Best Local Holiday Everything Guide 2019

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November 29th to December 31st 5:00 PM until 9:00 pm (West Orange, NJ) Take a nighttime stroll through the Turtle Back Zoo Holiday Lights to see more than 50 illuminated winter scenes and animal characters. Donations of non-perishable food items, new unwrapped toys, and new or gently used winter coats are appreciated and collected at the entrance. Some of the zoo’s vendors remain open for late-night snacks, including cocoa and cookies, and you can even grab a ride on the carousel (for a fee). FREE

November 15th to December 31st 5:00 PM until 9:00 pm (Augusta, NJ) The spectacular Skylands Stadium Christmas Light Show & Village is back for its fifth festive year! With more than two million dazzling lights on a mile-long drive-through course PLUS a new outdoor village, it’s a must-see holiday attraction for your whole family. The Christmas Light Show & Village will be open rain, snow, or shine on select dates and times check website for details. $20 per carload

November 23rd – January 26th (Bronx, NY ) Don’t miss the  New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show. Enchanting model trains zip through a display of more than 150 landmarks, each re-created with bark, leaves, and other natural materials—all under the twinkling glow of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Marvel at G-scale locomotives humming past familiar sights on nearly a half-mile of track. This year’s exhibition showcases Lower Manhattan, with iconic skyscrapers, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island sharing the spotlight among old and new favorites. Making its debut in the collection is the historic Battery Maritime Building along with two classic Staten Island Ferry boats. Tickets $10-$30

November 25th to January 12th 10:00 am-5:45 pm (NYC, NY)  Marvel at the Origami Holiday Tree at the Museum of Natural History  An annual Museum tradition, the delightfully decorated Origami Holiday Tree and two merrily lit 19-foot Holiday Barosaurs welcome visitors to the Museum throughout the holiday season. The theme of this year’s 13-foot tree is Oceans of Origami, with models inspired by the Museum’s special exhibition Unseen Oceans. Attendees can expect to see angelfish, lionfish, anglers, various sharks, whales, dolphins, tangs, eels, among other treasured models. Volunteers, including local, national, and international origami artists, fold year-round, contributing to a collection of over 1,000 models that will be displayed on the tree. Free with museum admission.

Monday November 15th until February 24th (Midtown NYC) Traveling into NYC? Don’t miss the Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal.  Lionel trains travel along two 34’ long “O” gauge model train layout, where onlookers will start off in a mini Grand Central and follow along as the route heads toward the North Pole as work from Ebony Bolt is displayed throughout the exhibit.  All ages. FREE

December 6th to Sunday December 15th 10:00 am – 4:30 pm (Morris Township, NJ) Get lost in a Gingerbread Wonderland at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum and admire dozens of delicious creations. The magic of gingerbread goes beyond houses; it includes landmarks, trains, planes, animals, and themes varying from family vacations to superheroes. You’ll have a chance to vote for your favorite. Please note that Friday the exhibit will stay open until 7:30pm. Price: $2 per person; free for children under 2


November 29th, 2018 to January 4th, see website for hours (Paramus, NJ) When the sun goes down, the lights come on in Van Saun Park for six weeks of wintertime fun Activities include; Open Air Ice Skating, Kids’ Beginner Synthetic Rink, Additional Kids’ Activities and Games,  Unlimited Bergen Express Train Ride, Santa’s North Pole Workshop Unlimited Carousel Rides, Zoo Entry and Programming, Indoor/Outdoor Beer Garden and Food Trucks. Check the online calendar for a detailed schedule, including Santa appearances. Admission includes all activities and skate rental. Food and beverages are available for purchase. Advance tickets are available online for $15.

Saturday November 30th – Saturday December 14th 12:30 pm – 4:00 pm (Maplewood NJ) Dickens Village in Maplewood is a festive gift from the business community to local residents and visitors. Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, concerts, refreshments, children’s activities, and more. This treasured community tradition opens in December and runs every Saturday until Christmas. A detailed schedule of events is listed on the website. Don’t miss the tree lighting on December 1 at 5pm and loads of fun activities throughout the weekend. FREE

Sunday December 1st 11:00 am- 2 pm Visit the Hartshorn Arboretum and help the local birds find food- in this case a gingerbread bird house! Decorate a bird house for our feathered friends to eat, and learn about the birds you can find in your backyard. There will also be gingerbread cookies for you to decorate and eat! Price: Member: $10 per house built Non-Member: $15 per house built

Sunday December 15th 11:00 am- 4:00 pm (NYC, NY) Celebrate the festival of lights as a family at the Jewish Museum! Dance to the pop-rock tunes of Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights, sketch Hanukkah lamps from around the globe on a gallery tour, and watch a unique Hanukkah story come to life through a drawing performance. Free with museum admission

Saturday December 7th 11:30 AM (Summit, NJ) Drop by Reeves-Reed Arboretum for cookies and cocoa and have your picture taken with Santa in the Arboretum’s beautifully decorated, historic Wisner House. Kids may also enjoy stories and crafts. Holiday portraits will be taken by a local photographer. Portraits are $15 per pose Admission: FREE


November 21st – February 2nd (Lincoln Center, NYC) The 42nd Edition of the Big Apple Circus brings together the world’s most acclaimed circus acts from around the world. Extraordinary jugglers and aerialists join the beloved circus, and the Aliev Troupe will thrill audiences. These internationally recognized acrobats have invented this high-flying act (in a 277-year-old art form no less!), combining the spectacular art of aerial acrobatics with the Russian barre.  Plus, horses, dogs, clowns, acrobats, and more. Tickets $25-$125

Friday-Sunday December 13th – 15th (see website for showtimes) (New Brunswick, NJ) Come for The only American Repertory Ballet performances of The Nutcracker featuring a live orchestra and choir at the  State Theater of NJ  The American Repertory Ballet (ARB) returns to the State Theatre to perform the beloved classic  Nutcracker  with Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, stunning sets, thrilling choreography, and a cast of more than 100 performers. Nutcracker tells the story of a young girl named Clara and how a mysterious gift from her Uncle Drosselmeyer brings about enchanted dreams and fantastical scenes.

Saturday November 30th and Sunday December 1st (see website for showtimes Newark, NJ) What child wouldn’t love to see Nick Jr.’s popular animated series in Paw Patrol Live- The Great Pirate Adventure. It’s Pirate Day in Adventure Bay – and Ryder will need all paws on deck as he and the PAW Patrol discover a secret treasure map while on a mission to rescue Cap’n Turbot from a mysterious cavern. Best for ages: 2-6 Tickets: $23 – $79

November 20th-December 29th (see website for showtimes) (Millburn, NJ) Paper Mill Playhouse presents Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella This Tony-nominated Broadway adaptation casts a spell with a gorgeous production that’s full of enchanting melodies like “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible,” and “Ten Minutes Ago.”

Wednesday December 4th 8:00 pm-9:30 pm (Wayne NJ) Celebrate the winter solstice at William Paterson University with a concert of original and traditional acoustic music drawn from the multi-platinum selling Winter Solstice series as well as their many solo releases. Windham Hill founder and Grammy-winning guitarist, Will Ackerman, Grammy-nominated singer, fiddler, pianist, songwriter Barbara Higbie, guitarist Todd Boston and cellist, Mia Pixley come together to lead a joyous holiday concert.

Saturday, December 7th- Sunday December 15th Guggenheim Museum (NYC) (see website for showtimes) Isaac Mizrahi narrates and directs Sergei Prokofiev’s charming children’s classic Peter and the Wolf at the theater at the Guggenheim Museum. Ensemble Signal performs the music, and the cast, wearing costumes by Mizrahi, performs choreography by John Heginbotham, bringing the 30-minute story to life for the young and young at heart. Admission $45, $40 Friends of Works & Process and Guggenheim members.

Saturday, December 21st 9:00 am-1:00 pm (Newark, NJ)  Don’t miss NJPAC’s  20th year of the Kwanzaa Family Festival. The fun includes crafts, West African dance and drums, Kwanzaa ceremony and storytelling, arm knitting, snacks, performances and more. Best for ages 3 and up. 

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