Weekend Family Fun: Movies, Butterflies, Monster Trucks and More

The weekend is here! Ready for some fun? We’ve rounded up some family-friendly things to do in the area. Check ’em out!

Start the weekend off Movie Night at the Riverfront Park: The Secret Live of Pets. This event is presented by The Newark Museum of Art but held at Riverfront Park (730 Raymond Boulevard, Newark). The Secret Life of Pets (2016). Rated PG. The quiet life of a terrier named Max is upended when his owner takes in Duke, a stray whom Max instantly dislikes. The film will be screened in English with Spanish subtitles. This event is FREE and no registration is required. Event starts at 8pm, movie starts at 8:30pm.

This weekend, Demarest Farms (244 Wierimus Road, Hillsdale) will host three movie nights. Friday’s movie is Monsters, Inc. On Saturday, catch The Notebook. Finally, on Sunday, enjoy Playing With Fire. All shows start at 8:30 PM. Tickets are $25 per car and must be purchased online.

Westfield Garden State Plaza (One Garden State Plaza, Paramus) will host Dino Safari: A Drive Thru Adventure now through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Tickets are $49.95 per car up to 7 occupants. Grab a prehistoric passport and join over 40 giant moving dinosaurs on a globetrotting expedition at Dino Safari, a completely drive-thru dino adventure for the whole family. Get up-close-and-personal with the most fascinating prehistoric creatures from the mighty T. rex of North America to the giant amphibious Spinosaurus from Africa while you learn how dinosaurs evolved over time, where on earth they lived, and the discoveries paleontologists have made about how they ate, moved, and behaved. Beware: along the journey, earthquakes might erupt, dinosaurs could battle, and your family might just have to help save a baby dinosaur’s life! So, buckle up for the adventure of a lifetime in this completely COVID-safe experience!

The Frelinghuysen Arboretum (353 East Hanover Avenue, Morris Twp) continues to host the Family Photo Scavenger Hunt. Held daily from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM, bring your camera or phone for this month’s hunt. The July theme is “Red, White, and Blue.” The cost is $10 per family or group of 6 or less. Preregistration is required.

On Saturday from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange) will host Wonders of the Wild for ages 6 to 12. Turtle Back Zoo is an amazing classroom! The Wonders of the Wild program offers students an opportunity to participate in supplementary science and nature-themed programs and projects that facilitate scientific literacy and life-long environmental stewardship. The theme for July 10th is South America. This is a drop-off program, and the cost is $30.

The Essex County Environmental Center (621-B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland) will host a Butterfly Tent Safari beginning Saturday. The tent will be open from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM. You must book a time slot by calling the center at 973-228-8776. Walk-ins will not be accommodated. Admission is $8 per person. Children 1 year old and under are free. From 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM, there will also be a program for children ages 3 to 5, The Very Hungry Monarch Caterpillar. Come dressed for a butterfly story walk around the trails to learn about a day in the life of the monarch. Advance registration is required. Cost is $10 per child and $12 per adult, or $30 per family up to two adults and two children.

The Museum of Early Trades & Crafts (9 Main Street, Madison) will host Family Fun Day: Discovery at METC on Saturday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. The day-long indoor/outdoor event includes mini tours of the new exhibit, hands-on crafts in our Education Annex, exploring the fascinating art of solagraph photography, playing games on the METC lawn, digging into some archaeology, and musical entertainment from Popsical School of Performance! This event is free but pre-registration is recommended.

Premiere Stages at Kean Stage will present Sleeping Beauty on Saturday at 11:00 AM at Enlow Hall (215 North Avenue, Union). Sleeping Beauty is the captivating tale of a Princess put under the spell of a slightly scary witch. Not until a Prince from a distant Kingdom discovers the sleeping castle is the evil spell broken. See the adventures of the court Jester, the King, Queen and the Pages in this sparkling musical fantasy of Sleeping Beauty. Tickets are $15.

Monster Jam will be held at MetLife Stadium (One MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford) on Saturday at 7:00 PM (gates open at 5:00 PM). Monster Jam is an action-packed motorsport with world-class athletes locked in intense competitions of speed and skill. Witness heated rivalries, high-flying stunts and fierce head-to-head battles for the Event Championship. Engineered to perfection, these 12,000-pound monster trucks, including the legendary Grave Digger and Monster Energy, push all limits in Freestyle, Skills Challenge and Racing competitions. This is full-throttle family fun. This. Is. Monster Jam. Tickets are $20 to $125.

Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange) will host their Zoo Explorers Program for four- and five-year-olds. The second event of the current session will be held on Sunday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Join in for movement, stories, games, and crafts in these interactive, science-based lessons to learn about the wonderful and fascinating world of animals. This is a drop-off program, and the cost is $30 per class.

Kingsland Manor (3 Kingsland Street, Nutley) will host an Ice Cream Social on Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:0 PM. Enjoy a free ice cream sundae or other refreshing treat while relaxing on the patio. And, of course, there will be tours of the house and garden for all who want one. This event is free, but donations are gratefully accepted and applied to the scholarship fund.

New Jersey Botanical Garden (Morris Road, Ringwood) will host a Family Woodland Hike on Sunday from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM. An easy, child-friendly hike in the Garden’s trails and woodlands, where you’ll learn a bit about the plants and animals around you in a hike designed to fit the group. Smaller children may need to be carried. Wear sturdy shoes, meet at the Carriage House Visitor Center. Rain cancels. This event is free, though donations are welcome.

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