New Jersey

Best Places To Take Pictures with Santa in New Jersey

Santa Claus is coming to town, and he's ready for his close-up. From simple setups to elaborate events, there's no shortage of opportunities for your little elves to pose for phots with Santa this Christmas season. We've rounded up our favorites, and there's something for every budget.

Want more QT with jolly St. Nick? Book a breakfast with Santa. And for even more seasonal activities, check out our Holiday Fun Guide.

Best and Brightest Christmas Light Displays in New Jersey

It may be hard to believe, but Christmas is right around the corner, which means holiday shows, visiting Santa, snowy sleigh rides, and, of course, checking out the amazing light displays throughout the state. New Jersey really shines during the holidays, with many different ways to see some holiday sparkle—from walk-through spectacles at amusement parkszoos, and aquariums to massive drive-through displays; plus private homes and entire towns that go all-out!

These sparkling spectacles—some of which feature more than a million lights—are sure to impress even the grinchiest member of your family. So bundle up the kids and head out to one of these illuminating shows soon! And of course, you can find even more ways to be merry in the Mommy Poppins Holiday Fun Guide.

30 Best Vacation Ideas for Families Who Want to Avoid Winter

Ready to ditch your winter blues for a family-friendly vacation in climates warmer than here? 

From perpetually wet feet to relentlessly bundling (and unbundling) your kids with layer upon layer, the need to escape grows for many parents as the winter season drags on—and on. Even those families who don't live with the finicky four-season cycle might prefer their vacation with a side of palm trees, rather than fur-trimmed snow boots. So whether you're seeking to escape the cold or just don't want to vacation in it, we've rounded up more than two dozen of our favorite warm-weather destinations that beckon you to shed your parka and bask in the sun.

Read on to find great all-inclusive resorts, beaches, and charming cities teeming with culture that might not offer bathing suit weather in January but certainly no snow!

Sherlock Exhibit Solves the Most Confounding Mystery of Them All

Calling all sleuths! There’s a mystery brewing in Jersey City, and Liberty Science Center needs your help to solve it. At The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes, the latest exhibit at the favorite New Jersey science spot, children and adults hunt for clues in a beautifully detailed exhibit that teaches the science behind detective work and puts it to the test to solve an elaborate murder mystery.

Hunt for clues on the streets of Victorian London, learn about poisonous plants, forensics, send Morse code messages, and then, detective notebook in hand, document your deductions by embossing, stamping, rubbing, and punching holes in paper. Finally, puzzle out what the all evidence means to solve the mystery.

This highly interactive and educational exhibit solves the one mystery families are always looking to crack: where to spend a great day that the whole family will enjoy. And we’re here to clue you in on what to expect, who it’s best for, and what you need to know before you go.

Thanksgiving Weekend for New Jersey Kids: Lights, Musicals, Santa

Thanksgiving weekend is thankfully here, and we're serving up four days of activities with all the trimmings. The official 2018 holiday season is off to a brilliant start with majestic light spectaculars, including Smithville's Holiday Light Show, which debuts on Thanksgiving, Turtle Back Holiday Lights, and Skylands Stadium Christmas Light Show. Plus, local towns kick off the holidays with tree lighting ceremonies in Red Bank, Princeton, Millburn, and Westfield. And Paramus' Van Saun Park commences its annual Winter Wonderland

Santa Claus is making his rounds throughout the state, arriving by helicopter in Nutley, visiting a farm in Wyckoff, and climbing aboard The Christmas Express, among many other festive train rides over the weekend.

Treat the family to kid-friendly productions of Annie: The Musical, A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage, and a vast selection of Nutcrackers and Holiday Shows taking place this weekend.

Find even more options for the long weekend in our Guide to Holiday and Christmas Events, including Where to Have Breakfast with Santa and A Dozen Must-Do Holiday Activities. And look to our November GoList and event calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Happy Thanksgiving, NJ!

Things To Do with Train-Loving Kids in New Jersey

If Thomas, Percy, and James are a part of your daily conversations, take advantage of the many train and railroad attractions throughout New Jersey. Each one offers a different experience that will surely put a smile on any train lover's face. From model trains to railroad museums, zoo and amusement park rides to North Pole excursions, the Garden State has it all—even the world's largest model railroad!

Read on for a list of places where you can ride the rails with your little one, check out amazing displays, and more. 

It's Christmastime at Sesame Place: A Parent's Review

This first snow has fallen, winter is coming, and it is Christmastime at Sesame Place! If you think Sesame Place is just a water park or summer attraction, put on your jacket and be prepared to be delighted by how they transform the entire park into a winter wonderland, with special guest visits from some of your favorite holiday heroes, including Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Bumble (aka the Abominable Snowman), and of course the big guy himself, Santa Claus, at their Very Furry Christmas celebration. 

I set out for a day of fun with my two kiddos (aged one and five) to get our holiday started extra early this year. With an early Thanksgiving, festivities are kicking into gear across the area and there are already a number of great winter-themed selections to partake in. If you have kids under 10, you will definitely want to make Sesame Place a holiday tradition. If your kids are older, be sure to check out our roundup of free holiday outings, and some can't miss events to celebrate the season, no matter your age.

30+ Free Holiday and Christmas Events for NJ Kids

It's the most wonderful—and expensive—time of the year. While big-budget gifts take a toll on your wallet, our gift to you is a list of holiday events that don't cost a penny. Treat the family to free and fun holiday festivities throughout the state, including Christmas lights extravaganzas, Santa visits, carriage rides, New Years Eve crafts, storytimes, and more.

Mark your calendars with these 30 no-cost events that take place nearly every day of the season. For more budget-friendly holiday fun, check out A Dozen Must-Do Holiday Events for NJ Kids and The Best Nutcracker, Christmas, and Holiday Shows for NJ Kids

25 Fun Things to Do in Jackson Hole with Kids

Old West charm? Check. Rugged natural beauty? Check. Toss in four seasons of family-centric fun, and Jackson Hole is an ideal place to introduce kids to the American West. Our extended family—including eight kids between the ages of 3 and 13—went to this postcard-perfect Wyoming valley situated south of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park over the summer. But we're already dreaming of returning in the winter for ski and sleigh-ride adventures. 

To quote my 6-year-old during one action-packed July day that started with a zip on a "cowboy coaster" and ended with a moose sighting in the backyard of our rental house: "There's just too much to do in Jackson Hole!" To help guide little cowpokes and parents, we've handpicked 25 special activities that will see you through both warm and wintry weather in Wyoming.

For a Mountain West adventure in a more urban setting, read our guide to Denver. Happy trails!

A Dozen Must-Do Holiday and Christmas Experiences for NJ Kids

This year, 2018, has the earliest possible date for Thanksgiving: November 22. What we lost in turkey prep time, we'll make up for in a lovely, elongated holiday season on the road to Christmas and New Year's. In between your Christmas shopping and holiday to-dos, we've assembled our annual list of activities kids will love—and won't cost an arm and a leg. From holiday light shows to breakfast with Santa to Christmas trains, we’ve compiled 12 great memory-making activities for this month.

Check out our full calendar of events and our holiday guide for even more options.

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