What's the best cure for the post-holiday blues? Sending the kids back to school, of course. But here's the second-best: finding fun new activities to enjoy in the new year. In honor of 2017, we've picked 17 of the best activities happening in January. This month, you can operate an earth mover, learn how to tap a maple tree, have breakfast with animals, celebrate the Chinese New Year, and see performances featuring such favorite characters as Cinderella, Daniel Tiger, and Pinkalicious. Got a model train lover or a monster truck fanatic? You'll find something for them, too. For more wintry fun, check out our Winter Activity Guide, and discover the best places to play indoors when it's just too cold to be outside. And as always, you can find many more great things to do in our Events Calendar.
New Year's Day at Diggerland – West Berlin
Ring in the New Year by operating some heavy machinery at America's only construction-themed amusement park. This is your last chance to visit Diggerland until spring; after today the diggers will be in hibernation until March 18.
It's the last chance to catch the Model Railway Show. Photo courtesy of the Garden State Model Railway Club.
59th Annual Model Railway Show – North Haledon
Another last-chance event: These are the final two days to catch the Garden State Model Railway Club's annual show, where you can view steam and diesel locomotives, miniature scenes packed with detail, and working signals. A must-see for train enthusiasts big and small.
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood – Red Bank
January 7 at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
If, like me, you are forever indebted to Daniel Tiger for helping your kids through everything from accepting a new sibling to getting out the door in the morning, then you might want to check out Daniel's live show at the Count Basie Theatre. Like the animated PBS show, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Live! will include stories of friendship, helping others, and celebrating new experiences.
Winter Fun Tot Tour – Morristown
Morris Museum's Tot Tours are an excellent way to spend the morning with your little one. Geared toward kids ages 2–5, Tot Tours include a mini gallery program and an art project. In this months's tour, kids will explore the museum's new LEGO exhibit and make their own winter-themed craft to take home. (After the tour, be sure to stick around to check out the museum's awesome Mega Model Trains exhibit, which is on display through February 26.) Tours run about 30-40 minutes. Pre-registration is required.
Cinderella and her evil stepsisters in a scene from Disney on Ice: Dare To Dream, coming to the Prudential Center this month. Photo courtesy of the production.
Disney on Ice: Dare To Dream – Newark
Little princess devotees will love the latest Disney on Ice offering, which glides into the the Prudential Center this month. Dare to Dream follows the adventures of four princesses: Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Tiana. Mickey and Minnie host the proceedings.
Breakfast with the Animals – Point Pleasant
Start your day with some of the residents of Jenkinson's Aquarium in this special program for kids ages 5 and up (accompanied by an adult). Participants receive special early entry to the aquarium, a continental breakfast, and time to ask questions about the animals. Pre-registration required.
Kidz Cabaret: Story Pirates – Englewood
In the latest offering in Bergen PAC's Kidz Cabaret series, stories written by kids across the country provide the material for a wild sketch comedy musical performed by professional actors. The performance will also include an improvised segment based on suggestions from kids in the audience. For ages 3 and up.
Maple Sugaring at Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center – Chatham Township
January 14, 15, 21, 28, 29
Learn how to identify and tap maple trees, collect sap, and make syrup over a wood-fired evaporator. Taste test different delicious syrups, including syrup made right at the Great Swamp OEC. Treats are available for purchase.
Pinkalicious The Musical – Morristown
January 15 at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m.
In the musical version of the beloved children's book, a girl's indulgence in too many pink cupcakes causes a severe case of Pinkititis, and hilarity ensues. The show comes to Mayo Performing Arts Center for two afternoon performances.
Family Art Adventure – Montclair
Head to Montclair Art Museum for a drop-in gallery program for kids ages 6–12 and their adult companions. You'll explore and discuss art work in the galleries, and then do a fun, hands-on project in the studio.
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe – South Orange
Another children's classic will come to life onstage later this month—this one a modern-dance production of C.S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at South Orange Performing Arts Center. The performance features music by Mozart and performers from 10 Hairy Legs dance company, an all-male troupe based in New Jersey.
Lambertville – New Hope Winter Festival – Lambertville, NJ, and New Hope, PA
The two neighboring towns celebrate winter with a week-long festival that includes a host of free family activities.
Lunar New Year and Spring Celebration – Short Hills
Celebrate the lunar new year with trivia, crafts, games, and stories at the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum. The festivities culminate with a parade through the woods. Registration required.
Chinese New Year Celebration – Summit
The lunar new year celebrations continue at Reeves-Reed Arboretum, where participants can commemorate the Year of the Rooster with an afternoon of stories and crafts. For kids ages 3 and up. Pre-registration required.
See some of the fantastical ice carvings at the Fire and Ice Festival. Photo courtesy of the festival.
Fire and Ice Festival – Mount Holly
The stunning creations of more than a dozen professional and amateur ice carvers will be on display in downtown Mount Holly, along with a variety of family entertainment. FREE
Groundhog Day Celebration – Pennington
Celebrate Groundhog Day at the Watershed Reserve by visiting several burrows of these furry weather forecasters. Learn about their history and role in the ecological community, and enjoy the challenge of the hibernation game. After the hike and game, warm up by an outdoor fire, enjoy a warm beverage, and make a Groundhog Day craft. FREE
Monster Jam Triple Threat Series – Newark
It's all about monster trucks this weekend at Prudential Center. The event will feature ATVs, speedsters, and Monster Jam trucks—which are more than 10 feet tall, 17 feet long, and weigh 10,000 pounds.