Michelle Vames's blog

December GoList: 25 Best Things To Do in NJ for the Holidays

The turkey's been eaten, Santa is stationed at the mall, and people are driving around with trees strapped to their cars. There’s no denying it: the holidays have arrived!

If you and your kids are eager to celebrate the season, you're in luck—there are so many wonderful events and activities happening throughout the state this month. You'll find plenty of free things to do, as well as activities just for little ones. You can have breakfast with Santa, catch a seasonal show, or hop aboard a holiday train. And be sure to make time to see at least one of the spectacular light displays around NJ.

We know you’re busy with things like shopping, baking, and figuring out what the heck to do with your Elf on the Shelf, so we’ve sorted through all of this month's happenings and picked 25 of our favorites.

For even more ideas, check out our Holiday Guide and Event Calendar. Happy Holidays!

November GoList: The Best Things To Do With NJ Kids This Month

Ready or not, here comes the holiday season! 

This month, celebrate Thanksgiving the old-fashioned way at Fosterfields Living Historical Farm and the Historic Village at Allaire. And it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, with the start of holiday train rides and holiday light shows like the ones at Skylands Stadium and Turtle Back Zoo. Santa Claus is coming to town, too, with celebrations of his arrival at Storybook Land and Camden Children's Garden.

November is also packed with exciting live performances, including Disney on Ice, Annie, and the National Acrobats and Martial Artists of China, as well as holiday shows like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical and A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage. Beloved annual traditions return for another year, including the Mermaids at Adventure Aquarium and the 60th annual Model Railroad Show in North Haledon. And if you're looking for a New York City day trip, don't miss Play Fair at the Javits Center November 4-5.

Read on for more than 25 can't-miss events coming up in November, and for even more family-friendly choices, be sure to check out our Event Calendar, updated daily with new happenings. Happy (beginning of the) Holidays, New Jersey!

Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving Dinner in New Jersey

Not feeling up to hosting Thanksgiving this year? Here's something to be thankful for: There are plenty of restaurants open throughout the state on Thanksgiving Day. Having your holiday out means that you can sit back and enjoy the party—and you won't have to wash a single dish.

We've chosen 20 of New Jersey's best spots to enjoy a holiday feast. Call ahead for a reservation, and then use your extra time to plan some fall fun with the family, or try out one of these Thanksgiving crafts. Happy Thanksgiving!

The Day I Moved Into Target

As a mom, I live at Target.

No, really—I moved in a few weeks ago. A lot of moms are doing it. It just makes so much more sense than living in our houses, which we were constantly having to leave in order to go to Target.

"Gotta make another Target run!" I'd say, and my husband would tell me to "enjoy my mommy vacation." It was so funny—every time.

Columbus Day Weekend Fun for New Jersey Kids

Looking for some ideas to help keep the kids entertained during the long weekend? We've got you covered. Go all-in on fall fun with a ride on a pumpkin train or a visit to a family-friendly farm for pumpkin picking, amazing corn mazes, harvest festivals, and more. Get into the Halloween spirit at Dinosaurs After Dark and the Asbury Park Zombie Walk, or have some scare-free fun at Pumpkin PAWlooza and Delicious Orchards' Pumpkin Fest.  

It's also a great weekend to see a show—Peppa Pig takes the stage at BergenPAC in a brand-new live show on Monday (tickets are going fast!), and the popular kids' book Freckleface Strawberry comes to life in a new musical in Edison. Stop by Adventure Aquarium for the third annual Sea Turtle Awareness Weekend, or take a Columbus Day Hayride at Abma's Farm. And for even more ways to spend the holiday, check out our list of 20 Things To Do with NJ Kids on Columbus Day

Find even more ideas in our Fall Fun Guide for NJ Kids, and be sure to check our Event Calendar to find new happenings added daily.

October GoList: The Best Things To Do with NJ Kids This Month

Halloween may be the star of the show this month, but there's plenty of other fun to be had in the days and weeks leading up to the big event. This month is jam-packed with awesome activities, from traditional fall fun like hayrides and harvest festivals to stage shows starring such kid faves as Peppa PigDaniel Tiger, and The Cat in the Hat.

Less famous (but no less endearing) are the sea turtles at Adventure Aquarium—you can meet them this month at the aquarium's third annual Sea Turtle Awareness Weekend. Little princes and princesses can dance the night away at Garden State Discovery Museum's Fairy Ball, and dance lovers can watch their favorite performers from "So You Think You Can Dance" tear up the stage at Mayo Performing Arts Center.

And of course, there are Halloween happenings aplenty, geared toward everyone from older kids to the littlest trick-or-treaters. Head down the shore for Boo at the Boardwalk, enjoy not-too-spooky fun at Goblins in the Garden in Camden, and don your black hat for Witches' Day Out in Smithville. Throughout the month, you can take the family for a ride on a Halloween train, check out a cool pumpkin display, and attend one of NJ's many free Halloween events and parades

Read on for more than 20 of the best events this October for NJ kids. For even more ideas, check out our list of 35 Things We Can't Wait To Do with NJ Kids This Fall, and find fun that's just right for little ones in our roundup of the Best Fall Events for NJ Preschoolers. And of course, check our Event Calendar often for new happenings added daily. Happy October!

Weekend Fun: Pumpkin Trains, Halloween at iPlay, Autumn Arts Afternoon

October is almost here, and pumpkins are popping up all over NJ. This weekend you can celebrate the season at a pumpkin festival, go for a ride on a pumpkin train, and of course, take a trip to the pumpkin patch.

Amusement parks including Diggerland and Storybook Land kick off their fall-fun weekends on Saturday, and iPlay America starts its month-long celebration of Halloween. Field Station: Dinosaurs gets in the spirit of the season with Dinosaurs After Dark, and the Historic Village at Allaire hosts a 19th century–style harvest celebration with its Fall Festival and Allaire Community Heritage Day.

Read on for more of this weekend's most fall-tastic events, and find many more ideas for weekend fun in our Fall Fun Guide, packed with harvest festivals and fall fairsamazing corn mazes, top spots for apple picking, and more. And be sure to check our Event Calendar for a full listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Weekend Fun: Thomas & Friends, Giant Pumpkin Carve, BrickFair 2017

Autumn is officially in full swing, and there's tons of fall fun to be had throughout the Garden State. This weekend, head to one of NJ's top family-friendly farms for events like the Great Pumpkin Festival at Heaven Hill Farm or the Fall Harvest Festival at Johnson's Corner Farm. Experience old-fashioned fun at Historic Longstreet Farm's Harvest Home Festival, or take a Harvest Moon Hayride at Alstede Farms.  

There's plenty of indoor action, too: everyone's favorite tank engine rolls into Liberty Science Center on Saturday in a STEM-focused exhibit called Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails, and it's all about LEGO this weekend at BrickFair 2017 in Edison. Plus, more than 20 NJ museums will offer free admission on Saturday as part of Smithsonian Museum Day Live.

Find many more ideas for weekend fun in our Fall Fun Guide, which is packed with fall fairsamazing corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and the best spots to go apple picking. And look to our Event Calendar for a full listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.


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