Weekend Family Fun: Nature, Evolution, Diary of Wimpy Kid, and More

Welcome to November! This is the weekend we change the clocks, so don’t forget to “fall back” on Saturday. If you’re ready to have some fun, we’ve rounded up some things to do in and around town. Check ‘em out!

On Saturday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, Van Vleck House & Gardens (21 Van Vleck Street, Montclair) will host Outdoor Adventures: Autumn Leaves. Join others in the garden as you explore and learn with the fun self-guided activity kits. Registration is required and includes everything you need to participate in the program. Outdoor Adventures Activity Kits will be available outside the Raymond Family Education Center on the day of the program. An Educator will be on hand to explain the topic of the day and to answer questions. Ages 4 – 11, but all are welcome.

On Saturday at 1:00 PM, Watchung Booksellers will host Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid Big Shot Drive-Thru Tour at Montclair High School (Freshman Building Parking Lot, South Fullerton and Chestnut Street).  The one-and-only Jeff Kinney will be visiting Montclair to celebrate his new book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Big Shot. In the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Drive-Thru Party, families will drive through sports-themed interactive vignettes, followed by the final moment when Kinney will personally deliver children their signed copy of Big Shot. Tickets start at $12.98 per car.

For the final weekend, Heaven Hill Farm will host their Great Pumpkin Festival from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy a variety of activities including a tractor hayride, mad scientist corn maze, obstacle course, animals and more. Admission starts at $19.99 per person. Other activities including carnival rides, paintball, sand art, and more are available for an additional fee.

On Saturday at 10:15 AM, The Newark Museum of Art (49 Washington Street, Newark) will host Creative Play: Mini Zoo Edition! Enjoy a fun time with friends from Turtle Back Zoo. There will be a story time and a presentation of live animals. This program is free and designed specifically for children ages 3-5 and their caregivers. Register online.

Shooting Star Dance Center (403 Broad Street, Bloomfield) will host pop up dance classes on Saturdays at 9:00 AM. Dazzle, twirl, leap and play with one of our instructors as they lead your dancer through a 30-minute dance adventure. Pop up classes are a great way to check out the studio without committing to more than 30 minutes at a time. All pop-up classes are $10. You must register in advance.

Drop into Craft Saturdays at Dey Mansion (199 Totowa Road, Wayne) for a free parent and child art project. The event is open from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Note that this is a different time than previous weeks. New projects every week and all materials are included. The event will be held outdoors, weather permitting. RSVP online.

City Green Farm Eco-Center (171 Grove Street, Clifton) will host Preserving the Garden Youth Workshop on Saturday with sessions at 10:00 AM and 11:30 AM. Learn how to preserve the fruits of the garden through the winter. For kids ages 6-10. Parent(s) must accompany children to this program. This program is fully outdoors. Cost is $8. Register online.

On Saturday, Montclair Public Library will host a virtual session, The Origins of Upright Walking with Professor Jeremy DeSilva, who will talk to kids and teens on Zoom about the origins and evolution of upright walking. Learn about the origins and evolution of upright walking in the human lineage with Prof. Jeremy DeSilva, a paleoanthropologist specializing in the locomotion of the first apes (hominoids) and early human ancestors (hominins), and author of the recently published First Steps: How Walking Upright Made Us Human. Registration is required.

Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange) will host Wonders of the Wild! on Saturday from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. This program offers students ages 6-12 an opportunity to participate in supplementary science and nature-themed programs and projects that facilitate scientific literacy and life-long environmental stewardship. This week’s session is Flight. Cost is $30 for this in-person, drop off program.

On Saturday from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, The New Weis Center for Education, Arts & Recreation (150 Snake Den Road, Ringwood) will host Fall Fires: Nature Hike & Campfire for ages 6 and up. Experience the magic of this special season with a naturalist-led hike, followed by a campfire and s’mores. Cost is $8 per person. Tickets are available online.

The Frelinghuysen Arboretum (353 East Hanover Avenue, Morris Twp) continues to host the Family Photo Scavenger Hunt. Held daily from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, bring your camera or phone for this month’s hunt. There’s a new theme every month and October’s theme, “Scarecrows in the Garden,” is being held over one more week. Can you use the clues to find all the scarecrows in this fun family photo scavenger hunt? Take a photo of each and win a prize. The cost is $10 per family or group of 6 or less. Preregistration is required.

On Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Reeves-Reed Arboretum (165 Hobart Avenue, Summit) will host Discovery Weekends! The Arboretum is home to many interesting wildlife. Some animals can be spotted out in the open while others shy away from view. As you explore the Arboretum grounds, look for clues and you’ll discover some interesting facts about these wild animals that call the Arboretum home. Drop in any time for the self-guided program for families with children 3 and older. The program is free to visitors, but donations are appreciated.

On Sunday from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, The Jewish Museum will host Picture This! Grateful Vessels Virtual Tour and Art Workshop. Explore imaginative vessels in the shape of animals from Israel and ornate beaded boxes from South Africa on a virtual tour. Transform and decorate an everyday container with buttons, beads, wire, clay, and fabric. Use your vessel to collect funds for charity (tzedakah) or to gather grateful messages for family and friends. Get creative together through this intimate and multi-faceted program inspired by works of art in the Jewish Museum’s collection. This program is for families with kids ages 4 and up. Tickets are free with RSVP, though donations are appreciated.

On Sunday, Montclair Art Museum (3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair) will host Sunday Studio from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Inspired by the installation By Our Own Hands, families will experiment with collage techniques to create a unique flag that represents their own personal shared history and identity. This event is free with museum admission and advance registration is required. It is intended for families with children ages 5-12, but all are welcome.

On Sunday, WBGO will host WBGO Kids Jazz Concert: Don Braden – TD James Moody Jazz Festival at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (1 Center Street, Newark) from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM. WBGO celebrates the TD James Moody Jazz Festival 2021 with a concert for young people. Saxophonist and flutist Don Braden is known around the world as an exciting and interactive jazz soloist, a creative and prolific composer, and a passionate and energetic educator. For over 30 years he has toured the world leading his own ensembles, as a special guest, and as a sideman with Jazz greats Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Roy Haynes, and many others. He has composed music in various styles for ensembles ranging from duo to full symphonic orchestra, for recordings (including 22 CDs as a leader and over 80 as a sideman), film, and the television networks Nickelodeon and CBS. The program is free, but registration is required. All adults must be accompanied by a child.



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