If you’re looking for more than just stationary mall photos with Santa, there’s plenty of ways to get some one-on-one time with the man of the hour like swimming, breakfast and brunch, train rides and light shows to keep your lil’ tots entertained.
Have Breakfast with Santa
On December 21, hit the Market at DelVal in Doylestown, PA (9-11 am or 11:30 am-1:30 pm, $17/adults, $12/kids, free/ages 2 and under) for pics with Saint Nick, plus French toast, omelets, bacon and ham (reservations required). Stone Water in Lake Hopatcong will also host a special lunch buffet with your kids’ fave foods and photos with Santa on December 21 (noon-3 pm, $12/kid, reservations required).
Swim with Kris Kringle
Adventure Aquarium in Camden will surprise your kids with its Christmas Underwater celebration, featuring the world’s tallest underwater Christmas tree (and eight mini ones), indoor snow and letters to Santa. Don’t miss your chance to snap a pic of Scuba Santa swimming with the fish—this is open through December 30. Visit for milk and cookies with the big guy on December 21, too ($21.99-29.99). Head to Sahara Sam’s in West Berlin for Snack and Swim on weekends through December 22. Indulge in a breakfast buffet of French toast, Belgian waffles, donuts and more. Afterwards, join Santa at the waterpark for a swim ($45). On December 21, stop by Goldfish Swim School in Denville for holiday crafts, live music and a swim with Santa (free).
On weekends through December 21, take a trip down to Physick Estate in Cape May for trolley rides around the museum with Mrs. Claus as your guide and storyteller. After the ride, hop off for a meet and greet with Santa ($8-10). And don’t forget to check out Ghosts of Christmas Past Trolley Rides ($8-15) through the end of December, based on a Victorian ghost story, and Holiday Lights Trolley Rides ($10-15), a 30-minute trip showcasing decorated inns and homes to a holiday soundtrack. Every weekend until December 28, head to The North Pole Express in Flemington for a personal visit with Santa and his elves, plus hot cocoa, cookies and a photo session ($34-36). The NJ Museum of Transportation in Wall Twp. will host rides on The Christmas Express until December 22, where Santa will sit down with each and every kid aboard the train ($6). Stop by the Whippany Polar Express before December 30 and climb aboard for an hour-long ride with kids who’ll receive their own sleigh bells, sip hot chocolate, eat cookies, meet Santa and read along to The Polar Express ($41-80). Head to Galloway for December in Historic Smithville, which boasts a magical talking tree, a train ride through the Christmas village and storytime with Mrs. Claus in her cottage (free).
Celebrate the holidays (and meet Santa in NJ) at Johnson’s Farm in Medford through December 23 for a light show by the lake and a bonfire in the Discovery Barnyard, Christmas hayride and visits from Mrs. and Mr. Claus ($7). Bring your little ones to Skylands Stadium Christmas Light Show and Village in Augusta for a bedazzling light show featuring more than two million lights you can see from the comfort of your car ($20). Head inside the Christmas village for carnival games, a s’mores station, ice rink and a visit with Santa. Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson is open for the holidays, which means coasters millions of sparkling lights, live shows and Kris Kringle himself ($50). Take a trip to Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange for its Holiday Lights Spectacular, featuring 50 animal and winter character displays and a meet and greet with Father Christmas until the end of December ($10-12, free/ages under 2). Check out Storybook Land’s Christmas Fantasy with Lights in Egg Harbor Twp., where Santa will use his Christmas magic to turn on more than one million lights from the comfort of his home until December 30 ($25.50). Every weekend through December 30, Demarest Farms in Hillsdale is the place for wagon rides through 32 acres of holiday lights, s’mores, songs from singing reindeer and photos with Santa ($15/adults, $12/kids). Shadybrook Farms will host its 25th annual holiday light show featuring more than three million lights across the farm grounds, which you can check out from the comfort of your car or on a wagon ride. Then, pick your own tree and warm up by the bonfire with s’mores and hot cocoa ($15-30).
Christmas Festivals with Santa
These Christmas festivals are sure to get your family in the spirit and the perfect opportunity to meet Santa in NJ. Stop by the Christmas Festival at the Morristown Green for holiday crafts, ice sculpture demos, rides on a miniature train and visits with Santa until December 22 ($10). Throughout December, take a trip to Bergen County’s Winter Wonderland in Paramus, which boasts a variety of seasonal attractions like an open-air ice rink, Santa’s North Pole Workshop, carnival games and more ($15, free/ages 3 and under). Dickens Village in Maplewood has everything from a petting farm to horse and wagon rides to holiday concerts and crafts throughout December 21st (free). Until December 22, head to Asbury Park’s Holiday Bazaar for festive gifts from vendors, live performances and seasonal bites with Santa. Also, check out The Marketspace at Westfield for a selection of handcrafted wares and high-end gifts, plus photos with Santa until December 22. Get busy at Santa’s workshop in HGTV’s Santa HQ at the Deptford Mall until Christmas Eve. Your mini believer will be able to attend Elf Academy using augmented reality to become one of Santa’s elves. You can also bring your furry friend along for a photo with the big guy.
Where’s your kids’ favorite place to meet Santa in NJ? Let us know in the comments below.