Everything's rolling toward the big day, from shopping to pictures, parties to decorating, annual light displays to Breakfast with Santa to free holiday fun. All good stuff, to be sure. But if you're thinking you might like to mix up your holiday adventures a bit, check out some of these, shall we say, "off the beaten path" celebratory ideas. Some are out of state; some are at your local garden center. Because sometimes parents need to throw something new into the mix to keep these kids on their toes.
Christmas Ice Caverns and Christmas Store (Fairfield, NJ)
Located inside Jody's Silk Florist and Patio Center in Wayne, the Christmas Ice Caverns are New Jersey's largest walkthrough animated Christmas display. Santa pictures with North Jersey's #1 Santa are available as well (hours vary). Spread out over 10,000 square feet, the caverns have been updated every year to include characters sleigh riding in the snow, Santa’s candy factory, Santa’s reindeer feeding barn, toy story figures and a life-size Nativity. The gift shop is full of thousands of ornaments and an excellent array of trees, wreaths, swags, and handcrafted centerpieces. Ice cavern hours are Monday thru Saturday from 10am to 8pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Please note, Santa's last day for photos is December 24th, 11am - 2pm. For more info call 973-808-5639.
Adventure Aquarium’s Christmas Celebration (Camden, NJ)
From December 4 through 31st, 2015, Adventure Aquarium transforms into an underwater winter wonderland featuring larger-than-life decorations, twinkling lights, glowing trees, and gently falling snow. Daily festivities include live shows and appearances by Scuba Santa, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. The Christmas Celebration shows are held from 10am to 5pm.
Dreaming of an Alpaca Christmas (Peapack, NJ)
Try out Bluebird Farm Alpacas for “Dreaming of an Alpaca Christmas” in December. Come and enjoy a visit with these gentle animals and learn all about their temperaments and how they live. The Farm Store will feature products that are handmade from their own alpaca fiber, as well as crafted products from Peru – everything from gloves and hats to socks and Teddy Bears. There will be craft making for kids, feeding of the alpacas and opportunities for holiday photos. For more info call 908-234-9772.
Lightwire Theater: A Very Electric Christmas (New Brunswick, NJ)
Performed in complete darkness and featuring Lightwire Theater’s signature brand of dazzling visuals, this show features characters that light up the stage including Nutcracker soldiers with candy-canes, naughty Rats, an electric Christmas tree surrounded by presents, glow worms, dancing flowers and more. The holiday music featured in the show includes timeless classics from Nat King Cole, Tchaikovsky, Mariah Carey and more.
Holiday Lights Trolley Ride (Cape May, NJ)
Ride through Cape May’s Historic District to see festively decorated inns and homes as guides talk about Victorian Christmas traditions, lead sing-alongs, and play Christmas music. Rides last about 30 minutes.
Casino Pier Holiday Party (Seaside Heights, NJ)
When you think of celebrating Christmas, Casino Pier is probably not the first place that comes to mind. If you are looking for some holiday fun, check out the holiday party on December 12 from 12pm to 3pm. From the ugly sweater contest to candy cane limbo, this free event will surely get you in a festive mood! Fun, games, prizes and a visit from Santa will run throughout the event.
Koziar's Christmas Village (Bernville, PA)
Imagine your child's excitement as you drive into a valley aglow with over 500,000 Christmas lights! Koziar's Christmas Village is worthy of a December day trip. Located about an hour and a half west of New Jersey, Koziar's is a recipient of the best Christmas Display in the World with more than 50 buildings and structures lit with beautiful themed displays such as the Old Firehouse, Christmas in the Jungle, and Santa's Toy Shop, plus fresh baked goods and pictures with the big guy himself on Santa Claus Lane. Dress warmly (some attractions are outdoors) and bring your camera. Now open seven days a week until January 2nd, 2015. Monday to Friday from 6pm to 9pm, Saturday from 5pm to 9:30pm and Sunday 5pm to 9pm.
photo credit: garlandcannon (on hiatus) via photopin cc
Originally published 2013