Weekend Family Fun: Holiday Lights, Winter Wonderland, Model Railway and More!

Happy Thanksgiving weekend! We’ve rounded up some fun and family-friendly things to do in the area. Check ‘em out!

Morris Museum (6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown) will kick off their Rock and Mineral Weekend on Friday from 12:00 PM to 2:00PM. The weekend will continue Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Enjoy a rockin’ weekend at the Morris Museum. Shop for treasures with top mineral, gem, and fossil dealers, pick up unique minerals from Museum surplus stock, watch a mineral magic show and catch a guest speaker. Morris Museum Mineralogical Society members will be on hand to identify your rocks and minerals and share information about the club. This event is free with Museum admission (free for members). Visit the website for a schedule of events.

This weekend, Garden State Model Railway Club (575 High Mountain Road, North Haledon) will open their 62nd Annual Model Railroad Show. See prototypical trains such as modern intermodal trains, coal drags, general freights and passenger equipment as well as the famous Santa Claus Express with various Disney and other pop culture characters for the children. Show hours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Tickets are $6 for adults and free for children under 12 when with an adult.

Van Saun County Park (216 Forest Avenue, Paramus) will host the Bergen County Winter Wonderland beginning this weekend. Hours are Friday 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Saturday 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM and Sunday 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Visitors can enjoy open air ice skating, kids’ beginner synthetic rink, Santa’s North Pole Dome and Workshop, a heated hospitality pavilion, kids’ activities and games, unlimited Bergen Express train rides and carousel rides, zoo entry and programming, indoor/outdoor beer garden, and food trucks. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and active military or veterans, and free for children age 3 and under. Check the website for a schedule of additional activities.

Turtle Back Zoo’s Holiday Lights returns this weekend for the season through December 31. Holiday lights will be open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Enjoy a walk around the zoo, featuring thousands of holiday lights. Special events will be held on various nights. This weekend, Santa will be on hand for a meet and greet. Check the website for details. Admission is free, though some events require a fee. Donations of non-perishable foods are requested.

The Polar Express Train Ride (1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany) will run on select dates through December 30th. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the classic story as they are whisked away on The Polar Express for a magical one-hour trip to the North Pole. Once on board, your car hosts will work their way through the coach and punch your golden ticket before hot chocolate and a delicious cookie are served y dancing chefs. Passengers then read along with the classic children’s book, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. Passengers will take part in caroling and onboard entertainment and receive a keepsake sleigh bell to take home. Coach Class tickets start at $46 for adults and $41 for children. First Class tickets start at $70 for adults and $65 for children. Visit the website for ride schedules.

Skylands Stadium (94 Championship Place, Augusta) will host their annual Christmas Light Show and Village through December 30. With more than two million dazzling lights on a mile-long drive-through course plus a new outdoor village, it’s a must-see holiday attraction for the whole family. The Light Show cost is $20 per carload. The Outdoor Christmas Village includes Walk-Thru Lights, Santa’s Workshop, a Skating Rink, 8’ Polar Bear Statue, Yuengling’s Ice Cream Shop and Hot Chocolate Bar, S’mores Station, Carnival Games, Concessions, and Vendors. Admission and parking for the Village is free, though some attractions have an additional cost. The light show and village are open this weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM.

On Friday at 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM, Bergen Performing Arts Center (30 North Van Brunt Street, Englewood) will present PJ Masks Save the Day Live! PJ Masks Live!, the hit live musical production from Entertainment One and Round Room, is back with an all-new show. Based on eOne’s top-rated animated series, airing daily on Disney Junior, the new show features preschoolers’ favorite pre-school superheroes and familiar songs from the show along with new music and a whole new adventure. Catboy, Owlette and Gekko will delight fans of all ages with live performances featuring world-class production, toe-tapping tunes and a whole lot of super fun as they go into the night to save the day from the Villains along with PJ Robot, who is new to the live show. Tickets are $29.50 – $99.50.

NJPAC (1 Center Street, Newark) will present Paw Patrol Live: The Great Pirate Adventure on Saturday at 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM and Sunday at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Ryder and the brave rescue dogs of Nick Jr.’s hit animated series PAW Patrol return with their new, action-packed live tour! It’s Pirate Day in Adventure Bay – and Ryder will need all paws on deck as he and the PAW Patrol discover a secret treasure map while on a mission to rescue Cap’n Turbot from a mysterious cavern. Now it’s up to Chase, Marshall, Skye and all their heroic pirate pup friends to save the day and find the pirate treasure – before Mayor Humdinger finds it first! Tickets are $23-$79.

Shrek the Musical opens this weekend at Axelrod Performing Arts Center (100 Grant Avenue, Deal Park) with performances on Saturday at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM and Sunday at 3:00 PM. Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation fil, Shrek the Musical is a Tony Award-winning fairy tale adventure featuring all new songs and a sidesplitting book. Shrek brings all the beloved characters you know from the film to life on stage and proves there’s more to the story than meets the ears. Tickets are $27 for adults and $23 for students.

The Newark Museum of Art (49 Washington Street, Newark), formerly Newark Museum, will host Creative Play on Saturday beginning at 11:00 AM. Three- to five-year-olds and their caregivers enjoy a special time before the Museum opens to the public. Explore the Museum’s art and science collections through storytelling, song, playful activities and an art-making project. November’s theme is Line – All Lines Lead to the Newark Museum. Let’s explore the way lines connect, travel and intertwine with each other, and explore art and creativity! From 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, enjoy Design Thinking Drop-Ins. Inspired by the Museum’s collections and special events, month themes are designed for visitors of all ages to drop in and experiment with the tools and materials of artists. Stay as long as you’d like. November’s theme is Piles of Prompts.

The Newark Museum of Art will also host several activities weekly on Saturday and Sundays, from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM:

  • Family Drop-Ins – November’s theme is Abstraction: Come and Explore the World of Realism and Abstraction. Is it a face? Is it a house? Let’s explore and convey the different ways we can express realistic aspects of our lives in an abstract way with the use of color, shape, line, form and gesture using the Museum’s collection of works for inspiration.
  • Imagination Station – Spark your creativity while thinking outside the box. Have fun while achieving the challenge.
  • Family Back Pack – A fun self-guided tour for the entire family! Utilize a spy glass, a timer and more, as well as prompts as your family interacts with great works of art to explore Community / Animals / People / Places!
  • Self-Guided Family Programs – These guides were developed to encourage three- to five-year-olds and their families to discover together. Designed to encourage observation and conversation, they are available free with Museum admission at the Front Desk and in the Education Lobby. Choose from the Red, Yellow and Blue Gallery Guides.

You can find information about all of the programs at The Newark Museum of Art on their website.

Barnes & Noble Clifton Commons (395 Route 3 East, Clifton) will host Storytime and Activities Featuring Dear Santa and Cookies for Santa on Saturday at 11:00 AM for children ages 2-5. Stop in for storytime and activities featuring two books about cherished holiday traditions for families.

This weekend, Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center (247 Southern Blvd, Chatham Twp) will host Apple Cidering with two sessions per day at 12:30 PM and 2:30 PM. Discover the reasons you’ve been looking at apples upside down your entire life, and help make fresh apple cider by and with an old-fashioned cider press. Enjoy a taste of sweet cider. Cost is $4 per person age 3 and up.

The Frelinghuysen Arboretum (353 East Hanover Avenue, Morris Twp) will continue to host Scarecrows in the Garden continuing on select days through December 1, 2019. Take a stroll through the gardens to see dozens of ghoulish, whimsical, and colorful scarecrows. If you’ve made your own and dropped it off, see your work of art showcased. Visit anytime between 8:00 AM and sunset. This is a free event.

Also this weekend at the Arboretum, enjoy a Family Photo Scavenger Hunt. Bring your camera or phone for this season’s hunt, ‘Scarecrows Everywhere.’ Take a photo of every item and receive a prize. Participate any time between 9:00 AM and 3:30 PM. Cost is $10 per family. This activity will continue on select days through December 1, 2019.

Each weekend, Dimenna Children’s History Museum (170 Central Park West at 77th Street, NYC) makes available a History Detective Briefcase. Calling all history detectives! Check out a free (with museum admission) History Detective Briefcase from the Membership Desk and use it to explore the Luce Center on the 4th floor, with its fascinating array of historical artifacts. Each briefcase provides fun, interactive, family-centered challenges—like games, sketching, and other activities—that help you discover even more about the past. At the end of your visit, simply return it to Membership! The Museum is open on Saturday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Sunday from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission is $22 for adults, $17 for Seniors/Educators/Active Military, $13 for students, $6 for kids age 5-13 years old, and free for kids 4 and under.

On Sunday at Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area (472 Boonton Avenue, Montville Twp.), enjoy Turkey Mountain Hike: Moderate for ages 7 and up. Join a guided hike with a naturalist on the more peaceful Turkey Mountain side of the park. The hike is from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM and the cost is $1 per person. Preregistration is required by calling 973-334-3130.

Barnes & Noble Clifton Commons (395 Route 3 East, Clifton) will host Baby & Me Storytime Featuring Baby Shark: Meet Baby Shark on Sunday at 11:00 AM. This activity is for caregivers and children 0-24 months old. Read a book and participate in activities featuring sensory growth for your little ones. Plus, get a coupon for a free tall, hot or iced Starbucks coffee.

Montclair Art Museum (3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair) will also host their Drop-In Studio on Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. 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. Each week features a new art-making activity and gallery talk inspired by current exhibitions. Reservations are not required, and visitors of all ages are welcome! This program is free for members and included with Museum admission for non-Members. The project this Sunday will include Botanical Paintings with Natural Dyes, inspired by Virgil Ortiz’s Corn Pot on view in the Rand Gallery.


If you’re looking for holiday shows, check out our round up here.

For more upcoming events, check out Baristanet Calendar.

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.