Black Friday is known as one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Retailers try to lure us in with deep discounts on everything from toys to electronics. Let's face it, though, dragging the kids to the mall isn't the most fun way to kick off the holiday season. This year, why not look for a family activity that will make everyone merry? From holiday shows to winter festivals, we've come up with a great list of things to do on Black Friday that are far away from the busy shopping centers. Be sure to check our Events Calendar regularly for even more great holiday activities throughout November and December.
Christmas Fantasy with lights at Storybook Land (Egg Harbor Township)
For more than 25 years Storybook Land's Christmas Fantasy with lights has been a holiday tradition. Experience holiday magic before your eyes as Santa Clause waves his magic wand and lights the park with over one million lights. Rides, attractions and snack bars will be open.
Santa Breakfast at Imagine That!!! (Florham Park)
Children are invited to a special breakfast with Santa at Imagine That Museum. Visit with Santa and his elves, enjoy a breakfast snack and then stay and play all day. Each child will receive a special gift from Santa. Don't forget your camera and wish list.
Festival of Trees at the Morven Museum (Princeton)
Head to where the tree tops glisten! Morven's annual Festival of Trees has become a must see Princeton holiday tradition. Visitor's can enjoy the museum's elegant galleries, hallways and porches artfully decorated for the holidays. There is even a special mailbox on the front porch where kids can mail letters to Santa.
Holiday Lights at Turtle Back Zoo (West Orange)
Take an evening stroll through the zoo and enjoy the animals under the sparkling lights and holiday displays. Costumed characters, including the Zoo's mascot, Myrtle the Turtle, will be on hand to celebrate with the children. Photographs with Santa and Rudolph will also be available. Donations of food items, new toys and gently used coats are also encouraged.
Thanking our Loved Ones at Newark Museum (Newark)
The Newark Museum invites you to explore the Ballantine House, decorated for the season, and learn how the holidays were celebrated in the 1800s. Children and families can explore the museum, take part in a gallery investigation and create a Victorian inspired ornament to take home.
Skylands Stadium Christmas Light Show (Augusta)
Experience the stunning light displays at the Skyland Stadium's 2nd Annual Christmas Light Show. Drive through a one mile course of breathtaking displays set to joyous holiday music. This year the Stadium will also feature a Christmas Village. Visitors can park for free and enjoy hot beverages, snacks, photos with Santa, crafts and more in this indoor winter wonderland.
Winter Wonderland in Rahway (Rahway)
Head to downtown Rahway for the town's 2nd Annual Winter Wonderland. The theme for this year's event is "The Wizard in Wonderland" and will feature characters from The Wizard of Oz. This family-oriented fun night will include outdoor ice skating, music, bon fires, pictures with Santa, carriage rides and plenty of food. The annual parade and tree lighting will begin at 6pm.
Madison Holiday Arts Festival (Madison)
Kick off the holiday season at the 10th Annual Madison Holiday Arts Festival. The Festival will feature musicians, dancers and artists throughout the borough. Festivities begin at noon and conclude after the traditional Santa Parade comes down Main Street.
Country Christmas with Santa at Alstede Farms (Chester)
Santa is coming to Alstede Farms. From 11am to 4pm, Santa will be visiting the farm, and he would love to take a photo with you. Enjoy Christmas music and a cozy campfire too. A variety of treats, including hot chocolate, s'mores and cider will be available for purchase.
Santa's Helicopter Arrival in Nutley (Nutley)
Join the festivities at the Nutley Park Oval as Santa makes his first appearance this year by way of helicopter. This fun tradition begins at 2pm and features free hot chocolate, door prizes and plenty of entertainment. The first 500 children will receive a goody bag. Kids are encouraged to bring letters for Santa's mailbox.
Garden State Model Railway 58th Annual Show (North Haledon)
Have some family fun at the Garden State Model Railway Show. Kids will love to check out the various model railroads, featuring coal, freight and passenger trains. The famous Santa Clause Express will also be running to kick off the holiday season.
Sahara Sam's Oasis (West Berlin)
If the impending winter has you cringing, spend the day enjoying some water and warmth. Throw on the bathing suits and head to Sahara Sam's Oasis. Always a warm 82 degrees, this indoor water park is the perfect spot for kids to burn off those extra Thanksgiving calories. The water slides, obstacle courses and play areas are perfect for children of all ages. An added bonus: if you're looking for the perfect gift for the kids in your life, both Sahara Sam's and Diggerland will be having an Black Friday online sale, offering reduced price annual memberships and Any Day Tickets.
If all else fails, take in a show! Papermill Playhouse will be featuring A Christmas Story throughout November and December, while the Centenary Stage Company will be performing A Christmas Carol.