Weekend Family Fun: Kwanzaa, Mary Poppins, Storytimes and More

Happy weekend! If you’re ready to have some family-friendly fun, we’ve rounded up some events in and around the area to help you spend your time. Check ‘em out!

Van Saun County Park (216 Forest Avenue, Paramus) will continue to host the Bergen County Winter Wonderland 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 9:00 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 programing, 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. This weekend there will be Santa visits, a balloon artist, ice carving, and face painting. Check the website for a schedule.

Turtle Back Zoo’s Holiday Lights (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange) continues nightly 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. Check the website for details. Admission is free, though some events require a fee. Donations of non-perishable foods are requested.


Also at the Zoo this weekend, enjoy Storytime With Mrs. Claus. Choose from Friday at 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM, Saturday at 3:30 PM, 5:00 PM, and 6:00 PM, and Sunday at 3:30, 5:00 PM, and 6:00 PM. Hear a holiday story read by Mrs. Claus and meet one of her animal friends. Light refreshments and a holiday cookie are included with a ticket. This activity is recommended for children ages 12 and younger. Children under 2 are free. All others are $10. Register online.


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 from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM, Saturday from 4:30 PM to 11:00 PM, and Sunday from 4:30 PM to 10:00 PM.

Montclair Make Music Day Winter Solstice 2019 will be held on Saturday beginning at 12:00 PM. Make Music Winter is a free, participatory musical event that turns audiences into music makers. Community members will march through Montclair Center, visiting each new Montclair Mural (and some not so new murals too!) stopping at each for music and to add new musicians, ending at Cool Cat Music for an indoor free concert. The pre-parade event begins at 12:00 PM at 180 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair. Bring your own instruments or use a bell, whistle or drum provided. For a full schedule of events and the parade route, visit the website.

NJPAC (1 Center Street, Newark) will host a Kwanzaa Family Festival and Marketplace on Saturday. The Festival will run from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM and the marketplace will be open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Celebrate culture and community at this free event. The festival features West African dance and drums, Kwanzaa ceremony and storytelling, arts & crafts, live performances and more. The marketplace offers custom and cultural clothing, handcrafted jewelry, original designer hats, bath and body products, candles, books, art and more.

Barnes & Noble Clifton Commons (395 Route 3 East, Clifton) will host Storytime and Activities Featuring Construction Site on Christmas Night on Saturday at 11:00 AM. It’s Christmas time at your favorite construction site! After the trucks finish their big, important job, they receive their very own Christmas surprise. Activities to follow, plus, get a coupon for a grilled cheese sandwich with milk or juice for $4.

Nutley Public Library (93 Booth Drive, Nutley) will host a STEAM Story Time on Saturday from 10:30 AM to 11:30 PM in the Children’s Room.
Explore the worlds of science, technology, engineering, art and math with stories and fun activities. No registration required.

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. December’s theme is Shapes – Circles, Squares and Triangles, Oh My! Have fun connecting simple shapes to great works of art in the Museum’s collection – from the Seeing America galleries to the simple and complex shapes in the Asian galleries. From 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, enjoy Maker Space Drop-Ins for children ages 5-12. Full STEAM Ahead! Children will be introduced to the different elements of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics through activities that push their creativity and critical thinking.

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 – December’s theme is Connections: Here, There and Everywhere! Connect sequences of ideas, history, relationships and material. Associations link worldly and local community happenings. Everything and everyone is connected.
  • 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!

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

Frelinghuysen Arboretum (353 East Hanover Avenue, Morris Twp) will host Always Evergreen on Saturday from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM for ages 6 and up. Using a variety of fresh-cut seasonal greens, learn to create a seasonal centerpiece perfect for a holiday display. All supplies provided. Cost is $20 per person. Preregistration is required by calling 973-326-7601.

Just Kidding at Symphony Space (2537 Broadway at 95th Street, NYC) will present Suzi Shelton on Saturday at 11:00 AM. Celebrate Winter Solstice with Suzi Shelton’s eclectic mix of pop music with a modern edge. Featuring special guests Joanie Leeds and Sonia De Los Santos. Cost is $14 for members and $17 for non-members.

Montclair Public Library (50 S. Fullerton Avenue, Montclair) will host Winter Move and Grove with Miss Jolie for ages 2-6 on Saturday from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Enjoy a winter music party for little ones with Miss Jolie as she plays holiday favorites in addition to original interactive songs. Singing, dancing, and clapping are encouraged! Jolie Della Valle performs with her ukulele for children and is the author of “Georgie and the Ants in the Pants.” Registration is required. Online registration is available for Montclair Public Library card holders. All other should call to be added to the waiting list.

Old Library Theatre (10-10 20th Street, Fair Lawn) will present Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins on Friday and Saturday at 7:00 PM, and on Sunday at 2:00 PM. The jack-of-all-trades, Bert, introduces us to the troubled Banks family. Young Jane and Michael have sent many a nanny packing before Mary Poppins arrives on their doorstep. Using a combination of magic and common sense, she must teach the family members how to value each other again. This Youth Production features performers ages 7-18. Tickets are $20 for adults and children age 13+, $18 for seniors 60+, and $12 for children 12 and under.

The Frelinghuysen Arboretum (353 East Hanover Avenue, Morris Twp) will host Winter Break Family Photo Scavenger Hunt beginning Saturday and continuing daily through December 31. Bring your camera or phone for this special hunt, “Frosty!” Discover the beauty of the winter garden. 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.

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.

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. This Sunday, we’ll be making Mirror Collages inspired by MAM’s current exhibition, Impossible Shadows: The Art of Larry Kagan. This event is free for members and included with Museum admission for non-members.

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

For more upcoming events, check out Baristanet Calendar.

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