Weekend Fun: Mad Science Holiday Show, Kwanzaa Festival, Hooray for Hanukkah

Hanukkah is here, and Christmas and Kwanzaa aren't far behind! This weekend, celebrate the Festival of Lights at Garden State Discovery Museum's Hooray for Hanukkah, watch the Car Menorah Parade in Cherry Hill, and take part in the Kwanzaa Children's Festival and Marketplace at NJPAC. 

This weekend is your last chance to ride the Christmas Express with Santa Claus before he heads back to the North Pole. There are several productions of The Nutcracker happening around the state, including performances by NJ Ballet at Mayo Performing Arts Center and American Repertory Ballet at State Theatre New Jersey; Scrooge gets spooked into a change of heart in A Christmas Carol at bergenPAC; and Garfield gets into the holiday spirit at Union County Performing Arts Center. 

There are tons of opportunities to hang out with the man in red, whether you want to have breakfast with Santa or get the perfect holiday photo. Planning to dine out on the holiday? Find out which NJ restaurants are open on Christmas Day.

Find many more ideas for fun this weekend and throughout the season in our December GoList and Holiday Guide, including where to see the best holiday light displays and must-do holiday activities for NJ kids. And be sure to check our Event Calendar for a full listing of activities this weekend and beyond.

Hex & Co. Is a Board Game Lover's Paradise for NYC Kids

If screen time is getting to be too big of a battle at your place, head out to get back to the old-school gaming model: board games. Hex & Co. recently opened on the upper Upper West Side (Columbia area) and is serving up more than 1,000 board games, from classics to new pop-culture hits, to give your family a chance to sit down, grab a bite to eat, and, you know, talk and make eye contact with one another.

Hex & Co. joins outer borough favorites, Brooklyn Strategist, Brooklyn Game Lab, and The Geekery in Astoria, Queens for classic family fun. (More on this later.) Read our review and get all the details on the fun new spot below.

Free Perks With Your Houston Library Card

Libraries are not just for cramming-for-test college students or baby storytimes; if you aren't taking advantage of the many resources your neighborhood library has to offer, you've got to start now! It's time to dust off that library card (or go get one - it's super easy, and all you need to be is a Texas resident, older than 18, and have a valid ID) and check out the many freebies that come with it. While this list links specifically to the city of Houston Public Library resources, know that if you live closest to county libraries they offer identical services often using similar providers. Just ask your nearest librarian!

Worth It? Family Memberships in NYC to Consider for Winter

After visiting NYC's top play spaces, museums, and other fun zones, we've rounded up the various membership deals at 20 kid-centric destinations. These places will keep your kids entertained, active, and out of the cold. Some even offer short-term memberships, so you only have to pay until spring arrives.

In the dead of winter, it can be daunting to schlep somewhere new every weekend, so a membership to one (or two) of your favorite kid play spots makes sense. We've already done the math so you'll know exactly how many visits it takes until these investments pay off—and whether or not the "deal" works for your family. If the math doesn't work out for you, consider buying one of the play spaces' bulk passes instead, which usually knocks a few bucks off the daily drop-in price.

Need more ideas? Check out our Indoor Play Spaces Guide for more romper rooms by borough, bounce houses, and year-round family entertainment.

The Annenberg PetSpace: LA's New Spot To Play with Puppies and Kitties

Interested in getting a pet—or just spending time with one? The new Wallis Annenberg PetSpace in Playa Vista is all about building bonds between people and pets. While there are dogs, cats, and rabbits available for adoption, no pressure: this is also a family-friendly space to learn about pets and people, and maybe even get a little cuddle time if a pet isn't possible in your home.

5 Places Where Kids Can Learn to Ski or Snowboard Near Boston

Teaching a child to ski is no easy feat. Between the gear, ticketing costs, and the awkwardness of little ones, it can often be a better bet to sign a child up for ski lessons. Luckily, within an 80-minute drive of Boston, there are a handful of simple ski facilities—four downhill mountains, and one cross country course—with gentle, wide-open slopes that are perfect for learning this great winter activity. All offer rentals and lessons, courtesy of experienced instructors who are accustomed to working with new (and sometimes overwhelmed) skiers, and a family-friendly atmosphere where a slopes-confident parent can, alternatively, have plenty of space to teach a child by herself. While a good snowstorm can happen at any time, the mountains are making as much snow as they possibly can. Call or register online ahead as far in advance as possible remember—just like a potty training and two wheeling, they will get the hang of it eventually!

Where To Enjoy High Tea in New Jersey with Kids

If your little sweetie loves the finer things in life—and has the patience to make it through a sit-down meal—he or she may be ready to enjoy an afternoon at one of NJ's many local tea rooms. And, with International Tea Day coming up on December 15, now is the perfect time to try a new tradition!

From the fine china and finger sandwiches to the tempting sweets, your little one will be enchanted during this special one-on-one mommy time. Many host sweet birthday parties, and several offer special holiday events.

Explore the Power of Our Senses at AMNH's Latest Exhibit

Today's non-stop world, especially in the city, is a full sensory experience. From sights and sounds to smells, touch, and taste, we're surrounded by everyday adventures.

It's how we understand the world around us. Now the Upper West Side's American Museum of Natural History is delving deep into the fascinating mechanics of our bodies with a new exhibit that some have called a little "trippy," Our Senses: An Immersive Experience. Eleven interactive galleries within invite visitors to touch, smell, see, listen, play, and challenge their senses as they wander through.

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