Put away the pumpkins and get out the garland! November is here, and the holiday season has officially begun.
Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season, and you can celebrate the old-fashioned way at Fosterfields Living Historical Farm and the Historic Village at Allaire. And it's already 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 in Nutley.
November is a month full of drama, with everyone's favorite characters taking the stage. Check out family-friendly performances of The Wizard of Oz, Disney on Ice, Sesame Street Live, Peppa Pig Live, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Elf: The Musical, and A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Read on for more can't-miss events coming up in November, and for even more kid-friendly choices, be sure to check out our Event Calendar, updated daily with new happenings. Happy (beginning of the) Holidays, New Jersey!
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The Great Pumpkin Sail — Mountainside
Thursday November 1, 2018
Bid farewell to your carved jack-o'-lantern at Echo Lake Park the day after Halloween. Watch as your pumpkin is set afloat on the lake, sing songs around the campfire, and enjoy hot chocolate and marshmallows.
Mickey's Search Party debuts at Disney on Ice. Photo courtesy of Disney and Feld Entertainment
Disney on Ice: Mickey's Search Party – Newark
Thursday, November 1 – Sunday, November 4, 2018
Everyone's favorite Disney friends embark on a search for Tinkerbell. Join the search party, along with Moana, Elsa, Ariel, Belle, and other beloved Disney characters on ice.
Wizard of Oz at Count Basie – Red Bank
Thursday, November 1, 2018
Head off to see the Wizard at Count Basie Theatre in this spectacular production with special effects, dazzling choreography, and the classic Wizard of Oz score.
(Also at Mayo Performing Arts Center Nov. 2–3)
Day of the Dead – Princeton
Saturday, November 3, 2018
Strolling mariachis, sugar skull decorating, face painting, crafts, food, and more are all part of the fun at this celebration in honor of the traditional Mexican holiday. FREE
Diggerfest – West Berlin
Saturday and Sunday, November 3–4 and 10–11, 2018
Theme park fun doesn't have to end in October. The fall festivities continue at Diggerland with rides, music, entertainment, and more.
Sesame Street Live! Let's Party – Atlantic City
Saturday, November 3 – Sunday, November 4, 2018
Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall is party-central with the Sesame Street gang. This all-new, interactive musical focuses on the Sesame friends choosing a party theme.
Peppe Pig Live! comes to the Bergen Performing Arts Center. Photo courtesy of bergenPAC
Peppa Pig Live! Peppa Pig's Surprise – Englewood
Sunday, November 4, 2018
Peppa, George, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig come to life on stage in this lively musical, with life-sized puppets, costumed characters, games, and surprises.
(also at State Theatre on Nov. 7)
Adventure Aquarium Mermaids are back and better than ever this November! Photo courtesy of the aquarium
Mermaids at Adventure Aquarium – Camden
Saturday, November 3 – Sunday, November 11, 2018
The mermaids are back! They'll be swimming with sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, and fish in Adventure Aquarium's 760,000-gallon Ocean Realm exhibit. Some mermaids will be available for meet-and-greets and photo ops, and there will also be an appearance by a pirate captain, as well as face painting, crafts, and more.
Thanksgiving Harvest Home & Armistice Observance – Morris Township
Sunday, November 11, 2018
Enjoy interactive farm chores, take a wagon ride, and create a family-friendly craft. Then head to the 1915 Farmhouse to watch as a holiday feast is prepared. The afternoon also includes a special program honoring U.S. veterans and recognizes the 100th anniversary of U.S. involvement in WWI.
Elf: The Musical – Red Bank
Monday, November 12, 2018
The big-screen hit comedy takes the stage with its Broadway musical score at Count Basie Theatre. See Buddy travel to New York in search of his birth father and discovers the true meaning of Christmas along the way. (Also at Mayo Performing Arts Center on Nov. 18)
Skylands Stadium Christmas Light Show – Augusta
Thursday, November 16 – Sunday, December 30, 2018
This drive-through holiday light show features more than two million lights on a mile-long course. Afterward, head indoors to visit the Christmas Village to take pictures with Santa, have a snack, make crafts, and see live entertainment.
Wear your jammies and meet Santa on the Polar Express. Photo courtesy of the railway
Holiday Train Rides – Various
Starting Friday, November 16, 2018
Get a jump on your Christmas celebrations with a holiday train ride. Several New Jersey Railroads start their annual Christmas rides this month, including the Christmas Express, the Polar Express, and Santa's Paradise Express. Check out our roundup of holiday trains for more info.
Turtle Back Zoo Holiday Lights – West Orange
Friday, November 16 – Monday, December 31, 2018
Turtle Back Zoo transforms into a twinkling winter wonderland after dark starting November 16, with more than 50 illuminated winter scenes and characters decorating the property. Bundle up, grab a hot cocoa, and take a stroll with the family—it's festive and it's FREE
Welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus to Storybook Land at the annual Christmas lighting. Photo courtesy of Storybook Land
Christmas Fantasy with Lights Parade at Storybook Land – Egg Harbor
Saturday, November 17, 2018
Welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus to Storybook Land with a parade featuring your favorite storybook characters. After the parade, Santa will appear in his chimney and light the park with more than a million lights for the holiday season.
Early 19th Century Thanksgiving – Farmingdale
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Celebrate an old-fashioned Thanksgiving at the Historic Village at Allaire, where you can see a reenactment of a typical 19th-century holiday feast.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Englewood
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Seventy-five puppets take the stage at bergenPAC in this creative adaptation of four Eric Carle classic stories.
The Historic Smithville Village Holiday Light Show is a magical experience! Photo courtesy of the village
Holiday Light Show – Smithville
Thursday, November 22, 2018 – Sunday, January 6, 2019
After your Thanksgiving feast, head to Historic Smithville Village to see more than 100 Christmas trees magically float on Lake Meone. The trees light up to music in an orchestrated show every Thursday–Sunday from 5:30–8:30pm. FREE
The Model Railroad Show includes 1,200 square feet of tracks. Photo courtesy of the Garden State Model Railway Club
61st Annual Model Railroad Show – North Haledon
Friday, November 23 – Sunday, November 25, 2018, plus more dates in December and January
Train fanatics young and old will go wild for this event, hosted by the Garden State Model Railway Club, which features a 1,200-square-foot layout filled with steam and diesel locomotives, freight and passenger trains, rural and urban scenes, and working signals.
Santa's Arrival 2018 – Nutley
Friday, November 23, 2018
It's a bird; it's a plane; it's Santa arriving via helicopter in Nutley. Stick around for photos, balloons, and hot chocolate. FREE
A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage – Englewood
Friday, November 23, 2018
The Peanuts gang celebrates Christmas at bergenPAC. This all-new touring production features Charlie Brown and friends as they put on their own Christmas play and discover the true meaning of the season.
(also at Count Basie on Nov. 24 and Mayo Performing Arts Center on Nov. 25)
Roxey Ballet presents its 24th annual production of The Nutcracker this season. Photo courtesy of the production
Roxey Ballet's Nutcracker – Ewing
Saturday, November 24 – Sunday, December 2, 2018
It's Nutcracker season! Continue a holiday tradition or start a new one by taking the kids to see Roxey Ballet's production of this enchanting ballet featuring magical mice, marching soldiers, swirling snowflakes, waltzing flowers, and the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy. You can also catch NJ Ballet's production on Nov. 18 and Nov. 25, as well as American Repertory Ballet on Nov. 30.
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