There’s plenty of holiday attractions to visit this season! Sit in on holiday shows, hop on a holiday train or visit light displays. Whatever you do, these holiday attractions are sure to make lasting memories with your family.
December 12-15, 19-22, 26-29
Holiday Light Show
Historic Smithville, Galloway
Head to Historic Smithville for its annual Holiday Light Show Thursdays through Sundays in Dec. You’ll see more than 100 Christmas trees float on Lake Meone and light up to music. Don’t leave until you’ve checked out The Magical Talking Tree, Christmas train and storytime with Mrs. Claus on select dates.
McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton
On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. He learns how his grumpiness has impacted others, and that he needs to make an immediate change in his attitude—or else. Also on Dec. 7 at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts in Toms River at 1 pm ($12/adults, $10/kids).
Wilkins Theatre, Union
All ages are invited to the Kean Stage for this uplifting performance of family and friendship set to classic holiday hits.
Shea Center for Performing Arts, Wayne
Watch a group of tour guides become separated across the world and learn about new places, cultures
and holidays, including the Lohri Festival, St. Lucia Day, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas. Pre-show activities begin at 12:15 pm.
Planetarium at RVCC, Branchburg
What happens when Santa gets kidnapped by an alien? Ages 6-10 can marvel at stars visible during the winter, then journey through the Milky Way with Santa Claus. Kids on other planets need presents, too! Also on Dec. 21.
The Hermitage, Ho-Ho-Kus
$5/ages 3 and up
This annual shindig features a visit with Father Christmas and a seasonal tale told by a storyteller. Take a tour and see Christmas decorations, then the kids can try their luck on a scavenger hunt to win a prize.
Congregation B’nai Israel, Emerson
All are welcome to attend this festive concert and sing-along. Stick around for traditional treats.
Jewish Museum, NYC
11 am-4 pm
Included with admission, free/ages 18 and under
Your family can build a Hanukkah lamp, then sketch your own after finding inspiration in the world gallery. Dance to Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights and watch a one-of-a-kind Hanukkah performance.
State Theatre, New Brunswick
Spend a night in early 20th-century Russia with Tevye and his five daughters who wish to marry for love. Meanwhile, Tevye does what he can to keep his family true to the customs of their Jewish faith amidst the Tsar’s declaration that the Jews be evicted from their village.
December 21 and 28
Hopewell Theater, Hopewell
Watch the Grinch (Jim Carrey) turn from a grumpy hobbit into the savior of Whoville after his schemes don’t go as planned and his heart grows a few sizes. Also heart grows a few sizes. Also on Dec. 28 at noon.
Liberty Hall Museum, Union
9 and 11:30 am
’Tis the season to be jolly at Liberty Hall Museum in Union, where your family can dine with Saint Nick himself. If you’re on the nice list (or not), dig into a hot breakfast buffet and hop into Santa’s sleigh for a family photo worthy of the fridge. Advance ticket purchase required.
Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, Toms River
1 and 4 pm
Angelina Ballerina and her friends are performing in a holiday pageant and must use their creativity when plans go awry.
Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown
11 am and 1:30 pm
Kids can watch Pinocchio struggle to achieve his greatest wish: to become a real boy. Using music and comedy, the kids will learn lessons about honesty, bravery and love.
Multiple venues, Ocean City
$15 before Dec. 1
Head to Ocean City for more than 30 shows including Dueling Pianos, the Harlem Wizards, a magician, live music, ice skating, inflatables and more at 22 venues. At midnight, watch fireworks light the sky from 5th St. Beach.
535 N. Rte. 73, West Berlin
7 pm-12:30 am
$68.99, free/ages 2 and under
Head to Sahara Sam’s in West Berlin for indoor water attractions, a foam party, DJ and more. There’ll also be food, dessert, champagne and sparkling cider toasts and more to ring in 2020.
State Theatre, New Brunswick
This concert has been a longtime staple on NYE. This year, you can catch the show’s Viennese music, ballroom dancers and witty conductor at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. And no worries, you’ll be back home in time for the countdown.
Westfield High School
The New Jersey Festival Orchestra and dancers from Dance Theatre of Harlem will be at Westfield High School with guest Broadway soloists and songs from the Great White Way.
Multiple venues, Morristown
Kids programs 4:45-9 pm; event ends 12:15 am
$20-25/single, $70/four pack
This alcohol-free, family-friendly celebration spans 16 Morristown venues (shuttle accessible) with 40+ performances ranging from theater, world cultures, dance, live music and children’s programs. Stick around for fireworks at 9:15 pm and a midnight countdown.
Ongoing holiday attractions
Through December 21
Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May
On weekends, take the kids for a ride around Cape May with stories and songs led by Mrs. Claus. Santa will greet your kiddos with a sweet in the Carriage House, too. Reservations recommended.
Through December 22
Museum of Transportation, Wall Twp.
Choo-choo! Don’t miss the train! On weekends, hop on the Christmas Express and chat with the big man himself. Options for daytime and nighttime rides are available.
Through December 28
80 Stangl Road, Flemington
$34/ages 3-11, $32/ages 12 and up
On weekends, climb aboard this round-trip train at Black River and Western Railroad in Flemington for a journey with Saint Nick himself. Meet elves and Santa while sipping refreshments. Enjoy a gift from the workshop and grab a family photo on Santa’s sleigh.
Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge
9 am-4:30 pm
Suggested donation of $5
December is the time to visit this indoor exhibit of decorated trees by various community groups. There’ll be live music and treats available at the Snowflake Cafe.
Through December 29
Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn
Times and prices vary
You may think you know how Cinderella lost her glass slipper at the ball, but the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn is adding new characters and surprises to the iconic fairy tale.
Through December 30
Skylands Stadium, Augusta
Skylands Stadium in Augusta will be home to light tunnels and a course featuring more than two million sparkling lights. Visit the Christmas Village (opens Nov. 29) to see Santa’s workshop, take photos with the jolly man himself, go ice skating, make s’mores and more.
1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany
$46-80/adults, $41-75/ages 2-11
Throughout December you can climb aboard the Polar Express in Whippany with your family. Relive the film with a magical one-hour trip to the North Pole.
Barron Arts Center, Woodbridge
Check out this model train show, which boasts more than 300 feet of tracks, three towns, a boardwalk, operating monorail and more.
DiDonato Family Fun Center, Hammonton
$15/online before Christmas, $10/online after Christmas
Pop over to the DiDonato Family Fun Center in Hammonton for a special holiday treat. Ride through the holiday village under millions of lights and meet Santa in his workshop.
Through January 1
Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson
Included with admission
On weekends and select days, Six Flags will have millions of lights, wintry foods, nightly snowfall and Santa’s village. The park will also smell like fresh pine and peppermint.
Through January 5
Glenwood Lake Art Park, Vernon Twp.
$19.99/adults, $14.99/ages 3-12, free/ages 3 and under
Head to Vernon Twp. on weekends from Nov. 15-Jan. 5 for the Vernon Lights Festival, where they’ll marvel at lantern displays, splurge at food trucks, listen to holiday music, watch performances and visit the creativity pavilion
Bronx Zoo, NY
$29.95/adults, $22.95/kids, free/ages 2 and under
Visit the Bronx Zoo’s Holiday Lights, a dazzling walk-through experience with themed LED displays, custom Asian lanterns and light shows. There’ll also be ice carving demos, caroling, train rides and holiday music.
Shady Brook Farm, Yardley, PA
$30/carload (coupons online)
Make the trip to Shady Brook Farm to experience more than 3 million lights strung into whimsical displays and familiar characters over two miles. You can opt for an open air wagon ride, too.
Through January 20
Liberty Science Center, Jersey City
Hours and times vary
Choo choo! Head back to the Mesozoic period at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. Ages 2-8 can learn about steam engines and dino diets, excavate fossils, cook a meal over a campfire and chill in a dino nest. Included with admission. Take your little ones to see the Angry Birds Universe Exhibit where they can shoot at life-size Angry Birds with massive slingshots ($30-35).
Our Lady Queen of Peace, Maywood.
9 am-4 pm
This annual Christmas fair is the place to be for jewelry, holiday decor, stocking stuffers and goodies like chocolate and baked treats.
Jenkinson’s Aquarium, Point Pleasant Beach
Give your Nemo-loving kid a behind-the-scenes look at the aquarium. Ages 5 and up. Registration required.
Great Swamp OEC, Chatham Twp.
12:30 and 2:30 pm
$4/ages 3 and up
Use an old-fashioned hand crank cider press to make apple cider, then learn fun facts about apples and sample cider. Also on Nov. 30.
The Theatre at RVCC, Branchburg
1 and 5 pm
Using sparkling costumes, giant puppets, elaborate sets and choreography, the Moscow Ballet will bring the classic Russian fairy tale to the stage with characters like Father Christmas and his granddaughter, the Snow Maiden.
December 1, 7-8
Alstede Farms, Chester
10 and 11:30 am, 1 pm
You’re never too old to see Santa. Meet him at Alstede Farms for homemade brunch, drinks and dessert and a hayride to Harvest Hall. Brunch includes an all-you-can-eat, farm-to-table buffet and admission to the PYO fields and orchards. Advance ticket purchase required.
Rutgers University Geology Museum, New Brunswick
All ages are invited to learn about mastodons, saber tooth cats and other Ice Age creatures through demos, crafts and other activities throughout the museum.
Hunterdon County Arboretum, Lebanon
Learn to use a traditional flat basketry reed to craft flat snowmen and holiday stars for your holiday decor. Cost includes materials. Registration required.
Wharton Institute, Berkeley Heights
Head to the Wharton Institute in Berkeley Heights and learn the true meaning of Christmas when Buddy journeys from the North Pole to NYC to find his birth father. Catch Elf: The Musical at UCPAC in Rahway from Dec. 6-8, 13-15. Times vary. $25.
Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Morris Twp.
10 am-4:30 pm
$2, free/ages 2 and under
See hundreds of gingerbread houses of varying shapes. Past creations include Hogwarts, an enchanted garden, pirate ship and Santa’s workshop. Browse then vote for your favorite. Stop by the craft show on Dec. 7-8 and 14-15.
Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit
10 am-2 pm
Snap a photo with Kris Kringle in the historic Wisner House, then dig into cookies and hot cocoa. Members only from 10-11 am, non-members from 11:30 am-2 pm.
Historic Cold Spring Village, Cape May
11 am-3 pm
Meet Father Christmas in the Country Store, get elbow-deep in hands-on crafts, listen to live music and browse holiday treats, drinks, artisan works, books, old-fashioned candy and more.
Hunterdon County Arboretum, Lebanon
Take a winter nature walk and learn about pines, spruces and hemlocks, plus the differences between conifers and evergreens. Collect greenery during your walk to make crafts. Ages 5 and up. Registration required.
Dey Mansion, Wayne
11 am-5 pm
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Dey Mansion nestled in Washington’s Headquarters in Wayne. Step into the 18th century for hearth cooking, crafters and demos true to the time period. Stick around to see NJ’s local militia, then visit the gift shop and taste a traditional Dutch Speculass cookie.
iPlay America, Freehold
9:30 am-1 pm
Head down Santa Claus Lane for a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, fruit and more with Father Christmas. After taking a family photo, open presents from the North Pole, head to cookie decorating or make snacks for reindeer (additional cost). Advance ticket purchase required.
State Theatre, New Brunswick
1 and 5 pm
PJ Masks is leaping, flipping and climbing all over the stage at the State Theatre in New Brunswick at this heroic musical featuring Catboy, Owlette, Gekko and new friend PJ Robot as they battle villains.
Campbell-Christie House, River Edge
Visit the Man in Red: Sinterklaas. Check out an authentic Jersey Dutch out kitchen and tour all three sandstone houses. Kids can make pinecone bird feeders and ornaments, too.
Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield
$5/ages 13 and up, $3/ages 3-12, free/accompanying adults
Kids will make decorative inedible gingerbread houses, then listen to “gingery” stories. Reservations required.
Where are your favorite holiday attractions in NJ? Let us know in the comments below.