MLK Weekend Fun: Day of Service, Dinosaurs, Underwater Bubble Show

Things to do with kids in New Jersey on MLK weekend, January 13-15, 2018

We honor Martin Luther King, Jr. with a federal holiday on Monday, and that means school will be closed. If you're trying to figure out how to spend the long weekend, you've got plenty of options, whether you want to visit the colorful, underwater world of Bubblelandia, take part in a celebration of Dr. King, or pretty much anything in between.

You can spend the morning as a Junior Keeper at Jenkinson's Aquarium and the afternoon crafting your very own masterpiece at the Drop-In Studio at the Montclair Art Museum; cure cabin fever with outdoor options that include a Day Off With Nature at the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center and an MLK Day of Service opportunity for ages 4 and up at Reeves-Reed Arboretum.

If you'd rather stay warm and toasty, check out one of NJ's many indoor play spaces and fun zones. Still looking? Find more fun things to do in our Calendar of Events and January GoList.

All Weekend

Dinosaur Time Trek: Dragon Edition – Secaucus
January 13–15
This weekend at the Meadowlands Convention Center, you can observe enormous prehistoric dinosaurs and glimpse mythological, magical dragons. Visitors can take part in activities like Design-a-Dino and the Race Through Time Labyrinth, meet baby dinosaurs, and more.

Annual Antique Toy Train Show – Deptford
All aboard for some railway fun. Visitors can expect to see 0 and 0-27 gauge toy trains from the 1930's, 1940's, and 1950's; Lionel, Marx and American Flyer engines with adjoining cars; and vintage Plasticville buildings from the 1950's. Open 10am to 3pm; admission is $4 for adults, $3 for children.

Saturday, January 13

Check the amazing juggling performance by Mark Nizer. Photo courtesy of Mark Nizer 4D

Mark Nizer 4D – South Orange
Check out the comedic antics and phenomenal juggling feats of Mark Nizer when he visits the South Orange Performing Arts Center at 2pm. The show, recommended for ages 5 and up, is 75 minutes of sheer amazement. 

Cookstove Demonstrations at Longstreet Farm – Holmdel
Visit the out kitchen and see what's cooking on the wood stove. Discover how food, recipes, cooking techniques, and the kitchen itself has changed in the 1890s. FREE

Bringing Some Color In: Bulb Forcing for Kids – Morris Township
Pairing the art of gardening with the science of agriculture, this planting workshop at Frelinghuysen Arboretum allows kids to get their hands dirty. Bring a box, because you'll be taking home two different types of planted bulbs. Then wait and watch them bloom. Pre-registration is required. For ages 6-10.

Sofia the First Coronation Party – Westfield
Just Bead Yourself invites fans of Sofia the First to attend a coronation ceremony where they'll be crowned a princess and receive their very own tiara. Registration is required.

Sunday, January 14

This fantasy bubble show will delight all ages. Photo courtesy of the Underwater Bubble Show

B- The Underwater Bubble Show – Englewood
Join Mr. B in the magical underwater world of Bubblelandia, where seahorses, starfish, and mermaids welcome visitors of all ages and species. Performances will be held at 2 and 5pm.

Drop-in Studio – Montclair
Budding artists of any age and ability are welcome to stop in and create a masterpiece of their very own from 1 to 3pm at the Montclair Art Museum. No reservations are required, and entry is included in your admission fee.

Monday, January 15

Junior Keepers – Pt. Pleasant
Kids ages 10–16 have the opportunity to experience Jenkinson's Aquarium from an employee's point of view. From 8am to 1pm junior keepers get a behind-the-scenes look at sea life. Pre-registration and sneakers are required.

Create a card out of recycled material and your card will be delivered to a patient in a local hospital on Valentine's Day. Photo courtesy of the Reeves-Reed Arboretum

MLK Day of Service at Reeves-Reed Arboretum – Short Hills
Help your kids give back by taking part in a Day of Service at Reeves-Reed Arboretum. Kids can join the Horticulture Department for a morning of outdoor work, and kids of all ages can stop by the Education Center to create cards that will be given to patients at a local hospital for Valentine's Day. FREE

Earth Day of Service – Chatham
Spend your day off giving back to nature. Head over to the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center and learn how humans impact the earth through hands-on projects and outdoor learning from 9am to 2pm. 

Find more ways to celebrate and volunteer on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Top photo: The drop-in studio at MAM. Photo courtesy of the museum