Oh, what fun it is to spend time with your littles at these holiday festivities! Experience a magical light show at Robert J. Novins Planetarium in Toms River, watch holiday trains whiz around the tracks at the Spring Lake Christmas Train Village or enjoy Storytime with Mrs. Claus at the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange.
Here are 8 kid-friendly things to do this weekend around New Jersey:
Free Movie Friday: It’s a Wonderful Life
December 20, 7PM-9PM
Instead of another night fighting over the remote at home, bring the crew to the historic Paramount Theatre for a special viewing of the holiday classic, It’s A Wonderful Life. You’ll feel like you stepped back in time as you introduce your kids to the plight of George Bailey, look for Zuzu’s petals and remember that no man is a failure who has friends.
Asbury Park, NJ
Storytime with Mrs. Claus
December 20, 5:30PM – 7:30PM
Bring your littles to this special storytime where Mrs. Claus will read a classic Christmas tale and introduce her animal friends to the group. After, take a stroll through the lights—over 50 winter and animal characters are illuminated throughout the Zoo. The zoo will also be taking donations of non-perishable food items, new toys, and gently used coats, so this is a great opp to teach your kids about helping others out this time of year.
Turtle Back Zoo
West Orange, NJ
Cost: $10, children under 2 are free, light refreshments and free admission to the zoo after 5PM are included in each ticket
Last Minute Christmas Holiday Marketplace
December 20, 5:30PM-9:30PM
Haven’t finished your gift shopping yet? With over 70 vendors and unique crafters offering knit sweaters, exquisite jewelry, wood crafts, handmade ornaments, paintings, holiday glassware, and home decor, you’re sure to walk away with your entire list done. While you shop, kids can munch on snacks from Fezziwig’s Cafe and visit with live animals at the Creche display. And make sure you snap some photos with Santa before he heads back north to prepare for Christmas Eve.
St. John’s United Methodist Church
Spring Lake’s Christmas Train Village
December 20-22, 12PM-5PM
All aboard! Kids will be mesmerized by this spectacular recreation of the Spring Lake Village complete with running trains, animated attractions, replica miniature buildings, lakes, bridges, automobiles and so much more. After, head to the real village to shop among the boutiques and grab a mug of hot cocoa.
Spring Lake, NJ
Holidays with Magical Melodies and Bendy Bookworm
December 21, 10:30AM-11:30AM
Celebrate the winter solstice (aka the shortest day of the year) with a peaceful stretch and storytime. The Bendy Bookworm is teaming up with Magical Melodies for an awesome holiday mash-up that’s sure to delight your little ones. The morning will be filled with yoga, music, and dance—the perfect way to welcome in winter.
Tenafly Public Library
Tenafly, New Jersey
Cost: free, best for ages 1-8, registration required
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. Be sure to stop by the cafe for a mug of hot cocoa and pick up a poinsettia or ornament at the gift shop after.
Bear Creek Farm
Let It Snow
December 21, 2PM-2:45PM or 8:30PM-9:15PM
Your entire will fam will want to head to this amazing show that puts a new spin on classic holiday tunes: Festive songs are brought to life through thematic animation, laser imagery, and special effects, all projected on the Planetarium’s dome in a 32-minute spectacle. Your kids will love singing along to Rudolph and Frosty during this amazing show and will be in awe of the stunning, multi-media finale by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Robert J. Novins Planetarium
Toms River, NJ
Cost: $10 for adults, $7 for children 10 and under
Santa’s Comin’ to Town
December 21, 1:30PM-3:30PM
Merrily meander along the brick-lined sidewalks of Downtown Chester for a jolly good time: The man in the red suit will be making his way all over town to spread holiday cheer and meet all the good little boys and girls. While you explore the quaint boutiques and eateries, your kids can be on the lookout for their chance to snag a “Santa Selfie.”