Weekend Family Fun: Sunflowers, Balloons, Butterflies and More

Happy weekend! Summer seems to be flying by, so let’s squeeze all the fun out of it while we can! We’ve rounded up plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy over the next few days. Check ’em out!

Kick off the weekend with a viewing of Trolls: World Tour at Van Saun County Park (216 Forest Avenue, Paramus) on Friday evening. This free event begins at sunset or approximately 8:30 PM. The movie is rated PG. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets.

Westfield Garden State Plaza (One Garden State Plaza, Paramus) will continue to 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!

Also this weekend, Stony Hill Farms (15 North Road, Chester) will host a Sunflower Festival. Sunset in the Sunflowers will take place on Friday from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Enjoy a beautiful setting for photography, take a wagon ride to the cutting field to select some blooms to take home, then enjoy some homemade ice cream and fresh fruit. On Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, the festival will feature a wagon ride into the fields, time for photos, live music, and vendors. Tickets for each day are $19.99-$42.99 with various options and add-ons.

The New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning will be held at Solberg Airport (39 Thor Solberg Road, Readington, NJ) this weekend, Friday through Sunday. The festival includes twice daily mass ascensions of up to 100 special shape and sport hot air balloons, concerts, non-stop family entertainment, hundreds of crafters and vendors, great food, fireworks, a balloon glow, and more. Tickets are $32 for adults and $12 for children ages 4-12. Children under three are free. Note that these prices are subject to change. There are additional charges for balloon rides and reserved seating concerts. The festival will be open on Friday from 1:00 PM to 10:00 PM, Saturday from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM, and Sunday from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Visit the website for more details.

As part of the Festival of Ballooning, Laurie Berkner will perform her first in-person, live, solo concert in more than a year on Friday at 1:30 PM. Tickets are $8-$35 for general admission lawn seating and $35-$65 for reserved seating.

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. This is the final weekend for the July theme, which is “Red, White, and Blue.” The cost is $10 per family or group of 6 or less. Preregistration is required.

Shooting Star Dance Center (403 Broad Street, Bloomfield) continues to offer Pop Up classes on Saturdays at 9:00 AM. This 30-minute class is for children ages 2-5. You must be preregistered. This cost is $10.

On Saturday from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, The CoCoCo (271 Grove Avenue, Verona) will host a Grand Opening Party. The event will feature live reggae music, free drip coffee, free smoothie samples and bites, discounts on retail, outdoor games, balloons, and airbrush tattoos for the kiddos, a ribbon cutting, and more!

The Essex County Environmental Center (621-B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland) will continue to host a Butterfly Tent Safari this 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 5 and up, Buzz Into Action With Insect Education. Love insects? Join this event for family-fun and a hands-on presentation about Bugs n’ Butterflies. 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 New Weis Center for Education, Arts & Recreation (150 Snake Den Road, Ringwood) will host Exploring the Shady Forest Floor on Saturday from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM. In the heat of the summer, the best place to be can be under the shady trees in a lush, leafy forest. Many creatures agree, making the forest floor a diverse ecosystem of plants, mushrooms, insects, and small vertebrates. On this hike we will get up close to the habitat beneath our feet. Bring comfortable boots for this moderately paced hike through the forest and be prepared to bend/kneel down to get a closer look. All ages welcome, child to seniors! Tickets are $8 per person.

Premiere Stages at Kean Stage will present Pinocchio on Saturday at 11:00 AM at Enlow Hall (215 North Avenue, Union). Who could resist the beloved story of the little wooden puppet whose dearest wish is to become a real boy? Lovingly told, this new rendering of the timeless tale is woven with spirited music and comic fun. Join Pinocchio as he disobeys, follows the wrong leader, and makes foolish choices. And root for him as he learns his lessons about honesty, bravery, and love! Tickets are $15.

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 24th is Animal Engineers. This is a drop-off program, and the cost is $30.

Family Ag Day with Hazelman Farms will visit The Wayne Museum (533 Berdan Avenue, Wayne) on Sunday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Enjoy activities, produce for sale, music, programs, museum tours, and a petting zoo.

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