Stay all comfy and cozy in your car and drive through a mile of lights and sculptures every weekend from now until early January. Did we mention that there are two million lights in this thing? Clark Griswold would be so impressed. Bundle the kids in their PJs, crank up the holiday tunes and turn this into an annual tradition.
Skylands Stadium, Augusta, NJ, $20 per carload (but discount tickets are available at Walgreens), Nov. 21-Jan.10, every Friday-Sunday, 5-11 p.m., skylandsstadium.com
Introduce your kids to the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and the magic of ballet. There are many productions happening around the state, but the New Jersey Ballet’s version is an annual tradition that will delight kids of all ages because of their full orchestra and some very special effects, that add to the holiday magic.
Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown, NJ, $25-59 a person, 973-539-8008, mayoarts.org December 12 – 21
Franklin Lakes Menorah Lighting and Carving
Brave the cold to celebrate Hanukkah and get your Frozen fix. In addition to the traditional Menorah lighting, Kristoff and Olaf will be on hand for a live ice-carving demo of a 6 foot ice menorah. Also, hot refreshments will be on hand (to help with the chill), plus a raffle, crafts and some glowing giveaways to make the night more festive.
Franklin Lakes Borough Hall on Thursday, December 18 at PM. More info at franklinlakes.org.
You know Dasher and Dancer… and all the other reindeer, so don’t miss this chance to see them live on stage. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical takes place in Prudential Hall stage this holiday season and brings to life the classic 1964 TV special. Take a trip to the island of misfit toys with Rudolph, Clarice, Hermey the Elf and Yukon Cornelius. Johnny Marks’ newly arranged score, fantastic scenic transformations, and special theatrical effects and costuming make this new production a must-see for young and old alike.
New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ, $29.50–39.50 a person, Dec. 26, 7 p.m., Dec. 27, 2 p.m., Dec. 27, 7 p.m., (973) 642-8989, njpac.org
The New Jersey Museum of Transportation is behind this ride, taking families on an antique steam train round-trip ride with Saint Nick along the Pine Creek Railroad. Do your best to snag a window seat—to catch a glimpse of the amazing scenic views. But be on your best behavior! Santa will be on the train meeting all the kids and asking what you want for Christmas.
New Jersey Museum of Transportation, Farmingdale, NJ, $6 a person, Day Trips 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM: Nov 28-30, Dec 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 & 21. Night Trips 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM: Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 & 20, 732-938-5524 njmt.org
100 Christmas Trees floating on platforms in Lake Meone, with lights that are set to holiday tunes put on a truly memorable holiday display. Plus, the town is jam-packed with special holiday events this season (including a Santa Breakfast) and the best part is they are totally free. There are also shops, food, a carousel, paddle boats to keep you busy for a whole day of holiday fun.
Historic Smithville & Village Greene, Smithville, NJ, Free, Thursday- Sunday Nov 27, 2014 to Jan 6, 2015, 5:30 PM until 8:30 PM, 609-748-8999, colonialinnsmithville.com
You can spend a very full afternoon at the Garden State Discovery Museum celebrating the Festival of Lights. There will be stories about Hanukkah some hands-on crafts and a concert, complete with a sing-a-long.
Garden State Discovery Museum, Cherry Hill, NJ, $12.95 + tax for adults and children 12 months and over. December 21 www.discoverymuseum.com.
Two words: Scuba Santa. Where else are you going to see the big guy decked out in scuba gear, swimming with the fishes? The whole aquarium gets a holiday makeover, with special appearances by Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (even though he’s more of a land creature. Also, there’s a dance party to help you burn off all those holiday cookies you’ve been eating.
Adventure Aquarium, Camden, NJ, $25.95/adult, $18.95/child, free/under 2 yrs, Nov 28, 2014 to Jan 1, 2015,10:00 AM until 5:00 PM, 856-365-3300, adventureaquarium.com
The Turtle Back Zoo opens for some evening hours to show off their annual Light Display. Elephants, reindeer and other exotic creatures made entirely out of lights make this a memorable night-time safari. And if you bring a canned good, unwrapped toy or pet food, they’ll let you in free..
Turtle Back Zoo, West Orange, NJ, Free, Jan 1, 2015 to Jan 4, 2015, 5:00 PM until 9:00 PM, 973-731-5800, turtlebackzoo.com
More Great December Activities:
Free Things to Do in December
Santa Pictures in New Jersey
Holiday Shows in New Jersey
Things to Do With Kids on New Year's Eve
Best Places to Hit the Slopes
Ultimate Guide to a Frozen Holiday
Best Places to Take Preschoolers in December