Hope you’re all set for some weekend family fun! If you’re searching for local activities to enjoy with the kids, we’ve got you covered!

The annual holiday tradition, Essex County’s Holiday Lights Spectacular at the Turtle Back Zoo, opens for the season this Friday! Take a stroll through the zoo surrounded by the sparkling lights of over 50 winter and animal holiday-themed figures illuminated with over one million lights. Myrtle the Turtle, the mascot of Turtle Back Zoo, and several of his winter friends will be on hand to greet visitors at the zoo.

Montclair Public Library (50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair) will host Read to a Therapy Dog on Friday from 4–5 p.m. Read to Murray, a trained seeing-eye dog now registered through the Bright and Beautiful therapy dog program in NJ. No registration is required. Each reader will have 10 minutes to read to Murray on a first-come-first-served basis.

Watchung Booksellers (44 Fairfield Street, Montclair) will host Storytime with Alliah Agostini on Friday from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM. Join Watchung Booksellers in welcoming back author Alliah L. Agostini to celebrate her latest children’s book, “Oprah Winfrey: A Little Golden Biography.” Help your little one dream big with a Little Golden Book biography about talk show host, producer, and actor Oprah Winfrey. Little Golden Book biographies are the perfect introduction to nonfiction for young readers—as well as fans of all ages! This Little Golden Book about Oprah Winfrey–host of the highest-rated daytime talk show in American history, and one of the most influential and successful women in the world–is an inspiring read-aloud for young children, as well as their parents and grandparents. This activity is free. Reserve a spot online.

NJPAC (1 Center Street, Newark) presents “When You Wish Upon a Star: A Jazz Tribute to 100 Years of Disney” on Friday at 7:30 p.m. “Someday My Prince Will Come,” “He’s a Tramp,” “Everybody Wants to be a Cat” and “The Bare Necessities” are just a few of the iconic tunes you’ll hear performed by the newly created house band of The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum led by Artistic Directors Jon Batiste and Christian McBride.

On Saturday from 1–3:30 p.m. at The Judy West Garden at Watchung Park in Montclair, The Seeing Eye will host an event for you to witness service dogs in action, an experience that showcases their vital roles and the joy they bring. The event includes a chance to meet and greet adorable Seeing Eye puppies in training. It’s an event tailored for everyone, especially those who adore puppies! Enjoy this unforgettable demonstration and a day filled with furry fun.

Newark Museum of Art (49 Washington Street, Newark) will host Community Day: Ballantine Funfair on Saturday from 12 a.m. to 5 p.m. Take a step back in time and experience a Vintage Funfair. In honor of the re-opening of The Ballantine House, celebrate like the Ballantines might have. Enjoy carnival games, fun fair foods, art making, special demonstrations, and more! Built in 1885, The Ballantine House reveals many unseen stories of the skilled craftspeople who built the home, those who kept it running, and the Ballantine family who lived here. Contemporary art, historical objects, and new interactive experiences highlight the rich history and diversity of Newark’s many communities. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Parking is available next to the Museum for a $10 fee, with entrances located on Washington Street and Central Avenue. Enjoy free general admission to the Museum all day during Community Day! Registration is required.

Gas Lamp Players will present Mean Girls Jr. at Ridgewood Avenue School Auditorium (235 Ridgewood Avenue, Glen Ridge) on Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. This “fetch” musical from book writer Tina Fey (30 Rock), lyricist Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde), and composer Jeff Richmond (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) is packed with keen wit, an undeniably catchy score, and a sincere message for everyone. Cady Heron may have grown up on an African savanna, but nothing prepared her for the wild and vicious ways of her strange new home: suburban Illinois. Adapted from Fey’s 2004 blockbuster film and the Broadway smash hit, Mean Girls JR. will be the queen bee of your stage! Tickets start at $15 for adults and $10 for children, students, and seniors.

Glen Ridge Public Library (240 Ridgewood Avenue, Glen Ridge) will host Lego Day on Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 AM. The library has the LEGOs. Kids should bring their creativity. Duplos for younger children are also provided.

The Frelinghuysen Arboretum (353 East Hanover Avenue, Morris Twp) continues to host the Family Photo Scavenger Hunt. Held daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., bring your camera or phone for this month’s hunt. The theme for November is Leaf Me Alone. Leaves are falling and waiting to be found.  Look for the sizes, shapes, and colors. What can you find throughout the gardens? The cost is $10 per family or group of 6 or fewer. Preregistration is required. 

Macculloch Hall Historical Museum (45 Macculloch Avenue, Morristown) will host At Your Own Pace: A Sensory-Friendly Tour on Saturday from 9:30–11:30 a.m. Family and care partners with neurodiverse children and teens are invited to experience the historic house with plenty to touch and time for questions and explore the new garden sensory pathway through sight, sound, touch, and smell. This activity is free to members and with museum admission. No appointment is needed.

Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center (247 Southern Boulevard, Chatham Township) will host Sunshine Yoga for Kids: Outer Space on Saturday from 10–10:45 a.m. This is an awesome class for kids ages 4-7 who want to play games, use their imaginations, and have FUN! Each class is taught by a licensed yoga instructor and centers around a nature theme. Kids learn 5 yoga poses to use in the games. At the end of every class, we will talk about a “big feeling,” such as being mad, and learn a new tool to help us cope with that feeling. The cost is $12 per child. Preregistration is required.

Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center (247 Southern Boulevard, Chatham Township) will host Kids in the Wild: Staying Warm on Saturday from 10–11 a.m. for children ages 8-13. Get into the woods, learn different outdoor skills, meet other like-minded kids, and build confidence. In this session, participants will learn how to stay warm in various outdoor conditions using clothing, fire, and shelter. The cost is $10 per child and preregistration is required.

Fosterfields Living Historical Farm (73 Kahdena Road, Morristown) will host Make Your Own Butter on Saturday at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Learn to make butter just in time for Thanksgiving! Make butter in the butter churns, then select the ingredients for flavored butter (salt or fruit). Enjoy some butter and bread and take the rest home! This activity is for all ages, and the cost is $25 per family. Register online.

Essex County Environmental Center (621 Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland) will host Lenape Life on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Visit the Lenape Learning Area to better understand how they hunted, fished, foraged, and farmed using sticks, stones, and bones. Make a clay pot and explore topics such as fire-friction, plant identification, games, clothing, and more. The cost is $30 per family (up to two adults and two children) or $10 per child and $12 per adult. Register online.

Morris Museum (6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown) will host Spark!Lab on Saturday and Sunday from 12–4 p.m. Spark!Lab offers any child ages 5-12 (and accompanied by an adult) a new informal approach to hands-on learning. Created by the Smithsonian, Spark!Lab ignites kids’ ingenuity with fun, hands-on challenges. Instead of following instructions, kids tap into their natural creativity to tackle engineering and design challenges in Spark!Lab’s projects stations. Specially designed for our youngest inventors (Ages 1-4), Spark!Lab’s new Young Inventor Space features a train and an exploration table filled with unique tools to spark creativity and learning. 

Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange) will host Wonders of the Wild on Saturday from 1–3 p.m. Turtle Back Zoo is an amazing classroom! The Wonders of the Wild program offers students an opportunity to participate in supplementary science and nature-themed programs and projects that facilitate scientific literacy and life-long environmental stewardship. This week’s theme is Producers, Consumers, and Decomposers. This activity is for children ages 6-12. The cost is $30 per person.

Fosterfields Living Historical Farm (73 Kahdena Road, Morristown) will host Willows Tour: Willows at War on Saturday from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. Take a tour through the Willows and learn about the connections to the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. The cost is $5 per person for this all-ages activity.

Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center (247 Southern Boulevard, Chatham Township) will host Apple Cidering Demonstrations on Saturday at 1p.m. and 3 p.m. Find out why you’ve been looking at apples upside down your whole life and help make fresh apple cider by hand with an old-fashioned cider press. Taste homemade cider at the end! No registration is required, but the activity is first-come, first-served. It is for children ages 6 and up with an adult, and the cost is $5 per person.

Cedar Beans Coffee Joint will host Guitar Bob Messano and Sunday Bobstock on Sunday at 10:00 AM. Stop in for this family-friendly show.

Cora Hartshorn Arboretum & Bird Sanctuary (324 Forest Drive South, Short Hills) will host Hot Cider Hikes on Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM. Take a guided hike through the fall foliage while sipping on a soothing cup of hot apple cider. This event is fun for the whole family and gives you a chance to learn about the changing fall landscape, history of the Arboretum, our conservation efforts, and animals that call our woodland habitat home. The cost is $10 per person. Register online.

Montclair Public Library (50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair) will host Fall Storytime on Sunday from 2:00 PM to 2:30 PM for children ages birth to 5 years. Join friends from the Teen Advisory Board for a special fall-themed storytime! Registration is recommended but not required.

Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange) will host Zoo Explorers Program on Sunday at 10:00 AM. Participants will use movement, stories, games, and crafts for these interactive, science-based lessons to learn about the wonderful and fascinating world of animals. Supervised outings to specific areas of the Zoo that support the lesson are included as weather permits. The cost is $30 per child. Advanced registration is required. This activity is suitable for 4- and 5-year-olds.

Newark Museum of Art (49 Washington Street, Newark) will host November Family Sunday on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy a fun day of science activities for the whole family, including MakerSPACE and Family Drop-In: Mask Making – Materials Exploration. Visit the website for more details and a schedule. This activity is free with general admission.  

Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center (247 Southern Boulevard, Chatham Township) will host Apple Cidering for Littles on Sunday from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM. Since the little ones are too young for the regular apple cider demonstrations, the GSOEC is offering a special session just for them. Enjoy an apple cidering story, and fun activities before you help press apple cider. Taste homemade cider at the end! This activity is for children ages 2-5 with an adult. The cost is $7 per child.

Frelinghuysen Arboretum (353 East Hanover Avenue, Morristown) will host Floral Arranging for Kids: Thanks for Thanksgiving on Sunday from 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM. The cost is $25 per child, and the activity is suitable for children ages 6-12. Preregistration is required.

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