Weekend Family Fun: Storytime, Festivals and More

Happy weekend! Who’s ready for some family-friendly fun? We’ve rounded up some activities everyone can enjoy. Check ‘em out!

Watchung Booksellers (54 Fairfield Street, Watchung Plaza, Montclair) will host Storytime on the Green on Friday at 4:00 PM. This week’s story is Mister Rogers’ Gift of Music by Donna Cangelosi. For a young Fred Rogers, music was a gift. It eased the pain of childhood asthma and bullying and helped Fred express how he felt when words alone were difficult. Readers will not only learn about what music meant to Fred Rogers but find the encouragement and inspiration to brighten their own lives with song. Bring a blanket and enjoy a story and activity on the Watchung Plaza Green. Register online.

The Bergen County Fall Harvest Festival will be held this weekend at Van Saun County Park (216 Forest Avenue, Paramus). Activities include a midway, rides, food, exhibits, craft fair, and live entertainment. Admission and parking are free, but donations of non-perishable food items are requested. Visit the Facebook page for a full schedule of events. Hours are 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Friday, 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM on Saturday, and 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM on Sunday.

Circus Vazquez will be at the Garden State Plaza (1 Garden State Plaza, Paramus) beginning on Friday and running through September 26. Performances are Friday at 7:30 PM, Saturday at 12:00 PM, 3:00 PM, and 7:00 PM, and Sunday at 12:00 PM, 3:00 PM, and 6:00 PM. Circo Hermanos Vazquez was founded in 1969 in Mexico City. A dream that became a reality with hard work, dedication, and love for the circus. After touring Mexico and Central America for decades, Circus Hermanos Vazquez masks a new beginning by presenting their show now in the USA. Visit the website for ticket information.

Field Station Dinosaurs is open Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Overpeck Park (3 Overpeck Park Driveway, Leonia). Now in their 10th season, the world-class family attraction combines cutting-edge science with the creative minds of great artists to create a one-of-a-kind experience that’s thrilling, educational, and fun. The Field Station is a wild scientific expedition where over 30 life-sized, moving, realistic dinosaurs come to life. Walk along wooded trails, check out life-sized dinosaurs and enjoy a full schedule of shows, games, and activities, all of which is included in your Day Pass admission. Tickets start at $17.75. Children under 2 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. The theme for September is “Seedy Business.” Sure, everyone thinks that spring is the time for planting seeds, but plants have it all figured out. Many plants drop seeds in the fall— this gives seeds the chance to get used to the cold of winter and gives both birds and mammals opportunity to cache seeds for winter.  It’s also the perfect time for people to look for seeds, too. Grab a camera or phone and get the family outdoors! Take a photo of every item to win a prize! The cost is $10 per family or group of 6 or fewer. Preregistration is required.

Reeves-Reed Arboretum (165 Hobart Avenue, Summit) will host Discovery Weekends on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM for families with children 3 and up. Explore the Arboretum’s gardens and grounds as autumn brings amazing changes. Borrow a magnifying glass, grab an interactive activity guide, and head out to see what wonders await big and small. There may be a surprise, a clue to follow, a mystery to solve, a chance to create, and always an engaging nature activity. This is a drop-in, self-guided activity. The Arboretum also gives free guided tours on Saturdays at 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM. Tours begin at the Visitors Center. No reservations are required, and tours are on a first come, first served basis.

Fosterfields Living Historical Farm (73 Kahdena Road, Morristown) will host Farm Friends Day: All About Apples on Saturday. There will be two sessions. The first, from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, is for children ages 2-4 with an adult. The second, from 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM, is for children ages 5-7. Visit Fosterfields to see antique engines, tractors, and other machinery at work on the farm. Watch demonstrations, learn how they run, and see how farming would have been done in the past. Cost is $10 per child. Pre-registration is required.

Newark Museum of Art (49 Washington Street, Newark) will host Community Day: Fiesta Latina on Saturday from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Kick off National Hispanic Heritage Month at this festive outdoor celebration, featuring live music, dance, and a variety of activities celebrating the culture and traditions of many Latin American and Caribbean countries! Enjoy an array of local vendors. Don’t forget to bring your own blanket and pillows to enjoy a picnic in the garden, play domino, and savor something delicious from our food trucks! This event is for all ages. In case of rain, the event will move indoors. Enjoy free general admission to the Museum all day during Community Day! A full schedule of events is available online, and 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 for children 6-12 years old. 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 programs include a visit to the South Mountain Reservation, Reservoir, or Zoo as weather permits. This is an in-person, drop-off program. Cost is $30/person. This week’s theme is “Amazing Asian Animals.”

Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange) will host Amazing Asia Celebration on Saturday from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. You and your family are cordially invited to attend the celebration of the newly renovated Amazing Asia habitat! Enjoy an evening of performances, food trucks, and entertainment. Food, beverage, and merchandise will be available for purchase. At this event, guests will have the opportunity to meet our esteemed animal ambassadors in up-close animal encounters. Tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for children ages 4-17, and free for children 3 and under. There is a $5 discount for members.

Turtle Back Zoo will also host Family Nature Club on Sunday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. The program will be held at Turtle Back Rock Picnic Area in West Orange. Family Nature Club (FNC) is all about discovering the world, and playing WITH nature, not just IN nature.  Experience the sounds, smells, and sights of the outdoors with FNC as we explore our natural heritage within Essex County’s parks.  We offer two different kinds of FNC Programs to our community: one focused on exploration, the other on service. This week’s session is entitled, “Woodland Wanderers: Paint-a-palooza.” FNC is getting artsy with painting with nature, in nature! Pencils, paint, crayons, colored pencils, paint brushes, paper, and glue sticks provided. This activity is for children ages 6+. Cost is $15.

Cora Hartshorn Arboretum will host a Teddy Bear Parade on Sunday with session from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM and 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. Bring your favorite fluffy friend to the CHA for a visit to our bear doctor, to hear stories, and join an educational parade through the woods! Learn about black bears in the wild and how we can help protect them. Pre-Registration is required. Two-year-olds and younger attend for free, everyone else needs a ticket, which are $10 for members and $12 for non-members.

The Clifton Street Fair (Van Houten Avenue between Spencer Avenue and Marconi Street, Clifton) returns on Sunday from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Enjoy retail vendors, crafts, food, children’s rides, music, a car show, and more.

Montclair Art Museum (3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair) will host Sunday Studio with sessions at 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, and 3:00 PM. Visit the museum each Sunday for a fun family art-making activity inspired by the current exhibitions. Explore materials, learn new techniques, and meet other community members while enjoying creative time with your family. Each week features a different project. This program is aimed at families with children ages 5-12, but all are welcome. This week’s session is Wildcat Collage Cards with Nanci Iovino. Inspired by the exhibition Lori Field: Tiger Tarot, families this week will use the visual language and system of knowledge set forth by the tarot to collage their own “creativity cards.” This program is free with museum admission. Advance registration is required.

On Sunday from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM, children ages 4 and up can enjoy Caterpillar Kids at Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area (472 Boonton Avenue, Boonton). Look under a leaf, inside a flower and up in the air… animals are everywhere! Learn about native plants that butterflies love, the importance of pollinators and all about the insects hidden in the butterfly garden. Cost is $5 per person. Preregistration is required.

From 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM on Sunday, Watchung Booksellers (54 Fairfield Street, Watchung Plaza, Montclair) will host a bilingual Sunday Storytime in honor of Latinx History Month. Vanessa Campos will read from her new books, each one published in Spanish and in English. “Quizas sere…,”and “Maybe I Will Be” is a story about a young girl discovering that the world has a lot to offer and she has a lot to offer the world. She can grow up to be many different things including a chef, a doctor, or a teacher. There are numerous possibilities open to those who have an open mind and determination. In trying to discover her calling, Vicki Cristina is determined to enjoy the process and play and pretend to be many things. “Quizas Yo Soy…” and  “Maybe I Am…” is a tale of self-discovery. It is a story about unintentionally learning life lessons within the classroom. “Maybe I am” embraces various cultures. Kids and parents alike will hopefully examine various cultures and learn to compare and contrast them to their own. Both books are ideal for 1st graders and up.

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