Weekend Family Fun: Hikes, Maple Sugar, Music and More

Yes, it’s cold! But whatever the weather, the weekend is always a great time to make time for fun with the family. If you’re looking for some family-friendly activities in the area, check these out!

On Friday evening, Schiff Nature Preserve (339 Pleasant Valley Road, Mendham) will host Family Fireside Fun from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM. Grab the kiddos, bundle up, and take a short walk on the red tail to the Lean-to with other nature loving families to bask in the heat and light of the firepit listening to stories of the creatures of the winter night. Our fun evening plans include playing animal trivia and roasting marshmallows amongst the stars. Appropriate for guests ages 4 and up. Member fee is $10. Non- member fee is $15. This is an outdoor event and thus, advance registration and payment are required.

All weekend at Van Saun County Park (216 Forest Avenue, Paramus), Friends of the Bergen County Zoo will continue host Let It Glow – A Holiday Lantern Spectacular from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Let it Glow is a symphony of vivid glowing colors to tease your eyes and dazzle the mind. Enjoy an enchanting stroll throughout the zoo. With over 30 scenes, these hand-made artistic wonders are more breath-taking than the last! The last night for this event is January 30th. Tickets can be purchased at the door but buying online is recommended as the event may sell out. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7.50 for children 3 and older. Children 2 and under are free.

The Frelinghuysen Arboretum (353 East Hanover Avenue, Morris Twp) continues to host the Family Photo Scavenger Hunt. Held daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, bring your camera or phone for this month’s hunt. There’s a new theme every month and the current theme is “Black & White.” There’s a lot of beauty to be seen in Frelinghuysen Arboretum’s winter garden just waiting for you to go look for it! You might even see some hints that spring is really only two and a half months away. Get outside and explore the gardens with this contact-less family photo scavenger hunt. The cost is $10 per family or group of 4 or less. Preregistration is required.

Big Apple Circus will present shows each weekend through January 30th at Lincoln Center (10 Lincoln Center Plaza, NYC). The performance puts a modern twist on a beloved classic and performing throughout the holidays and into the New Year. This all-new production will feature Guinness world record holder, daredevil, Nik Wallenda, and his fearless family of highwire walkers. Joining the Wallendas is an international cast of gold-medal-award-winning, world-class circus artists in this Reenergized, Reimagined, and Reinvigorated production of circus artistry. See these performers, previously on America’s Got Talent, The X-Factor, or YouTube, “live” in this up-close and immersive event. Tickets start at $35 and there are performances on Saturday at 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM and Sunday at 10:30 AM and 2:00 PM.

On Saturday at 10:00 AM, Cedar Bean’s Coffee Joint (575 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove) will host Guitar Bob as he returns for his monthly residency with family fun and songs for the kids and adults.

Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange) will host Wonders of the Wild! on Saturday from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. 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. Available to students ages 6 -12. The program includes a visit to the Zoo or South Mountain Reservation as weather permits. This is an in-person, drop-off program. This Saturday’s theme is Endangered Species. Tickets are $30.

On Saturday, Newark Museum of Art (49 Washington Street, Newark) will host MakerSPACE from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The MakerSPACE at The Newark Museum of Art comes back on selected Saturdays! Be part of a fun, interactive area where visitors of all ages play, tinker, and create as they make connections between the materials, processes, and concepts of artwork and natural science objects in the Museum’s collections and their own creativity. Look at the artwork in the galleries, learn more about it, then experiment with materials and processes in the MakerSPACE. Register online. This program is included with Museum admission.

Bergen County Audubon Society will host Eagle Festival at New Overpeck County Park Bandshell (40 Fort Lee Road, Leonia) on Sunday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Celebrate all things eagle with eagle walks and talks, information on eagles and more. Learn about the incredible comeback of these remarkable birds and enjoy a live birds of prey show! Any child who brings eagle artwork will receive a prize (while supplies last).

Maple Sugaring Demos will be held at Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center (247 Southern Blvd, Chatham Township) on Saturday at 1:00 PM and 2:30 PM. Learn how to identify and tap maple trees, collect sap, and make real maple syrup over a wood-fired evaporator.  This year, the program will be held entirely outdoors, so dress for the weather.  Spiles and syrup will be available for purchase, while supplies last. Cost is $5 per person. You must preregister and select your time slot.

Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange) will host their Zoo Explorers Program for four and five year olds on Sunday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Kids will use movement, stories, games, and crafts for 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.

Turtle Back Zoo will also host Nature Explorers from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM for children ages six and up. Get outside and enjoy South Mountain Reservation’s fresh air with the whole family. This Sunday’s theme is Footprint Finders. Attention all super sleuths! Take the road less traveled and learn how to use clues in the woods to track animals. Bring home your own animal track to decorate! Meet at Tulip Springs parking lot (64 Cherry Lane, West Orange). Cost is $15.

On Saturday from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM, Liberty Hall Museum (1003 Morris Avenue, Union) will host Family Fun Day: Hooray for Snow Days! Celebrate all things winter. Learn about the hibernators at Liberty Hall and try your hand at some fun winter-themed crafts. Cost is $10 for one adult and one child. Additional children are $4.

On Sunday evening, Schiff Nature Preserve (339 Pleasant Valley Road, Mendham) will host Full Moon Hike from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. If you have never had the opportunity to do some night hiking, then don’t miss this as it’s an altogether different experience. Schiff’s Full Moon Hikes are an excellent opportunity to see our beautiful landscape by the light of the moon. Discover the magic of hiking at night while the moon is at its fullest, when even the most familiar trails reveal sights and sounds, they only share with the cool, quiet night. This 2 mile, 1 ½ hour hike is perfect for all experience levels, but guests should feel comfortable walking on uneven terrain. Guests are advised to wear hiking boots, weather appropriate attire, and bring headlamps to have on hand. Member fee is $10 per person. Non-member fee is $15 per person. Registration is required.



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