You don't have to go to New York City to see The Nutcracker this holiday season—there are at least a dozen productions of the beloved ballet happening right here in New Jersey. We've looked into all of them to help you figure out which one is right for you and your kids, whether it's a full-length, traditional production featuring swirling snowflakes and waltzing flowers; a hip-hop retelling led by a rap legend; or an abridged version designed with little ones in mind. You'll even find one starring kids' book faves Max and Ruby. If ballet isn't your thing but you'd still like to see a holiday performance, be sure to check out our roundup of non-Nutcracker shows. And look to our holiday guide for even more ways to celebrate the season.
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A giant panda has made himself at home at Westchester's Ridge Hill, which is once again teaming up with DreamWorks Animation to take families on an Adventure to Santa. The panda is none other than Po from DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda, and he and his friends are part of a holiday attraction that takes kids on a journey to the North Pole to meet Santa.
This is Adventure to Santa's third year at Ridge Hill, though it's the first year that Po and the Kung Fu Panda gang are making an appearance (the two previous years featured Shrek). I recently made the hour-long journey from my home in New Jersey with my 4.5- and almost-2-year-old boys to check it out.
We have some important tips to know before you go, especially if you're making the trip from NYC, upstate or New Jersey.
After you cast your vote today, take your mind off the election (or try to, anyway) by looking ahead to the weekend. There are plenty of seasonal activities on offer, including apple cidering in Chatham, an old-fashioned Thanksgiving in Morristown, and a hibernation-themed guided hike in Short Hills. There are also tons of events happening in museums throughout the state, as well as little hints of Christmas popping up here and there – a production of A Christmas Story at the Count Basie Theatre, for instance, and St. Nick's arrival at Storybook Land. For even more fun things to do this month, be sure to check out our November GoList, and look to the Events Calendar for a more complete picture of what's happening this weekend and beyond.
There's a new train chuffing into Whippany Station this Christmas season: Holiday revelers who want to ride the rails can hop aboard The Polar Express. This train ride will replace the Santa Claus Special, which has been run by the Whippany Railway Museum for the last 24 years. The Polar Express will be operated by the Morristown Erie Railway.
And don't worry – if you're not quite ready to think about Christmas just yet, there's still plenty of fall fun to be had throughout New Jersey.
In certain parts of New Jersey, it seems like you can’t walk more than a few feet without stumbling upon a spot where George Washington and the Continental Army made history during the Revolutionary War. Indeed, New Jersey is known as “The Crossroads of the American Revolution,” and Washington spent more time in our strategically located state than anywhere else during the war. It’s pretty incredible when you think about it: the Revolutionary War happened all around us.
Whether you're looking to put a little educational spin on your next family day trip or your child is suddenly turning into a budding historian, a visit to one of these historic spots can make a great way to spend a morning or afternoon in New Jersey. You'll see old barracks and monuments, hike along nature trails, and even enjoy hands-on activities and demonstrations at places like the Princeton Battlefield State Park.
Read on for five of the best sites in NJ for kids to soak up a little American history.