Weekend Family Fun: Movies, Performances, History and More

Hello weekend! Are you ready for some family-friendly fun? We’ve rounded up some events and activities to help you spend your time.

Gas Lamp Teens will present Into the Woods on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30. Bring chairs, blankets and the whole family to Freeman Gardens in Glen Ridge and enjoy an evening of musical theater with Jack & the Giant, Cinderella, Little Red, the Wolf, Rapunzel, Princes and more. Tickets are $15-$20.

Pixie Dust Players will present Shrek the Musical on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 PM and Sunday afternoon at 2:00 PM. These virtual performances will be streamed. “Once upon a time, there was a little ogre named Shrek….” And thus begins the tale of an unlikely hero who finds himself on a life-changing journey alongside a wisecracking Donkey and a feisty princess who resists her rescue. Throw in a short-tempered bad guy, a cookie with an attitude and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there’s one on hand… and his name is Shrek. This 90-minute version of the beloved musical is perfect for viewers of all ages! Tickets are $15 for an individual or $30 for a group. Each ticket is good for one device.

Kick off the weekend with a viewing of Raya and the Last Dragon 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.

Also on Friday evening, Schiff Nature Preserve (339 Pleasant Valley Road, Mendham) will host Campfire Fun 6:30-8:00 PM. After an easy walk up the blue trail, participants will enjoy the crackling fire at Lookout Point while hearing stories of the creatures of the night. A fun nature quiz will teach those young and old about Schiff and the plants and animals that live here. S’mores fixings will be provided. This activity is perfect for children ages 5+. Cost is $8 for members and $12 for non-members.

Shooting Star Dance Center (403 Broad Street, Bloomfield) will offer multiple Pop Up classes on Saturday in advance of the start of the fall season. Sessions will be held by age group: Ages 2-5 at 9:15 AM, 10:00 AM, and 10:45, and then ages 6-10 at 11:30 AM. This 30-minute class is for children ages 2-5. You must be preregistered. The cost is $10.

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 August 21st is Animals and Cultures. This is a drop-off program, and the cost is $30.

Canal Day Music and Craft Festival will be held in Hugh Force Canal Park (180 West Central Avenue, Wharton) from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The Canal Day Festival is an old-time country fair that celebrates the Morris Canal and its contributions to the development of communities along its banks. Enjoy live music, free kayak and narrated boat rides along the Canal, Wallaby Tales Traveling Zoo, a fine crafts and arts show, food, a civil war encampment, blacksmith demonstrations, pony and hayrides, fireworks, and more. Additional information is available on the website.

Studio Players (14 Alvin Place, Upper Montclair) will present Ocean Adventures, a series of new works in connection with TSquared Productions on Saturday at 2:00 PM. The performance will consist of four children’s plays with a nautical twist. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online.

On Saturday evening, Schiff Nature Preserve (339 Pleasant Valley Road, Mendham) will host Full Moon Hike from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM. There is something very invigorating and exciting about the long days of summer. The short nights are a time for welcomed darkness. Join us as we hike 2 miles around the trails of Schiff to experience the magic of the full moon in the forest. Ages 10+ welcome. Cost is $8 for members and $12 for non-members.

On Sunday, the Bergen County Historical Society will host Summertime Tours at Historic New Bridge Landing (1201 Main Street, River Edge) from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. A walk in the past, a dessert fest and kites for kids all add up to a day of food, family fun and flavor of local history. Admission is $12 for adults, $7 for students and free entry for BCHS members.

This weekend, Demarest Farms (244 Wierimus Road, Hillsdale) will host movie nights. On Friday, view Batman. On Saturday, catch Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Then, on Sunday, enjoy Jurassic Park. 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 continue to host Dino Safari: A Drive Thru Adventure through September 4. It will be open from Wednesday to Sunday each week 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 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, bring your camera or phone for this month’s hunt. The current theme runs throughout August, which is “Throw Some Shade.” Travel from shady spot to shady spot and hunt for the clues to how trees survive the heat of summer.  Find all the items and win a prize. The cost is $10 per family or group of 6 or less. Preregistration is required.

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