56 Kid-Friendly Things To Do This Weekend

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Thanksgiving weekend is here (aka the unofficial start to the holiday season), and we’re kicking off the festive spirit with lots of things to keep your crew busy during the days off. See over 2 million lights at the Christmas Light Show & Village at Skylands Stadium in Augusta, see art come to life at Night Forms: Infinite Wave at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, or listen to holiday music and watch the Cape May Zoo tree be illuminated at Santa’s Tree Lighting Ceremony at The Cape May Zoo in Cape May Court House. And if you are looking for more excitement, check out things to do this Thanksgiving in NJ. (featured photo taken at Night Forms: Infinite Wave at Grounds For Sculpture)

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

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Santa at Bridgewater Commons
Now through December 24
Here Comes Santa Claus! Santa will welcome kids to the Center Court on the Lower Level, where he’ll sit among 23 garland-topped light curtains and candy-cane-inspired twists. Children can share their Christmas Wish List with Santa and pose for photos with him. Their faces will light up for the many fun Santa events, such as Santa’s Luau on November 30, Santa Cares Day on December 4 and 18 for a sensory-friendly experience, Santa’s PJ Night on December 7, and Santa’s Ugly Sweater Night on December 14. Make sure to reserve your photo with the man in the red suit. And experience the Christmas spirit this season with live performances each Saturday afternoon of holiday carols and festive songs by New Jersey-based a cappella quartet The Village Carolers.
Bridgewater Commons, Lower Level and Center Court, 400 Commons Way, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
(908) 218-0001

Christmas Light Show & Village
November 23-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

Orchard of Lights at Demarest Farms
November 23-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

Holiday Light Show on the Lake
November 24-January 6
Visit Historic Smithville to hear your 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

30th Annual Town Lighting & Holiday Express Concert in Red Bank
November 25
The most magical day in Red Bank, this 30th annual event is one you won’t want to miss. Start the day shopping on Broad Street, followed by pre-show activities and then a Holiday Express concert, followed by the main event—the lighting of the Red Bank Christmas tree. 
Cost: Free
Broad Street, 
Red Bank, NJ 07701

Brookhollow’s Barnyard
Starts November 25, Friday, Saturday, 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
(973) 917-3060

Fanwood’s Famous Christmas House Grand Lighting
November 25 at 4 PM
Come to see Fanwood’s Famous Christmas House Light up for the first time this season. Donations are appreciated, and all donated money goes to NJ Institute for Disabilities. The display is lit every night from dusk to 10 PM through January 8, 2023.
Cost: Donations welcome
83 Paterson Road, Fanwood, NJ 07023

Palmer Square Tree Lighting
November 25 at 5 PM
Come down to Palmer Square for their annual tree lighting ceremony. Featuring traditional Christmas music, live performances, and even a visit from Santa, this event is a beautiful way to kick off the holidays as all 32,000 lights are lit for a dazzling display.
Cost: Free
Palmer Square Green,
40 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542

Avalon’s Festive Friday and Snowfest Saturday
November 25-26
Kick off the holiday season in Avalon with a whole weekend of activities. On Friday, there will be live music, children’s performances, character appearances, face painting, an art bar, crafts, giveaways, hot chocolate, a drive-in holiday movie, and a parade featuring the Big Guy as a special guest. On Saturday, watch ice sculpting, take a photo with Santa, enjoy bounce houses, carnival rides, and obstacle courses, and cozy up with lots of cocoa. 
Cost: Prices vary
Avalon, NJ 08202

First Annual Christmas Block Party
November 25-27
Enjoy special events every night like a hot chocolate bar and shopping in your pj’s on Friday night to a Kids holiday market and family fun on Sunday Funday.
Cost: Free to enter
3100 Atlantic Brigantine Blvd, Brigantine, NJ 08203

Holiday Events at Pier Village
November 25-27
You can kick off the holiday season at this festive tree lighting at Pier Village with fun activities, including ice skating, Christmas caroling, and a special visit from Santa Claus. After the tree is lit, enjoy shopping while looking at the window displays and enjoying the festive cheer.
Cost: Prices vary for each event
Pier Village, Long Branch, NJ 07740

Model Train Show  
November 25-27, December 3-4, 10-11, and January 7-8
Got kids who love trains? There will be running steam and diesel trains on a 1200-square-foot model layout, including Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends. Kids can try running trains on the children’s layout or check out the new second railroad. 
Cost: Kids under 10 are free 
575 High Mountain Road, North Haledon, NJ 07508

Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar
November 25-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

Festival of Trees and Winter Village
November 25-27, December 3-18
It’s an outdoor holiday market with over 45 unique craft artisans ready to help you wrap up your seasonal shopping. The opening weekend coincides with the first weekend of The Festival of Trees. After visiting the German-style holiday market, step back into the Victorian era in Downtown Clinton with Dickens Days.
Cost: Prices vary for each event
56 Main Street, Clinton, NJ 08809

Collingswood Holiday and Menorah Lighting Events
November 25-December 22
Spend the season celebrating, starting with a Holiday Tree Lighting on November 25, a Holiday Parade on November 26, and the Community Menorah Lighting On December 2. Make sure you get your list to Santa (he’ll be around every weekend) and spend the night of December 10 watching live performances, listening to live music, and strolling along the sidewalk admiring the festive lights.
Cost: Prices vary per event
Collingswood, NJ 08108

Light Show on the Lake
November 25-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
(609) 654-8643

Visit with Santa at Johnson’s Corner Farm
November 25-December 23
Get ready to snap a ton of photos with Santa Claus at this 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. 
Cost: Prices vary per activity
Johnson’s Corner Farm, 133 Church Road, Medford, NJ 08055

Christmas Underwater at Adventure Aquarium
November 25-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
November 25-December 24, 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

Santa Claus is Coming to MarketFair
November 25-December 24
Grab the little ones and meet Saint Nick at MarketFair. Reservations are strongly recommended but not required.
Cost: Cost for photos
MarketFair,
3535 US Highway 1, Princeton, NJ  08540

Winter Wonderland Illuminated Walking Trail
November 25-December 30
Take a stroll through the woods filled with fun snowmen and trees, illuminated boxes with miniature scenes, and a fairy garden box. Further down the trail, you might even pass a secret gnome village. The path flows out of the woods and into a live Christmas tree field. You’ll pass by a penguin igloo town, “fly by” BirdHouse Row and watch out for a runaway sled.  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
November 25-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

The Winter WonderLights
November 25-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

Holiday in the Park
November 25-January 1, 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

Bergen County Winter Wonderland
November 25-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

Night Forms: Infinite Wave at Grounds For Sculpture
November 25-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

Kick-off to Christmas Breakfast with Santa
November 26 at 9 AM
Santa Claus is coming to town—reserve your tickets to have breakfast with the man in the red suit.
Cost: $10 per adult and $5 per child
Laurelton Fire company #1,1725 Route 88, Brick, NJ 08724

Collingswood Holiday Parade
November 26 at 10 AM
Come to this festive parade with seasonal entertainment, including marching bands, dancers, holiday characters, giants on stilts, floats, mummers, sports mascots, and live music.
Cost: Free
The parade will begin at Zane Avenue at 10 AM and continue to West Linden Avenue through the heart of historic Collingswood, NJ 08108

Remnantco Holiday Market
November 26 at 12 PM
Shop at a seasonal pop-up marketplace featuring local and regional handcrafted and vintage goods, art, photography, food trucks, and dessert.
Cost: Free to enter
25 Andrews Drive, Woodland Park, NJ 07424

Woodbridge Township Winterfest and Light Parade
November 26 at 4 PM
Kick off the holiday with s’mores, ice skating, kids’ crafts, a light parade, a visit from Santa, ice sculpting, a live DJ, and tree lighting. 
Cost: Free to enter
Main Street, Woodbridge, NJ 07095

Bordentown City Christmas Tree Lighting
November 26 at 4:30 PM
Music, songs, and Santa on the firetruck will bring lots of holiday spirit to Bordentown City this November.
Cost: Free
Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown, NJ 08505

Palmyra Winter Night Market
November 26 at 5 PM
When the sun goes down, get ready to shop, eat, listen to music, and have fun with the whole family.
Cost: Free to enter
20 West Broad Street, Palmyra, NJ 08065

Annual Holiday Toy Drive
November 26 at 6 PM
Dress for the North Pole and bring a toy or Amazon gift card for a child in the hospital to brighten their day. Then visit Santa and enjoy a hot chocolate bar, s’more’s station, popcorn, fire pits, holiday music, and lots of holiday fun.
Cost: Toy donation
Moorestown, NJ 08057

Totowa and West Paterson Fire Dept. Holiday Parade
November 26 at 6 PM
Kick off the holiday season with a festive parade of lights, including fire trucks, floats, and emergency vehicles, with a holiday glow up and lots of entertainment. 
Cost: Free
Parade Route: 515 Union Blvd in Totowa to 1070 McBride Ave in Woodland Park

Santa’s Tree Lighting Ceremony at Cape May County Zoo
November 26
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. See for yourself, and while you’re there, take your photo with the jolly man in the big red suit and ride aboard the holiday train. Catch a holiday performance, the ice sculpture demonstration, free treats, and much more.
Cost: Free
Cape May County Park & Zoo, 707 US 9 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210

Dickens Festival in Smithville
November 26-27
See an original musical adaptation of “A Christmas Carol,” Charles Dickens’ heartwarming tale, by Riddlesbrood Touring Theatre Company performed on their portable outdoor stage. Visit the shops and restaurants after the show, along with the Smithville Train and Carousel.
Cost: Prices vary
Route 9 & Moss Mill Road, Smithville, NJ 08205

Bell Works Fresh Holiday Market
November 26-December 10, select dates
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

Long Branch Holiday Bazaar
November 26-December 11, Saturdays and Sundays
Bring the family to this holiday tradition featuring music, food, and kids’ craft workshops on Saturday. Families will also meet special holiday characters and take memorable photos at the Instagram-worthy selfie station with the Grinch, Elf on a Shelf, and Frosty the Snowman.
Cost: Free to enter
Whitechapel Projects (WCP), 15 2nd Ave, Long Branch, NJ 07740

No More Grist For the Mill
November 27 at 11 AM
Celebrate the end of the milling season and the start of the holidays as the mill grinds the last of 2022’s corn. Decorate a paper stocking, take a selfie in a sleigh, and sip on a cup of hot cocoa in the early 20th-century Cow Barn. Then explore the 18th-century house and see the gristmill in action.
Cost: Free
62 Walnford Road, Upper Freehold, NJ 08501

Long Branch Tree Lighting at Pier Village
November 27 at 4 PM
Kick off the holiday season this year at this festive holiday tree lighting at Pier Village. There will be many fun activities, including ice skating, a performance by the Long Branch High School Marching Band and Dance Team, and a special visit from Santa Claus. After the tree is lit, enjoy shopping while looking at the window displays and enjoying the festive cheer.
Pier Village, Long Branch, NJ 07740

Asbury Fresh Pop-Up at Porta
November 27, December 4, and December 8
Experience a warm and toasty holiday market season in good ol’ Asbury Park. Shop locally curated vendors and enjoy pizza and festive drinks.
Cost: Free
Porta, 911 Kinsley Ave.,
Asbury Park, NJ 07712

Santa’s Arrival in Morristown
November 27-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. Santa will also be at the Christmas Festival on December 2 and will visit until December 18.
Cost: Free
The Morristown Green, 10 N. Park Place,
Morristown, NJ 07960

Ongoing Events

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
(609) 561-3040

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
(609) 646-0103

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
(732) 203-2500

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
(856) 467-4407

Turtle Back Zoo Holiday Lights Spectacular
Now-December 31, 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
(973) 731-5800

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
(856) 768-1110

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 on November 18, tours of the Physick Estate, Tree Lighting on November 19, 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

Vinter Wonderland
Now-January 2
Celebrate a successful harvest at Renault Winery with a charming and festive experience for all ages. Kids will love the ice skating, tractor rides, and live entertainment while you enjoy gourmet dining and wines. Santa Claus comes to town in December to light the Christmas tree, read a holiday story, and eat breakfast with the kids (reservations required). 
Cost: Prices vary
72 Bremen Ave., Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215

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 amazing, 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

Winter Wonderwalk Cape May
Now-Winter 2023
Enjoy free admission to the grounds of Cape May’s only Victorian House Museum, the Emlen Physick Estate, as it’s been transformed for the holiday season. Walk the grounds and view fun and whimsical displays of celebrations during the Victorian era.
Cost: Free
Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., Cape May, NJ 08204

RWJBarnabas Health Events

Healthy Kids in Hannah’s Kitchen
November 22 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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