Christmas is getting closer and New Jersey is getting ready with a bunch of fun and festive family activities to welcome in the holiday season. Whether you’re ready to start your shopping, take in a show or go on a hot apple cider walk there’s something for everyone to do this weekend. And, in honor of our veterans, be sure to check out some of the events that recognize all those who have served our great country.
DiDonato’s Magical Holiday Express
DiDonato Family Fun Center, Hammonton
Take a train ride through millions of Christmas lights, meet and greet Santa and his elves in his workshop. Hear stories and take photos with Mrs. Claus. The event culminates with a present from Santa!
The Polar Express Whippany
1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany
Friday – Sunday
All aboard The Polar Express! Experience the magic of The Polar Express as you take a one-hour trip to the North Pole with the whole family. Experience the sites and sounds of the family-favorite movie while enjoying hot chocolate, Walkers Shortbread, story time and a silver sleigh bell surprise.
Off the Wall Holiday Market
Whole World Arts, MarketFair, Princeton
Wednesday – Sunday
The Off the Wall Art Exhibition is expanding into a new space, Whole World Arts at MarketFair Mall. There will be artist demos and on-site shopping assistance.
- Mark Krajnak/ Jersey Style Photography
A Bronx Tale The Musical
Wednesday – Sunday
Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal
This feel-good New York musical, with a rock and bluesy score by Oscar and Tony winner Alan Menken retells Chazz Palminteri’s story of growing up in the 1960s in an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx. The show is being directed by Broadway veteran Richard H. Blake, whose 15 shows on Broadway include A Bronx Tale, Wicked, Jersey Boys and Legally Blonde.
- SIX FLAGS GREAT ADVENTURE
Holiday in the Park
Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson
Saturday – Sunday
Take a ride on your favorite Six Flags rides surrounded by glittering lights. There will be shows, rides, food and even a Wine Fest for the adults. The Drive-Thru Experience starts November 15, so get ready for a ride full of holiday cheer and explore the magic of the season.
Hot Apple Cider Hikes
Cora Hartshorn Arboretum, Short Hills
Join an educator for a guided hike through the woodlands and explore the arboretum in fall foliage. After the hike a enjoy a cup of hot apple cider. The entire event will take place outside. Masks and pre-registration required. Hikes take place at 11 am, 1pm & 3 pm and will start at the top of the driveway.
Anansi Story Festival
East Jersey Old Town Village, Piscataway
ReThink Theatrical presents Anansi Story Festival, an interactive theatrical production that explores and celebrates historical figures, myths, urban legends and folklore from New Jersey and around the world. Audience members will roam the grounds and discover characters drawn from various cultures rooted in New Jersey. The entire production is designed and performed by local artists with eclectic backgrounds and artistic specialties. This production is recommended for adults and children age 10 and up for references to war and violence.
Adventure Aquarium Sleepover
Adventure Aquarium, Camden
Saturday – Sunday
Join the Center for Aquatic Sciences at Adventure Aquarium for an awesome overnight experience. Explore the Aquarium’s amazing shark collection, as well as sea turtles, stingrays and a multitude of different fish. After your adventure, you’ll spend the night sleeping up close with one of these amazing aquatic animals. The next morning, you’ll get a chance to visit with African penguins and hippos. It’s a shark-tastic experience you’ll never forget!
Diggerland, West Berlin
Saturday – Sunday
Head out to Diggerland where the whole family can spend the day operating all the fantastic machines while enjoying live music, the famous Parade of Machines, specialty food, hayrides and fun and games. Celebrate all things winter with photos with Santa, a candy cane Hunt, fire truck rides and more.
THURSDAY – FRIDAY
True REST Float Spa
On Thursday, True REST Float Spa will offer a free, 60-minute float therapy session to any active-duty military member, reservist and/or veteran. All spa locations will close on Veterans Day to the public to serve active-duty and veterans, providing them with free float sessions in honor of their service.
Planting Trees at Folusiak Preserve
Folusiak Preserve, Montgomery
Thursday – Friday
Sign up to join us on November 11th and 12th at the Folusiak Preserve for a forest restoration tree planting. There are time slots from 9 am-11 am and 11 am-1 pm. Please wear sturdy shoes and work gloves and bring water! This project is sponsored by the Sourland Conservancy and Montgomery Township and is funded, in part, by a generous grant from One Tree Planted.
New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Veterans Day Celebration
New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, Holmdel
On November 11, the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation, in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, will host New Jersey’s official Veterans Day Ceremony at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. The ceremony will take place outside and is open to all.
Sauce for the Goose Art Market
Princeton Shopping Center, Princeton
In partnership with the Arts Council of Princeton, you’ll have the unique opportunity to purchase handmade works from local artisans and crafters working in ceramics, textiles, jewelry, fine art and more. Find one-of-a-kind gifts all while supporting creatives living and working in the community. For a peek behind the process, watch live demonstrations. Plus, local fave DJ Darius the 1st will be on hand with a special blend of tunes that’ll have you boppin’ while you’re shoppin’ local.
Santa at the Commons Opening Celebration
Bridgewater Commons, Bridgewater
Meet at Bridgewater Commons at 11 am for a festive performance by the Warren Middle School Chorus and regal trumpeters signaling Santa’s arrival. Then check out the Village Carolers as they stroll the center from noon to 2 pm. Complimentary hot chocolate will be provided by Williams-Sonoma while supplies last.
Fantasy with Lights First Night at Storybook Land
Storybook Land, Egg Harbor Township
Welcome Santa and Ms. Claus to Storybook Land for the holidays. Be sure to check out the character meet and greet, a magic show by “Ken the Magician” followed by the first lighting of Storybook Land.
Small Explorers: Harvest Time
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton
Join Miss Beth for Small Explorers Harvest Time! Small Explorers is a FREE program for children ages 5 and under and their families. Every month kids can explore a new theme through storytelling, museum objects, crafts, games and playtime! November’s theme is Harvest Time. Families have the option of participating either in the in-person session, which take place in the Museum’s Discovery Den or virtually over Zoom.
Veteran’s Day Celebration at Northlandz
Join from 11 am -4 pm to see an impressive WWI & WWII museum collection by Matt Susko and Dominick Ragno at the Largest Model Railroad in New Jersey. All Vets and their family get 40% off the Northlandz largest model Railroad in New Jersey tour that day.
Lorrimer Sanctuary, Franklin Lakes
Join a crew of young naturalists to explore the woods looking for creatures of every shape and size. Identify and record findings with the iNaturalist and Seek apps, where kids can add to the sanctuary’s knowledge of local flora and fauna. Each month will have a different focus – from birds and their food sources to frogs and salamanders.
Crafts and Drafts at Jersey Girl Brewing
Jersey Girl Brewing Company, Hackettstown
Marketspace returns to Jersey Girl Brewing Company for a crowd-favorite handmade market: Crafts and Drafts. This is an outdoor craft market alongside the biergarten featuring local artisans. Patrons are welcome to bring or have food delivered into the biergarten. Free admission to the brewery and the market. This is a family and dog-friendly event. Beer is available for purchase.
- MUSCONETCONG GORGE
Waterfall Hike at Musconetcong Gorge
Musconetcong Gorge Preserve, Bloomsbury
Join for a scenic hike at Musconetcong Gorge. This park offers fall color, rugged terrain and a small waterfall. You may see fall birds and other animals as well. This is a challenging hike, only about 1.5 miles long but several hundred feet of elevation gain and loss. Please bring water to carry with you.
5th Annual Hoboken Pizza Festival
Hoboken Happy Hours will partner with Party with Purpose as well as nine local pizza establishments to serve up slices for participants to sample, while raising money for Hoboken-based charities. In its 5th year, the festival will be held as a food tour around Hoboken.
Teen Sunset Hike
The New Weis Center for Education, Arts and Recreation, Ringwood
Sr. Educator Sarah Crosby will lead teens (and tweens) ages 11-16 on a hike through rocky forest trails on the way up to a viewpoint to watch the sunset. As teens walk amongst the trees they will talk about what makes the fall forest so special, and listen for sounds of the evening coming alive with nocturnal creatures.
Second Saturday in Collingswood
Haddon Ave., Collingswood
Enjoy live music and art on Second Saturday in Collingswood, an event started by a collection of store owners interested in promoting the arts in town. Visitors can plan a night on the town to experience the arts, music, shopping and dining.
Bacon, Sausage & Scrapple Making
Howell Living History Farm, Hopewell Twp.
When the weather turns cold, the annual work of making sausage, scrapple and bacon gets underway, giving visitors a chance to see the techniques used to make these products…then to taste some of the results! Visitors can lend a hand filling the sausage stuffer and grinding the corn used in scrapple and cornbread recipes, then taste cracklins and other delicacies made in the process.
Skylands Manor Tours
New Jersey Botanical Gardens, Ringwood
NJBG volunteer docents lead visitors on a tour of the architecture and history of Skylands Manor. In honor of Veteran’s Day, and to thank them for their service, all Veterans are invited to tour free.
Steeple Concert Pianist Min Kwon
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Westfield
Steeple Concerts at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Westfield will host pianist Min Kwon in concert on Sunday at 5 pm. The general public is cordially invited to attend. Dr. Kwon is Professor of Piano at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. A Steinway artist, she is praised for her “captivating enthusiasm, superb technique, warm emotional lyricism, and explosive energy” (Piano magazine).