Weekend Family Fun: Lunar New Year, Art, Nature and More

Who is ready for the weekend? If you’re looking for some family-friendly things to do in and around the area, you’re in the right place! We’ve rounded up plenty of activities to help you spend your time, so check ’em out!

The Frelinghuysen Arboretum (353 East Hanover Avenue, Morris Twp) continues to host the Family Photo Scavenger Hunt. Held daily from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, bring your camera or phone for this month’s hunt. The theme for the January theme is “Black and White.” Winter is grey and white and black — or is it? Grab your phone and search for the beauty of winter and all the colors that are in the garden. The cost is $10 per family or group of 6 or fewer. Preregistration is required.

Newark Museum of Art (49 Washington Street, Newark) will host January Family Saturdays on Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Enjoy a day of fun activities for the whole family, including a MakerSPACE, Planetarium Shows, Creative Play: Storytelling, and Family Drop-In: Cityscape and Landscape Collages. Visit the website for a full schedule of activities. This activity is free with general admission tickets.

Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center (247 Southern Boulevard, Chatham Township) will host Maple Sugaring for Littles on Saturday at 10:00 AM. This program is for children ages 2-5. Since the little ones are too young for the regular maple sugaring demos, the GSOEC is offering a special session just for them. Enjoy a maple sugaring story and a walk and talk with a naturalist to learn all about making maple syrup from trees. Finish by trying some tasty syrup! Preregistration is required. The cost is $7 per child.

Wayne YMCA (1 Pike Drive, Wayne) will host Winterpalooza Membership and Summer Camp Open House on Saturday from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Visit the Wayne YMCA for a free afternoon of family fun activities, including a bounce house, bubble soccer, gaga, carnival games, snowball fights, a dance party with Bach 2 Rock, and so much more. The Winter Farmers Market will also be onsite. Registration link is provided on the Facebook event page.

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 “Animal Anatomy”

On Saturday, The New Weis Center for Education, Arts & Recreation (150 Snake Den Road, Ringwood) will host Winter Ecology Hike for ages 6-adult from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. Enjoy a guided hike and focus on the beauty of nature that stands out during the winter months. Take notice of life in the winter woods, talk about how plants and animals adapt, and search for some amazing examples of animals that have mastered survival in the winter. The cost is $10 per person.

Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center (247 Southern Boulevard, Chatham Township) will host Maple Sugaring Demos for ages 6 and up on Saturday and Sunday 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. Finish with a syrup taste test! This program will be held entirely outdoors, so dress for the weather. Syrup will be available for purchase, while supplies last.

American Dream Mall (1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford) will host American Youth Celebrate Chinese New Year on Saturday from 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM on The Dream Stage (Court A, Level 1). The young people of the world make their contribution to Lunar New Year with an afternoon-long celebration of art, culture, music, dance, and more. This event is part of the Mall’s Lunar Near Year Celebration. RSVP online.

NJPAC (1 Center Street, Newark) will present Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company: Year of the Black Water Rabbit on Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 PM. Enjoy another fantastic celebration of the Lunar New Year! This year, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company welcomes the coming of the Spring of 2023, the Year of the Black Water Rabbit. It’s a spectacular experience for all ages, combining traditional Chinese dance with modern flair. The Red Lions dance to a hip hop beat. The Golden Dragon brings good luck and fortune for the coming year. Dancers, acrobats, and musicians perform in dazzling red and gold costumes. Don’t miss this great Newark tradition, going strong for two decades. Tickets are $27-$35.

Morris Museum (6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown) hosts Spark!Lab on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Spark!Lab offers any child (and accompanied by an adult), a new informal approach to hands-on learning. Created by the Smithsonian, Spark!Lab ignites kids’ ingenuity with fun, hands-on challenges. Instead of following instructions, kids tap into their natural creativity to tackle engineering and design challenges in Spark!Lab’s projects stations. Specially designed for our youngest inventors (Ages 1-4), Spark!Lab’s new Young Inventor Space features a train and an exploration table filled with unique tools to spark creativity and learning.

Newark Museum of Art (49 Washington Avenue, Newark) will also host January Family Sundays on Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Activities include a MakerSPACE for kids of all ages, which is a fun interactive area where kids play, tinker, and create on their own. There’s a Family Drop-In: Treasure Boxes for kids ages 5-10, where kids can start the year with their very own keepsake box. Check the website for scheduling. This event is free with general admission.

Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange) will host Turtle Back Zoo Explorers for children ages to 5 on Sunday at 10:00 AM. Join in for movement, stories, games, and crafts, in interactive, science-based lessons to learn about the wonderful and fascinating world of animals. Cost is $30 per child.

On Sunday, Montclair History Center will host Guided House Tour: Many Voices, with tours at 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM, and 2:00 PM. Stop by and receive a guided tour of the Crane House & Historic YWCA! Hear the many voices of the men and women who lived, worked, and played in the house throughout its 226-year history. While you’re there, see what’s cooking on the hearth and explore the herbs in the Landsberger Learning Garden. Admission is $12/adult, $10/student/senior, and $8/children under 18. Children under 2 and MHC members are free. No pre-registration is required.

Montclair Art Museum (3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair) will host Sunday Studio: Landscape Collages with Nanci Iovino, 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. Inspired by the exhibition George Inness: Visionary Landscapes, families this week will use a variety of torn paper to create their own personal landscape collage. This program is free with museum admission. Advance registration is required.

Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange) will host Family Nature Club: Nature Adventurers on Sunday from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. This program is for all ages and abilities, though best recommended for 6+, as well as teens and adults. Nature Adventurers is an FNC hiking program where you explore our local ecosystems, from rivers to forests and more.  Participants strive to foster discovery of NJ’s fascinating and diverse wildlife and the roles that they fill within our local ecosystems, no matter how big or small.  Most programs have a discovery theme, but in the spirit of nature, anything can happen! This event’s them is “Snow School” Meet at South Mountain Dog Park. Cost is $15.

On Sunday from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM, American Dream Mall (1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford) will host a Special Lunar New Year Concert by Bravura Youth Orchestra. The world-traveling Bravura Youth Orchestra brings their memorable brand of symphonic music to American Dream with a concert celebrating Lunar New Year. RSVP online.

Newark Winter Village continues this weekend and will be open Wednesday through Sundays through January 31. The much-loved holiday tradition at Mulberry Commons Park, located just outside the Prudential Center (25 Lafayette Street, Newark), has ice skating, Go-Karts, various games and activities, shopping, and cozy heated private igloos to enjoy hot cocoa and treats. There will also be many “Instagram-worthy” photo-ops available throughout the winter village. In addition to fun winter activities, visitors can shop in the stylish open-air holiday marketplace with wares from local vendors. There will be food and sweet treats to purchase, as well as hot cocoa to warm you up after a few trips around the ice rink. Admission is free, but reservations and tickets are required for Go Karts, ice skating, and private igloos.

Westfield Garden State Plaza is hosting Paw Patrol Experience at Camp (One Garden State Plaza, Paramus) through January 31. Do you have what it takes to become a member of the PAW Patrol? Suit up and join the bravest pups around in an immersive, one-of-a-kind experience in Adventure Bay. Created by CAMP, the experts in all things family fun, kids of all ages will be able to live out their rescue team dreams through themed environments, games, and activities celebrating their favorite group of adventurous canines. The experience is open daily from 10:00 AM to 9:30 PM.

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