80 Stangl Rd., Flemington
Kids get to ride (weekends, November 17-December 23) all the way to the North Pole with Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves, who’ll visit every passenger on the train (that means no long lines to visit St. Nick!). Enjoy hot cocoa, a cookie and a photo booth before you head home. Be sure to visit the gift shop, museum and Santa's sleigh after the ride.
Morristown Green, Morristown
This month-long festival (November 25-December 23) is the perfect chance to visit and grab photos with Santa, make holiday-themed crafts, watch ice sculpture demos, hop on vintage-style rocking horses and a mini train, plus check out thousands of lights.
The Planetarium at Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg
On Saturdays, hit seasonal shows like The Alien Who Stole Christmas, where you can follow Santa on a trip (and alien kidnapping!) through the solar system; Winter Wonder Lights, where holiday songs are played alongside lights; and Mystery at the North Pole, where the kids must figure out who sabotaged Christmas.
There’s plenty of seasonal shows hitting the spotlight this month. If you’re looking to book tickets to a classic show like A Christmas Carol, head to McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton from December 4-29, where the kids can get a taste of Ebenezer Scrooge and what living selfishly can do to a person. Head to Branchburg’s Raritan Valley Community College on December 11 for The Night Before Christmas Carol, where you can see how Dickens’ classic came to be. Be sure to stop by the State Theatre of New Jersey in New Brunswick on December 6 for Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis, where multimedia effects meet Christmas tunes, or December 7-9 for Cirque Dreams Holidaze, where 20 acts of acrobatics, theatrical numbers and stunts will knock the kids out of their chairs.
5. Christmas Tree Festivals
Nothing screams Christmas quite like the baubles, ornaments and decorations on Christmas trees. Hit the Morven Museum in Princeton from November 21 to January 6 for its Festival of Trees, where you can see displays of Christmastime from the 18th to 20th centuries. Make a stop at the Environmental Education Center in Basking Ridge for the 41st Festival of Trees, a winter wonderland of trees, wreaths and other holiday decor. Head to the Barn at Highlands Ridge Park in Chester from December 1-8 for the Festival of Trees, a peek at holiday trees, plus a visit with Santa, caroling, a sing-a-long and story hour.
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