Weekend Family Fun: Dragons Love Tacos, Madeline, Story Pirates, Polar Express and More!

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This Weekend Family Fun column is sponsored by Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop. Visit Rocket Fizz for candy, gifts and more!

Another week has come and gone, so it’s time to find some fun and family friendly things to do over the weekend. Check out these events we’ve rounded up for you!

The Holiday Lights Spectacular continues at Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange). From 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night, take a winter stroll through the Zoo under the sparkling lights of over 50 winter and animal characters. There will be a Meet & Greet with Santa Claus on Saturday and Sunday, with the option to purchase professional photos. This weekend will also feature princess characters in the party pavilion. The Spectacular will be open nightly from December 7 through December 31 (closed December 24 and December 25). Admission is free, but a donation of non-perishable food items, new toys, or gently used coats is requested.

Summit Playhouse (10 New England Avenue, Summit) will present Madeline’s Christmas this weekend and next. Performances are Friday night at 7:30 PM, and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM. “In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived 12 little girls in two straight lines.”  So begins this delightful story of Madeline’s Christmas! Madeline’s Christmas is a magical holiday treat! Based on Ludwig Bemelman’s famous book series, Madeline continues to inspire generations with her strength, determination and kind heart. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for children and students under 18.

On Friday evening at 7:00 PM, Barnes and Noble of Clifton Commons (395 Route 3 East, Clifton) will host a special event in celebration of the 30th anniversary of The Polar Express. Stop in for this beloved Christmas story featuring a young boy who is welcomed aboard on a magical trip to the North Pole where he gets to make his Christmas wish. Get free hot chocolate and a cookie from the Café, and don’t forget to wear your favorite cozy pajamas.

Continuing this weekend, the Model Railroad Club (295 Jefferson Avenue, Union) will host the 2018 Annual Light & Sound Show. The layout is transformed into a theatre and the trains run to a professional narrated script. It is an event enjoyed by thousands of guests each year. The show will be open on Saturday from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and Sunday 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (age 60+), and $5 for children age 3-11.

This weekend Paper Mill Playhouse (22 Brookside Drive, Millburn) will present Theatreworks USA’s Dragons Love Tacos on Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 AM. Sunday’s performance is autism friendly. A collection of stories based on popular books including “Dragons Love Tacos”, “Interrupting Chicken”, “The Dot”, “Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride”, and “Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa School Day”. This performance is for children ages 5 and up. All tickets are $15.

Just Kidding at Symphony Space (2537 Broadway at 95th Street, NYC) will continue its 2018-19 season with a performance by Elizabeth Mitchell on Saturday at 11:00 AM. Join two-time GRAMMY Award nominee and Smithsonian Folkways artist Elizabeth Mitchell and her family band for a gorgeous morning of gentle, homespun renditions of songs by Bob Marley, The Velvet Underground, David Bowie, Gillian Welch, and more. The quiet sweetness and intimacy of Elizabeth’s concerts cement her as an icon of today’s family music scene. Tickets are $14 for Members and $17 for Non-Members.

Kean Stage’s Wilkins Theatre (1000 Morris Avenue, Union) will host The Muppets’ Christmas Carol. This film is the Muppets version of the Charles Dickens holiday classic about a miser who is visited by three ghosts. It features Kermit the Frog as the penny-pincher’s hardworking and loyal employee. The film is rated G. Tickets are $10.

On Saturday afternoon, Central Presbyterian Church (46 Park Street, Montclair) will host their Second Saturdays program from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Stop by and create a wish or pray for the world and enjoy the wish tree. This month’s program also features Ariel Rivka Dance, who will be leading an interactive dance performance.

On Saturday and Sunday morning, Black Box Performing Arts Center (200 Walraven Drive, Teaneck) will continue its presentation of Junie B. Jones The Musical at 11:00 AM. This heartwarming adaptation of the best-selling book series by Barbara Park follows Junie B. as she fins a way to navigate the ups and downs of a new school year. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for students and seniors, and $12 for kids under $12.

On both Saturday (2:00 PM and 6:00 PM) and Sunday (10:00 AM, 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM), NJPAC (1 Center Street, Newark) will present PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue.” Ryder and the heroic rescue pups of Nick Jr.’s hit animated series PAW Patrol return with their rollicking, action-packed live tour. Tickets are $23-$79.

Newark Museum (49 Washington Street, Newark) will host its Family Drop-Ins program on this and every Saturday. December’s theme is Elements of Nature ~ Earth, Water, Fire, Air. Explore and create using inspiration from the Museum’s collection that reflects the elements that are around us daily. Drop in anytime between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM.   This program is included in the price of admission.

Essex County Environmental Center’s Garibaldi Hall (621a Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland) will host a 4-H Holiday Event: Cookies with Santa on Saturday from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM. Visit Santa’s workshop to have family pictures taken with him – and bring your pet, too! Enjoy hot chocolate, juice and cookies. Cost is $10 per family of 4. Additional family members are $2 each. Pets are free. Kids can write and decorate letters to leave for Santa as well. Registration is required and can be completed online.

On Saturday, Morris Museum (6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown) will feature Nugget & Fang in their Bickford Theater. Two unlikely pals, Nugget, a minnow, and Fang, a shark, discover true friendship and the power of individuality. This show is appropriate for children ages 3-9. Tickets are $10 for members and $12 for non-members. There will be two performances, 11:00 AM and 1:30 PM.


Montclair Art Museum (3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair) will host CineKids: Snow and the Magical Trees (Neige et les arbres magiques) on Saturday at 3:30 PM. Join MAM and the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) for a screening of Snow and the Magical Trees (Neige et les arbres magiques) by Antoine Lanciaux and Sophie Roze (2014). On the eve of summer vacation, Prune goes on the traditional end of the year school trip. However, a terrible snow storm paralyzes the city… Watch this beautiful winter tale along with three other charming stories, where trees come to life and surprise you at every turn. The 51-minute screening will be followed by a related a related art activity. Knowledge of French is not required to enjoy the program.  Ages 6+. Register online.

Barnes & Noble at Clifton Commons (395 Route 3 East, Clifton) will host Storytime and Activities Featuring If You Give a Mouse a Cookie on Saturday at 11:00 AM. What do you do if you a hungry mouse shows up on your doorstep? Give him a cookie, of course. Stop in for storytime and get a coupon from the Café for a grilled cheese sandwich with milk or juice for $4! Activities to follow.

Frelinghuysen Arboretum (353 Hanover Avenue, Morris Twp) will host Gingerbread Wonderland on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Guests young and old marvel at the creativity and skill that characterizes this charming exhibit of hundreds of edible structures. Past year’s “gingerbreads” have included models of Harry Potter scenes, Notre Dame Cathedral, Santa’s Workshop, Japanese temples, Chinese pagodas, European castles, and much more. Cost is $2 per person. Children under 2 are free.

Kean Stage’s Wilkins Theatre (1000 Morris Avenue, Union) will present Snowkus Pocus on Sunday at 3:00 PM. Young Brianna is whisked away to an enchanted winter wonderland where she encounters the colorful characters that inhabit this magical world. A charming tale told through dazzling cirque, breathtaking ballet and incredible acrobatics that will inspire imagination and melt hearts. Tickets are $18.

On Sunday, Newark Museum (49 Washington Street, Newark) will host its next installment of Second Sundays from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM. This month is Global Holiday Fusion II. This annual holiday celebration returns for the second year. Get into the holiday spirit with a global fusion of food-inspired activities, performances and art from the Museum’s collection including the elegant Victorian decorations of the Ballantine House, the Museum’s own Victorian mansion, to traditions from Asia, Africa and the Americas. Highlights include Cooking workshops featuring holiday staples from Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, holiday food carving workshop, holiday food beauty activities and demos, Ugly Sweater Food Contest: compete by decorating your own ugly sweater with food items, and live musical entertainment and performances. RSVP online.

Story Pirates will perform their Flagship Show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (555 West 42nd Street, NYC) on Sunday at 12:00 PM. The Story Pirates Flagship Show features a cast of NYC’s most talented comedians and musicians performing stories written entirely for grownups and kids alike. Each show features some greatest hits and several new stories by kids in attendance. Bonus: Free cookies for the whole audience! Tickets are $35.

Montclair Art Museum (3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair) will host its Sunday Drop-In Studio. Drop by MAM’s Helen & Bill Geyer Art Studio to explore a range of art materials and processes based on artwork on view in the galleries. Open-ended activities are designed to spark creativity in artists of all ages and abilities with seasoned MAM studio instructors standing by to provide hands-on assistance and technical advice. Reservations are not required, and visitors of all ages are welcome! This event is free for members and included in museum admission for non-members.

Check out listing of local holiday related events happening this weekend including The Nutcracker, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Laurie Berkner.

For more upcoming events, check out Baristanet Calendar.

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