery hosts a 20ft Holiday Tree and Pat Brentano’s “Consider the Trees” show. 
Cost: Free
Monmouth Museum, 765 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, NJ 07738

Let It Glow
Now-January 15
It’s a holiday spectacular at the Bergen County Zoo with impressive, larger-than-life lantern displays of animals and nature that are awe-inspiring. Walk through the exhibits up close, then take a train ride through the zoo.  
Cost: $9 and up
Bergen County Zoo, 216 Forest Avenue, Paramus, NJ 07652

Winter Walk 
Now-January 15
Visit Taylor Park and enjoy magical light displays as you stroll along a path at the lake’s edge. After you and your family enjoy the lights, visit Millburn’s unique retailers and restaurants. The park is lit from 4:30 PM until 10:00 PM nightly.
Cost: Free to enter
100 Main Street, Millburn, NJ, 07041

Night Forms: Infinite Wave at Grounds For Sculpture
Now-April 2
The whole family will love to see the Grounds of Sculpture reimagined after hours, with a multi-sensory light and sound experience designed to engage with the art and horticulture collection. Spend the evening outdoors exploring the lighting, sound, and video projection mapping, and join the interactive exhibits, which will delight kids and adults. 
Cost: $22 and up
80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton, NJ 08619

RWJBarnabas Health Events

Community Medical Center Blood and Platelet Drive
December 19 at 8:30 AM
COVID-19 has impacted blood and platelet stores in blood banks throughout the area. We need your help – your donation could save up to three lives. Be a hero – donate blood or platelets at Community Medical Center’s upcoming blood drive. Appointments are encouraged – to schedule your donation, visit www.rwjuhdonorclub.org or call Laurie Diskin at 732-557-8140. Medical eligibility questions should be referred to an RWJ Donor Services staff at 732-235-8100 ext. 248. Bring a photo ID, and be sure to eat and drink before donating.
Cost: Free parking for community donors
Community Medical Center Auditoriums A & B, 99 Route 37 West, Toms River, NJ 08755

Healthy Kids in Hannah’s Kitchen
December 20 at 4:30 PM
Come in person or join virtually for this hands-on cooking for ages 8-12. Your child will learn how to cook with nutritious ingredients, how to read a recipe, kitchen safety tips, measuring techniques, and learn knife skills.
Cost: Free
Online or Rev. Dr. Ronald B. Christian Community Health and Wellness Center at Newark Beth Israel
Medical Center, 208 Lyons Ave., Newark, NJ 07112

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About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.

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