Places to Play Indoors in Jersey City and Hoboken

Indoor places for kids in Jersey City and Hoboken:

Although we’ve had some unseasonably warm weather, winter is officially here! Days at the playground will begin to become fewer and father between as the weather cools down and the kids are going to need someplace to run around. What is a mommy to do? Don’t fear! Check out some of these fantastic indoor play spaces in Jersey City and Hoboken. Grab your energetic little ones and get them playing, singing, reading, crafting or exploring. And you don’t even have to travel that far.

Jersey City:

Indoors places for kids in Jersey City

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Gym

My Gym has developed an extraordinary program and facility devised to help children 6 weeks thru 10 years of age develop physically, cognitively and emotionally. We have hundreds of locations in more than 30 countries offering structured, age-appropriate, weekly classes that incorporate music, dance, relays, games, special rides, gymnastics, sports and more. Children have loads of fun as they gain strength, balance, coordination, agility and flexibility while developing social skills, confidence and self-esteem. Our state-of-the-art facility, extensively trained staff, award-winning class programs, and excellent student/teacher ratio have earned My Gym the reputation as the best early learning program of its kind.

Indoors places for kids in Jersey City and Hoboken

Indoors places for kids in Jersey City

 

 

 

 

HudsonPLAY

HudsonPLAY is a unique family playspace with activities to engage at every age. It definately kids’  favorite indoor place in Jersey City, With a focus on interactive entertainment and fitness, HudsonPLAY is designed for serious fun with dynamic play areas for toddlers, state-of-the-art activities for preschoolers and a challenging Ninja Warrior Course for everyone else! Come and rediscover the excitement of PLAY.

Indoors places for kids in Jersey CityLiberty Science Center 

No matter how the wather is, LSC is the best indoor place for kids in Jersey City.If you are in the Jersey City area, one of the best indoor playlands is Liberty Science Center! It is the perfect spot for rainy days, snowy days and pretty much any day that you don’t feel like playing outside. There are changing exhibits for kids of all ages and permanent fixtures that kids love. Experience. Tickets will cost you $19.75/Adult over 13 years of age and $14.75/Child ages 2 – 12 for general admission. Luckily, they offer great membership rates. A “Basic Family” membership will cost $140 and includes two adults and up to four kids under 18 years of age.

Indoors places for kids in Jersey City and Hoboken

Indoors places for kids in Jersey CityJersey City Public Library

The main branch of the Jersey City Public Library offers a Children’s Room that offers many children’s books and a plethora of events. Check out the events calendar for information on events in all of Jersey City’s library branches. Events at the main branch include crafts, movies, performances and many other family-friendly activities.

Indoors places for kids in Jersey City

 

 

 

 

 

Gymboree Play & Music, Jersey

At Gymboree Play & Music, our fall classes and special activities inspire learning at every turn. Our warm & vibrant play floor encourages your child to continue playing as weather cools outdoors. Join us for fall crafts and spooktacular story times during Open Gyms. Wear your costume to class as we explore literacy with favorite fall books. Our programs help your child from 0-5 years develop the physical, cognitive and social skills needed for confident learning. Your first class is always free when you make fall friends at Gymboree!


Tiny Greenhouse

Tiny Greenhouse is a “friendly art studio”, located in downtown Jersey City, which offers classes and more. They also offer a drop-in studio/open play for children ages one – five, with an adult.  They have pre-set tables with clay, crayons, blocks, puzzles, toys, books, etc. Your little one will have a blast interacting and playing. The price is $15/child per hour. Click here to see the schedule and book your day in advance.

Indoors places for kids in Jersey CityHudson-Bayonne Lanes 

Bowling is the perfect indoor, cold-weather activity! The bowling center offers 60 lanes, bumpers, full service grill, private off-street parking, arcade machines and much more. Plus, they are open daily all day long! Click here to register and receive coupons.

Indoors places for kids in Jersey CitySaint Peter’s University Swimming Pool

The swimming pool at Saint Peter’s University offers swimming lessons and a family pool membership, both at reasonable rates. There are specific times that you have to come in order to swim freely, however. Please contact Saint Peter’s directly for more information.

Indoors places for kids in Jersey CityKey Element Learning :

One of the most popular indoors place for kids in Jersey City is Key Element Learning and it has three locations in Hoboken and one in downtown Jersey City. This facility offers many classes for different age groups including art, language, music, literacy, cooking, science and more. The Jersey City location offers a two-hour drop-off program called “Mommy Errand Time” Tuesday through Friday from 1:30pm – 3:30pm for children two through five years of age.

Hoboken:

Indoors places for kids in Jersey CityKidville Annex 

This playland offers classes for children up to 6 years of age. Classes include art, dance, gym, music and more. Plus, it has a large indoor playspace for members. You get a Silver Membership for free when you register for any class there. You may purchase Platinum, Gold and Diamond level memberships, as well. Click here to sign up for a free trial class.

Indoors places for kids in Jersey CityHoboken Public Library

The children’s department at Hoboken Public Library offers many books and activities for families. Some of their fall and winter programs include “Book Buddies” where kids at least eight years of age read in small groups, “Reading Dogs” which allows children kindergarten age and up to pair up with a puppy and many more programs! Family programs are offered once a month and include songs, stories, performances and more.

Indoors places for kids in Jersey CityMimi Kids Yoga 

This fun-tastic yoga studio offers a two hour drop-off class for children ages two – three and a half years old. Class sizes are small to give children one-on-one attention with the instructor. Classes are offered on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. A 16-week session is $649, with discounts for siblings. Space is limited, so contact them for more information.

Romparoo

Romparoo is a “soft indoor playroom” that offers classes, drop-off and open play time. They offer drop-off classes are offered Monday through Friday and is for children one and a half through three and a half years of age. The drop-in rate for these classes is $50 or you can register and pay $180/month, which includes one class per week, one open play per week and 10% off birthday parties. Open play time is offered Mondays and Wednesdays from 1pm – 2pm for children six months through three years of age. The cost for open play is $15/child.

Spring Break Activities

It’s been a long winter and we are all itching to get outside! Spring Break is coming up and I’m sure you want to get out of the house as much as the kids do. Outdoor activities would be great but, with the crazy weather we’ve been having, it’s good to have options for outdoor and indoor activities to keep the kids busy this Spring Break.

Spring Break Camps

Several local establishments are offering Spring Break camps for kids to stay busy even when they aren’t in school!

For Application form: FAAJC-Spring Camp 2015 Application Form

Tiny Greenhouse, an art and design studio for kids, is offering a camp called “Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away!” The camp runs from April 6 – 8 from 12:30pm – 3pm for ages 3.5 – 7 years. The cost is $135 for three sessions or $50 for one session. Click here to sign up.

If your little ones are into Lego, try Bricks 4 Kidz school break camps! The location in Hoboken will offer half day camps from 8:30am – noon for $45 per day and full day camps from 8:30am – 2:30pm for $65 per day for kid’s ages 4 and up. The dates range from April 6 – 10. Enroll on their website.

The Crop Shop in Hoboken is offering a camp on April 6 – 10 from 9am – 3pm for children ages 6 and up. Activities for kids will include gardening, ceramics and clay work, painting, collaging and more! They will even take the kids to the park for a bit of play time each day! The cost is $299 for the whole week or $65 for “mini-camp” days. To register, click here.

If your children are into dance, try the spring break camp at Monroe Street Movement Space in Hoboken. They make it convenient by allowing parents to register for a whole week or just single days. The camp runs April 3 – 10 from 9am – 3pm or 9am – 5pm and is offered for children ages 3 – 12 years old. Students must be fully potty-trained and not need a nap anymore. For a full week, prices range from $275 – $375 per child. Single days are $60 – $80 per day, per child. Siblings receive a discount. Plus, they offer early drop-off and late pick-up. Click here to register.

Turtle Back Zoo is a fun place to visit in spring. When the air is getting warmer, it’s the perfect place to hang out for the day. And this year, for Spring Break, they are even offering a Mini Zoo Camp! Indoor and outdoor spaces are used to explore, discover and examine local and exotic wildlife. They are offering two sessions that will run 4 days each from 9am – 3pm and each session will offer classes for three age groups (K-1, 2-3, 4-5). Session one will run March 30 – April 2 and session two will run April 7 – 10. The cost is $325 per camp session. Click here to register.

Classes and Indoor Activities

If you don’t want to do a whole camp for your children, try a class or two! There are plenty of local places offering classes throughout Spring Break.

Try Guitar Bar, Jr for the little music guru in your family. They offer classes for infants and up. Their Little RocknRollers class is from ages 6 months – 4 years and offers an eclectic mix of musical genres for young rockers to shake, drum and dance! You can purchase a drop-in class for $24 or $15 for babies’ classes. Classes are offered throughout the week, check out their online schedule to book the class that works best for you.

The Crop Shop in Hoboken offers many different arts and crafts themed classes for children of various ages. There is an Easter Egg Decorating class being held on April 4 from 11am – 1pm. Children receive 6 hard-boiled eggs to dye, paint and bling out! The cost is $22 per child. Register here.

Get your little ones active and relaxed at Mimi Yoga in Hoboken! They offer classes from crawlers – 7 years old. Your first trial class is free! Drop-in classes are $25 each and you can purchase class passports for discounted rates on multiple classes. Click here for the daily schedule of classes.

Take the family to a screening of “The Wizard of Oz” in 3D at the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC. Tickets are $12 or $9 for students. Showtimes are at 12:30pm daily from April 3 – 12. Click here for tickets.

The Amazing Max Live is a magic show with a mind of its own! Enjoy magic, comedy and lots of audience participation. This show is perfect for the entire family. See the show from April 6 – 11. Tickets start at $29.50. Click here to buy tickets.

Head over to the New York Hall of Science in NYC to check out BubbleMania: Science, Art and Comedy with Casey Carle. This fun 30-minute show includes a high-energy mix of comedy, swing music and amazing soap bubble manipulations! $6 per person, plus NYSCI admission. Shows are from April 7 – 9 at 1pm and 2pm.

Get Outside

If you need to just get outside, there are too many options to list. In our area, Liberty State Park is probably the first option that will come to mind. The large park offers many options to families seeking some outdoor activity. There is a large playground that the little ones love. There are pathways for biking, skating and running. As the Interpretive Center is still closed, check out the Richard J. Sullivan Natural Area, which is adjacent to the center and boasts 36 acres of natural area. You can take a self-guided nature path to observe this local wildlife habitat.

If you want some place a little bigger to explore, try Watchung Reservation. Only about 30 minutes from downtown Jersey City, this 2,000-acre natural area offers playgrounds, more than 13 hiking trails, Surprise Lake, the Deserted Village of Feltvile/Glenside Park and much more! Take the kids to the Trailside Nature and Science Center which offers 4,500 square feet of interactive, state-of-the-art exhibits and much more.

Branch Brook Park is located in Newark and is about a 15 minute drive from downtown Jersey City. The 360 acre park will begin its 2015 Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival on April 11. It’s at the tail end of spring break this year, but fun anyway! The fun begins on April 11 and runs through April 19.  Come on an off day and take a historic cell phone tour of the park!

If you haven’t checked out The Bronx Zoo, this is the time, before summer crowds make it hard to park and harder to see exhibits. There is a lot of outdoor walking, so dress appropriately. There are so many things to see and do at the Bronx Zoo including Tiger Mountain, the Bug Carousel, The Wild Asia Monorail and so much more! Online rates for tickets are $21.55 for adults 13 and up, $15.25 for children 3 – 12 and kids under 2 are free. Click here for tickets.

Easter Egg Hunts and Events In and Around Jersey City

Easter Egg Hunts Events In Jersey City

Easter Egg Hunts Events In Jersey CityEaster Egg Hunts


Hoboken Grace Church Easter Egg Hunt

Mama Johnson Field, 4th and Jackson, Hoboken

Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 10am – noon

Enjoy more than 10,000 candy-stuffed Easter eggs to be found by children ages 1 – 12. The hunt starts at 11am sharp. Children can also enjoy face-painting, crafts, bouncy houses, music, games and pictures with the Easter Bunny! The event is free, but pre-registration is recommended.

Easter Egg Hunts Events In Jersey CityHoboken Family Alliance Spring Fling Egg Hunt 

Columbus Park, 9th and Clinton, Hoboken

Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 10am – noon (Rain date: March 29)

Egg hunts begin at 10am and will run continuous through noon. Children can trade their found (empty) eggs for a bag of goodies to take home! Also, enjoy a bunny-hop, egg races and Guess the Number of Jelly Beans Contest for a bike! Groups of children of all ages will be able to enter the Spring Farm for 15 minute intervals and re-enter. The cost is free for HFA members are $5 suggested donation for non-members.

Easter Egg Hunts Events In Jersey CityHamilton Park Neighborhood Association and JCFamilies Easter Event

Dance Party By Little Club Head

Hamilton Park, Jersey City

Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 10am – 12:30pm

Enjoy the annual egg hunt picture with the Easter Bunny, goodies for the kids, food, entertainment and a DJ dance party! This event is free.

Easter Egg Hunts Events In Jersey CityEaster Egg Hunt 

Children’s Museum of Manhattan, NYC

Sunday, April 5, 2015 from 10am – 4:45pm

Hunt for hidden egg icons in the museum! Grab a scavenger hunt booklet to record where you spot them and bring the booklet to the lobby to collect your Easter prize! This event is free with paid museum admission.

Easter Egg Hunts Events In Jersey CitySpring Eggstravaganza 

St. Paul’s Grace Church, NYC

Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 11am

Enjoy an egg hunt, crafts and face painting for children 1 – 10 years of age. Snacks, too! This event is free.

Easter Events

Easter Egg Hunts Events In Jersey CityBreakfast with the Easter Bunny 

Wicked Wolf Tavern, Hoboken

Saturday, April 4, 2015 from 9am – noon

Join the Easter Bunny for breakfast! Come meet the famous bunny, take pictures with him, enjoy a breakfast buffet and enjoy some fun arts and crafts. Tickets are $15/person and children 3 and under are free.

Easter Sunday Cruise 

Spirit Cruise, Lincoln Harbor, Weehawken

Sunday, April 5, 2015 from noon – 2pm

Share a grand buffet with the Easter Bunny including kid-friendly items like pizza, chicken fingers, etc. There will also be music, dancing and a great tour of the Hudson and East Rivers, Ellis Island the Statue of Liberty. Tickets are $61.90/adult, $37.95/children ages 3 – 12 and children under 3 are free.


Annual Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival 

Fifth Avenue between 49th and 57th, NYC

Sunday, April 5, 2015 from 10am – 4pm

Check out wacky hats and other sorts of bonnets as you enjoy the Easter Parade down Fifth Avenue!

Easter Egg Hunts Events In Jersey CityEaster Eggstravaganza Children’s Art Workshop 

The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, NYC

Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 10am – noon

Kids can create colorful patterns on their eggs and build a nest for decorated eggs. Please bring 2 hard-boiled eggs per child. This event is recommended for children ages 4 and up. Admission is $8/child, with accompanying adult. It is recommended that you purchase tickets in advance here.

Full Bunny Contact: NYC’s Extreme Egg Hunt and Insane Easter Carnival

The Clemente, NYC

April 1 – 5, 2015

This unique Easter celebration is for kids ages 10 and up. Participants battle angry bunnies for cash, candy and prizes! Enjoy games, events and side attractions. Admission ranges from $10 – $60.

HDSID is hosting free Easter Bunny pictures at Word Bookstore

Word Bookstore ,Jersey City

March 28th 10 am untill Noon

Go Skiing!

If you read my post on ice skating in our area and are feeling like you are ready for more intense winter sports…let’s talk skiing! There are plenty of options that are easily accessible from the Jersey City area. The Poconos offer some great options in PA, upstate New York boasts some memorable spots and we’ve even got some right here in NJ! Here’s a handy list of some of the best ski locations based on proximity and family friendliness. Plus, many of the destinations on this list offer snowtubing, which is a fun and easy winter sport alternative. It’s a great option for all ages.

New Jersey

Mountain Creek, Vernon

Mountain Creek is located in Vernon, which is about a 1.5 hour drive from downtown Jersey City. It is located very close to the NJ/NY border. This ski resort offers 167 acres of trails on 4 mountain peaks and is the “region’s highest vertical and the only true All-Mountain Terrain Park south of Vermont.” They have merged with Crystal Springs Resort and offer golf, a spas, a lodge, several restaurants, skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing and more. They offer lessons for children as young as 4 and start at $99.99. Kids Kamp is a full-day option which includes a lift ticket, lesson and lunch for skiers and snowboarders from 4 – 7 years of age. Kids Kamp rates begin at $159.99 and include all rental equipment. Another fun option is the snowtubing, which children must be 42 inches tall and at least 5 years old to participate in. Rates are $20 for a 2 hour session. They offer many ticket deals, including 4th and 5th grade kids in NJ get a free learn to ride package! Lodging options include the Grand Cascades Lodge, Minerals Resort & Spa (which they tout as their family resort), The Appalachian (studio, one and two bedroom units slope side) and Black Creek Sanctuary (gated townhomes).

Campgaw Mountain, Mahwah 

This is a smaller mountain, but a great place to learn to ski or snowboard. They also offer snowtubing here. Campgaw Mountain is just under an hour’s drive from downtown Jersey City. It is a much smaller operation than your average ski resort, so it’s the perfect place to take the family if you are learning, don’t like lines and just want to have a relaxing ski experience. Programs are offered that are multi-week lessons. They offer a Cruisers program for children 4 – 6 years old. This program allows kids to become comfortable with ski equipment and learn how to ski amongst children their age. Program begins at $95. The First Step program is designed for ages 7 and up and teaches the fundamentals of skiing and snowboarding. Pricing for this program begins at $168. After that comes Next Step which is also for 7 and up and is designed for those who can safely traverse the top or mid-station of the hill. Pricing begins at $168. Daily lessons are also offered on a group, private or semi-private basis. Pricing varies, but begins at $32 for a children’s lesson (ages 4 – 6). Check the website for details. Snowtubing is a popular family activity that Campgaw Mountain offers. Ride a tube down the hill and use a surface lift to just ride your tube right back up again. Sessions sell out quickly and it is recommended that you purchase your tickets online in advance. All riders must be a minimum height of 42 inches. Hours and rates vary, see the website for details.

Thunder Ridge Ski Area, Patterson 

Thunder Ridge is about an hour and 45 minute drive from downtown Jersey City. They offer 30 trails, 3 chairlifts and 4 magic carpet lifts. Mid-week specials are offered Monday through Thursday where lift tickets are only $25 for ages 6 and up from 10am – 5pm. Lessons are offered for every skill level, from beginner to expert for kids 3 and up. Private lessons are offered for $95/hour. Many types of group lessons are available ranging from a Mommy/Daddy and Me class for ages 3 – 5 which is an hour in length and costs $49 per parent and child. Thunderbolts is a lesson for children ages 4 – 7 years old and introduces kids to skiing. A 75 minute lesson is $41. Ridge Riders is a lesson for snowboarders ages 6 – 7 and is $41 for a 75 minute lesson. Other groups for all ages are available, check the website for pricing and times. Advance reservations are always recommended. Half-Day programs are offered on weekends and holidays from 9:30am – 1pm for children ages 5 – 9 years old. Prices vary. They even offer babysitting options if you want to hit the slopes with your significant other and your little one isn’t ready. Lodging options in the immediate surrounding areas include Comfort Suites, Ethan Allen Hotel, Hilton Garden Inn and more. Check their website for deals and packages available through the listed hotels. In addition, many local restaurants are located nearby.

New York

Hunter Mountain, Hunter 

One of the most popular NY ski destinations, Hunter is about a 2.5 hour drive from downtown Jersey City. Many family-friendly winter activities are available. They offer the largest snowtubing park in New York State including more than 20 chutes nearly 1,000 feet long, a mini tubing park for children, a snack bar, fire pit and more! Two hour sessions begin every hour on the hour for $20/person 42 inches and above. Two hour sessions are available for children 33 inches – 42 inches for $30 for child and adult. Advance booking is recommended. Friday nights enjoy a Family Fun Pak – only $52 for tickets for four people. There are many lessons and programs offered for all ages. The Explorers Program is for ages 4 – 6 years old and offers fun and kid-friendly ski instruction. You can drop kids off, but you must be on the premises during program time. Single sessions that are 2 hours are offered, as well as full day sessions which are 4 hours and include snack and lunch. Single sessions are $85 including life, lesson and equipment (no lunch) and full day sessions are $125 including lift, lesson, equipment, lunch and snack. Mountaineers is a program offered for ages 7 – 12 years old and includes ski and snowboard lessons. Singles sessions are offered for $85 including lift, lesson and equipment. Full day sessions are $125 and include lift, lesson, equipment, lunch and snack. Reservations are required for all programs. If you want to hit the slopes for a bit on your own, try Playcare, which is a childcare service for children ages 2 – 6 years old. The service is $85 for a full day (up to 9 hours), $68 for a half day (up to 4 hours) and there are 2 hour options available for $45 per child. There are many lodging options including the Kaatskill Mountain Club and Liftside Condos, which are slopeside and offer ski-in/ski-out access.

Tuxedo Ridge, Tuxedo 

Tuxedo Ridge is a ski resort that is very family-friendly and is located about an hour’s drive from downtown Jersey City. They offer 7 trails plus a kitty slope/beginner area, racing, night skiing on all trails, double chairlifts and a snowtubing park. Kiddy Group lessons are offered for $30 (on weekends and holidays only) for children up to 6 years old and include an all-access lift ticket, one hour group lesson and ski/boot rentals. Private lessons are $70 for ages 3 years and up. Snowtubing is a great family winter activity. 1.5 hour sessions are offered on weekends and holidays and are $25/person. Children must be 42 inches tall. Advance reservations are recommended. There are several local hotels and bed and breakfasts that offer packages to Tuxedo Ridge Ski Center. Click here for information.

Mount Peter, Warwick 

Mount Peter was actually started in 1936 by Macy’s Department Store to show off and sell their ski fashion. It is located in Warwick, NY, just over the NJ border, just a bit more than an hour’s drive from downtown Jersey City and offers 14 trails and 5 lifts. Lessons are offered for every age and level. They even offer a free beginner lesson on weekends and holidays for skiers (with the purchase of a lift ticket for ages 5 and up). Pete’s Pals is a program offered for children ages 4 and under (must be potty-trained). The cost is $75 and includes the lesson, ski equipment, lift ticket/area pass and hot chocolate. Also, a Kids Camp is offered for 3 hours for ages 5 and up. Children must have skied or snowboarded before and can ride the area by oneself. Weekends only for $195 (without equipment rental $165). Many deals are offered including Discount Tuesdays for which you must show your current union, school, military or AARP card and get a half price lift/area ticket from 9am – 5pm. Ski and Stay packages are available at many area hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Note: There is a program called ISKINY Free for Kids offered for 3rd and 4th graders from anywhere (not just NY). The program gives kids the opportunity to ski or ride free at a majority of New York ski resorts this winter when accompanied by a paying adult. There is also a Learn to Ski or Ride Passport available for free, but not every resort is participating in that. Check the website and apply to get a ticket book of free lift coupons.

Pennsylvania

Camelback Mountain, Tannersville 

The Poconos offers many fun ski resort options, including Camelback. It’s about 1.5 hour’s drive from downtown Jersey City and offers the biggest ski and snowboarding terrain (34 trails and 16 lifts) in the area and boasts the biggest snowtubing park in the US. They offer many packages and lessons for kids including CamelCare Adventurers which is a half-day (2.5 hours) program geared toward children ages 3 – 5 years. Midweek rates are $110 and weekend/holiday rates are $129 and include ski or snowboard rental, instructional time and lift ticket.  Half-Day Kids Learning Center is for children ages 6 – 12 years and is available in the morning or afternoon. Mid-week sessions are $110 and weekend/holiday sessions are $129. There are various group and private lessons available, as well, with rates ranging from $35 – $125. Click here for details. It is highly recommended that you sign up for all lessons and programs online in advance. Snowtubing is a popular family activity at Camelback. There are up to 42 lanes of snowtubing available and there are tubing hours daily. Weekend and holiday tubing is limited to 3-hour sessions, but mid-week is unlimited and offered at one flat rate for the whole day. Rates vary, so click here to check. A double tube only with parent has a minimum height requirement of 33 inches to 43 inches. Single and double tubes are for 44 inches and up. Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult with a valid tubing ticket. Camelback Lodge is located on-site and offers various rooms and suites. Alternate area lodging is available, click here for details.

Great Wolf Lodge, Scotrun 

Great Wolf Lodge doesn’t offer on-site skiing, however, they are located very near to Camelback and, similarly, they are about a 1.5 hour’s drive from downtown Jersey City. The unique element to Great Wolf Lodge is their large indoor waterpark and multitude of children’s activities. Activities include  arcades, a children’s spa, a kid-friendly mini bowling alley, kiddie movie theater, ropes course and many quest type activities, plus much more! The waterpark includes rides for kiddies as small and toddlers on up. There are many themed-rides and pool areas. There’s something for every age. You attain access to the waterpark and activities by staying at the lodge. The waterpark allows you access after 1pm on your check-in day through the day you check-out. Unique family suites are available including KidKamp Suites with tents within your room and KidCabin suites where the kid’s beds are housed inside a little log cabin (it even comes with a TV inside!). They also offer more standard suites for those who want a more traditional room. Resort amenities include lots of on-site restaurants (even a sweet shop!), shops, an adult spa, a children’s spa and a fitness room. It’s basically a kiddie wonderland located near several ski/winter sport areas.

Shawnee Mountain, East Stroudsburg 

Shawnee is a great family destination for winter sports and is located very near to Camelback and is only a little over an hour’s drive from downtown Jersey City. They offer 23 trails, 8 lifts and 2 parks, plus snowtubing. Shawnee offers morning, afternoon and full-day children’s lessons. Three-hour group format sessions include use of an exclusive area for beginners, instruction, ski/snowboard rentals and youth lift ticket. SkIwee is for ages 4 – 6 and is just for skiing. Morning and afternoon session are available and one session is $100 and include snack. Mountain Cruisers is for ages 7 – 15 (ski only) and is available morning, afternoon or full day for $100 per session. Snack is included with half-day programs and lunch is included with full-day programs. Young Riders is for ages 7 – 15 for snowboarders only. Morning and afternoon sessions are available for $100 per session. Mid-week programs are for entry-level riders and weekends are for all levels. Snacks are included with all sessions. SKIbaby is an intro class for 3 year olds. Sessions include a one-hour ski lesson and equipment rental for $70. They also offer Mommy & Me ski lessons for parents and children together. One hour lessons are $70 per session. WEEriders is designed for children ages 4 – 6 that want to snowboard. This 2-hour group session includes a lesson and equipment rental and cost $85. Snowtubing is offered in 2 or 4 hour sessions. Prices vary based on time and length, click here for details. Children must be accompanied by an adult. There are many lodging options in the surrounding area including The Shawnee Inn, which is on-site. Click here for area dining options. 

Ice Skating Rinks in and Around Jersey City


They say we are having a mild winter so far, but I feel like it is pretty cold out! More cold means less park time and outdoor activities. Or does it? Looking for a cold weather activity that will suit the whole family? Take them ice skating! There are some really great ice skating rinks in and around our area.

I recently tried ice skating for the first time with my 4 year old (I know…where have I been?!) at Pershing Field and it was a great experience. But I learned a few things…

Tips:

  • Bring your little one’s bike/scooter helmet. I didn’t realize this one until we were there. A lot of these places offer helmet rentals, but if you have one, bring one!
  • Dress appropriately! Some of these rinks are outdoors or partially covered, so it’s cold in there! Dress little one’s in a snowsuit with layers. If they fall on the ice (which they do…a lot) they will start to get wet, so snow pants are best. But, don’t forget about you. Try double socks to keep your feet warm in the rental skates.
  • Leave your bag at home or in the car. I know this one seems obvious, but I found myself at the ice skating rink with a bag and nowhere to leave it. Try just taking the essentials in your pockets or lock your bag in the trunk of your car while skating.

New Jersey

Jersey City Ice Skating RinkNewport Skates, 95 River Drive, Jersey City

This outdoor rink is open for the season! Admission is $7 and skate rentals are $6. Newport Residents and tenants get a discount of half price daily admission with proof of residential or employee ID card. Once you pay, you can skate all day, which is nice if you live locally or have kids that need a lot of time on the ice! Their hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 4pm – 9pm, Saturday 11am – 9pm and Sunday 11am – 7pm. They even have holiday hours on major holidays. The next holiday they will be open is on President’s Day from 11am – 9pm. Parking is limited in the area.

Jersey City Ice Skating RinkPershing Field Ice Rink, 807 Summit Avenue, Jersey City

This local favorite is in Jersey City Heights. They offer a parking lot, so it’s very convenient from downtown if you have a car. This rink is covered, but open to the outdoors. Admission for residents of Jersey City is $3 and $2 for children under 17 years of age. Skate rentals are $4. Public skating hour are offered Wednesday – Sunday and some holidays. You may come for the length of a session to skate. This is great if you have kids who tire easily or want a finite amount of time for skating. Public skating hours are: Wednesday 3:30pm – 6pm, Thursday 3:30pm – 6pm, Friday 3:30pm – 5:30pm and 5:45pm – 7:45pm and 8pm – 10pm, Saturday 1:15pm – 3:15pm and 3:30pm – 5:30pm and 5:45pm – 7:45pm and 8pm – 10pm, Sunday 1:15pm – 3:15pm and 3:30pm – 5:30pm and 5:45pm – 7:45pm. Holidays (next holiday is President’s Day) 11am – 1pm and 1:15pm – 3:15pm and 3:30pm – 5:30pm and 5:45pm – 7:45pm. The rink will be open through March 15, 2015. There is a small snack shop located inside the rink offering cookies, candy, hot chocolate and more. Plus, skating lessons are offered for children 8 – 17 and adults, which are free with paid rink entry. Click here for more information.

Jersey City Ice Skating RinkRichard J. Korpi Ice Rink, 669 Avenue A, Bayonne

If you like the indoor and temperature controlled ice skating experience, this rink is for you. This rink offers public skating sessions on Fridays from 5:45pm – 7pm, Saturdays from 2:15pm – 3:30pm and 6:45pm – 8pm and Sundays from 2pm – 3:15pm. The cost for non-residents is $6 per session and $4 for skate rentals. There is limited free public parking offered.

Jersey City Ice Skating RinkRichard J. Codey Arena at South Mountain, West Orange

This fantastic, recently renovated, indoor rink is only about a 30 minute drive from downtown Jersey City. It boats two rinks, a skate rental area, food concession area, locker rooms and more! It is located not far from the Turtle Back Zoo. Public skating session hours vary, so be sure to check the calendar here. Rates are $8/adult and $6/child. Skate rentals are $4. Pass cards are also available to buy for 12 admissions for the price of 10. They offer skating lessons, hockey lessons and various programs, check their website for details. On-site parking is available.

NYC

The Rink at Winter Village, Bryant Park, NYC

This 170’ x 100’ outdoor ice rink is located in the center of Bryant Park and skating is free! Skating hours are 8am – 10pm daily through March 1, 2015. Of course, if you don’t have your own skates you will have to rent them there. Rental fees are $15 per rental. They also offer helmet rentals for $6, skate aids for $15 for 30 minutes or $20 for a full hour. You can even check your bags for a fee. Lockers are available for use for free, but you must bring your own lock or purchase one there for $9. FastPass is an option to skip the line and pay for your family in advance, check the website for details. Skating lessons are offered, but they suggest you schedule the lesson in advance. Private lessons are $60, semi-private lessons are $75 per group and group lessons are $100 per group. All lessons are 30 minutes in duration. Winter Village offers many things including Ice Bites to get some treats during your skate, the Holiday ShopsCelsius restaurant, a fire pit at Southwest porch and even Le Carrousel. Getting there is easy, just take the B, D, F, M, 7 to 42nd Street.

Jersey City Ice Skating RinkWollman Rink, Central Park, NYC

Located in the southeastern section of Central Park, Wollman Rink has been open to the public since 1949. At this outdoor rink, skating is available through early April seven days a week, with limited hours on Monday and Tuesday (10am – 2:30pm). Wednesday and Thursday the rink is open from 10am – 10pm. Friday and Saturday the rink is open from 10am – 11pm and Sunday from 10am – 9pm. Monday – Thursday rates are $11.25/adult and $6/child 11 and under. Friday – Sunday and Holidays rates are $18/adult and $6/child 11 and under. Spectator’s rates are $5/person. Skate rentals are $8. You can rent locks for $5 with a $6 refundable deposit. The rink is cash only, so come prepared. The nearest subways are: A, B, C, D, 1 at 59th Street/Columbus Circle; N, Q, R at 5th Avenue/59th Street; F at 57th Street and the 4, 5, 6 at 59th Street.

Jersey City Ice Skating RinkThe Rink at Rockefeller Center, NYC

Perhaps one of the most famous ice skating locations in NYC, this outdoor rink is visited by people from all around the globe each winter. The rink is open daily with 1/5 hour sessions from 8:30am through until midnight. The rates are $27/adult and $15/child under 11 years of age. Skate rentals are $12. You can take skate lessons daily from 9am – 6pm for $50 per 30 minute private lesson (this also includes general admission to the rink). They also offer group rates with a 15 person minimum and advanced reservations required. Group rates are $15/adult and $10/child, with skate rentals being $8. There are so many things to do once you are there including great food, hot chocolate, shopping and so much more! Take the B, D, F to Rockefeller Center/47-50th Street.

Jersey City Ice Skating RinkSky Rink, Chelsea Piers, NYC

This indoor ice skating rink is open year-round. Skating sessions through March 9, 2015 are Monday and Friday 1:30pm – 5pm, Tuesday and Thursday 3pm – 5pm and Saturday – Sunday from 1pm – 3:50pm. They are closed on Wednesdays. Rates are $10/person for all ages and $5 per skate rental. Helmet rentals are available for $4.25. Various classes and programs are offered including private skate lessons, hockey tots, adult skate night and more. Check the website for details. Once you are there, Chelsea Piers offers so much including great food, drinks, shopping and more! On-site parking is available for a fee. You can also take the M23, M14-D or M12 buses.

New Year’s Events for Kids and Families


You may already have a babysitter booked for a night on the town with your significant other. But, if you don’t…here are some great events and activities in and around our area that will guarantee a fantastic New Year’s for the whole family!

12 Days of Science

Liberty Science Center, Jersey City

December 20 – January 1 (closed 12/25)

The LSC will be open both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, so it’s the perfect place to get out of the cold and get the kids active! This holiday celebration includes the new Infinity Climber, building and displaying a huge snowflake, meeting a penguin, tasting ice cream made with liquid nitrogen, special live shows and more. Special holiday hours are 9am – 6pm except for Christmas Eve (9am – 4pm). They are closed on Christmas Day.

Elf: The Musical 

Various Dates and Times

Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn

Looking for something fun and different to do on New Year’s? Take the kids to see Elf: The Musical! The Paper Mill Playhouse, located in Millburn, is only about a 20 minute drive from downtown Jersey City. There is a 1:30pm showing on New Year’s Eve and a 7pm showing on New Year’s Day. Tickets range from $36 – $91.

Holiday Lights

Now – January 4, 2015

Turtle Back Zoo, West Orange

You still have time to check out Holiday Lights if you haven’t already done so this season. Holiday Lights will be open on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day from 5pm – 9pm through January 4. The zoo will not have Holiday Lights on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. However, Holiday Lights will be open on New Year’s Day, although the zoo won’t be open during the day. The event is free to the public, though donations of canned goods, toys and pet food are encouraged.

Disney on Ice: Princesses and Heroes 

January 1 – 4, 2015

Izod Center, East Rutherford

See a showing on New Year’s Day at 1pm and explore a world of wonder where heroes and hearts prevail! Tickets start at $25 and parking is $15/car.

Winter Wonderland Camp 

December 29 – 31, 2014 from 11am – 1:30pm

Need a daytime activity for the little ones? Try Winter Wonderland Camp. Children ages 3.5 – 7 years will enjoy making sculptures, drawings, paintings, 3D objects and more. You can book an individual day for $50 per day or all three days for $135.

New Year’s Eve Family Cruise 

December 31, 2014

Pier 16, South Street Seaport, NYC

Take the whole family along for a night of New Year’s Eve fun on the New York Harbor! Kids and parents can dance the night away, play Wii games, enjoy treats, party favors and more. This event is best suited for older children, as the cruise boards at 9:05pm and sails until 12:20am. Tickets are $125 per child ages 3 – 12 and $200 per adult. Family packs are available for $600 (2 adults and 2 children).

Newport Skates 

Newport, Jersey City

Take the family skating for the day at Newport Skates! They will be open both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day from 11am – 9pm. Admission is $7/person and skate rentals are $6.

New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace

December 31, 2014 from 7pm – 9pm

St. John the Divine, NYC

Enjoy an evening of music at a beautiful location. This year’s concert is hosted by Harry Smith and features Judy Collins and Jason Robert Brown. General admission is free and open to the public and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center, NYC

If you are in the mood for ice skating and don’t mind crowds, take the family to this iconic ice skating rink in NYC. Skate together under the infamous Christmas tree. They have various hours daily, including New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Peak rates are $30/adult and $15/child (under 11) and skate rentals are $12.

Central Park Fireworks and NYRR Midnight Run 

December 31, 2014 at 10pm

Central Park, NYC

Celebrate with dancing, live performances and a firework show then countdown to midnight and partake in the 4 mile unscored midnight fun run. This event is free.

New Year’s Day Brunch Family Bowl 

January 1, 2015 at noon

Brooklyn Bowl, NYC

Start the New Year off with a strike! Enjoy bowling and brunch starting at noon. All ages until 6pm. There will be no cover charge.

Holiday Events In And Around Jersey City

Holiday Events In Jersey City

 Holiday Events In Jersey CityIt’s holiday time again! There are so many fun things to do with your family in your area. This is a great time of the year to get out there and have some holiday fun! Here are some ideas in Jersey City, NYC and the surrounding areas, by order of date.

 Holiday Events In Jersey CityHoliday Market

Grove Street PATH Plaza, Jersey City

Every Monday and Thursday through December 22 from 4pm – 8pm

Looking for gifts? Find some of the best local artists/crafters selling some truly unique holiday gifts.


Macy’s Santaland NYC 

Macy’s Herald Square, NYC

Now – December 24

Located on the 8th Floor of Macy’s Herald Square, this winter wonderland includes a North Pole village complete with live elves, Santa and much more holiday fun!

 Holiday Events In Jersey CityFrozen Ice Palace

The Mall at Short Hills, NJ

Now – December 24

Bring the kids to check out this 30 foot ice palace with falling snow, a light show and other activites for the whole family! Interactive globes will showcase scenes from the film. Adults and children enjoy leaving their hand prints at the Icy Hand Print station.


Holiday Train Show 

New York Botanical Garden, NYC

Now – January 19

Take the kids to see this annual NYC Christmas tradition. See the trains zip around more than 150 miniature iconic buildings from New York City. While you are there, check out the great events and activities for families in the Children’s Garden. Tickets are $28/adult, $26/student and $16/children 2 – 12 years of age. 

 Holiday Events In Jersey CityHoliday Lights 

Turtle Back Zoo, West Orange

Now – January 3 from 5pm – 9pm

Enjoy the beautiful holiday lights at Turtle Back Zoo! Admission is free and donations of canned goods, toys and pet food are encouraged.

 Holiday Events In Jersey CityWinterFest 

Grace Church Van Vorst, Jersey City

Friday, December 5 from 5pm – 8pm

Celebrate the holidays at this annual holiday gathering. Presented by Garden Preschool Cooperative, there will be musical performances by Michael Brown and the Rockasorrians, Nimbus Dance Works and the Jersey City Children’s Theater. Food will be for sale including rotisserie chicken, pizza and baked goods. $5/child suggested donation.

The Polar Express: An IMAX Experience 

Liberty Science Center, Jersey City

December 6, 13, 21 – 23, 26 – 30

Check out The Polar Express on the nation’s largest IMAX Dome Theater, right here in Jersey City! Bring the kids to see this family film. Tickets are $8.50 for children 2 – 12, $11.25 for adults for non-members. For members, tickets cost $5.50 per child and $7.50 per adult.


Jersey City Children’s Theater Presents: The Brave Little Tailor 

Barrow Mansion, Jersey City

December 6, 7, 13 and 14 at 2pm and 4:30pm each day

Bring the whole family for a magical holiday show for children 3 and up! Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door.

 Holiday Events In Jersey CityPeter and the Wolf with Isaac Mizrahi

Guggenheim, NYC

December 6 – 7 and 12 – 14

Isaac Mizrahi narrates Sergei Prokofiev’s charming children’s classic with a dance cast. For children five and up. $35/person for non-members and $30/person for members.


Annual Tree Lighting and Yuletide Carolers

Historic Jersey City and Harsimus Cove Cemetery

Saturday, December 6 at 5pm

Chestnuts will be roasting, cider will be warming and Victorian dressed Yuletide Carolers of New Jersey and friends will be filling the night air with joyous songs for the holidays! Special visit from Santa and Mrs. Clause!

 
Free Pictures with Santa

Bambino Chef, Jersey City

Saturday, December 6 from 10am – noon

Bring the kiddies for free pictures with Santa and some cookies, too!

Project: Market Winter Wonderland

City Hall Plaza, Jersey City

December 6 & 7 from 11am – 6pm

Enjoy a carousel, train rides, shopping and more! Plus, a tented and heated outdoor shopping experience in the heart of downtown Jersey City along with fantastic local food and drink!


SantaFest

14th Street Garden Center, Jersey City

Sunday, December 7 from 10am – 1pm

Enjoy coffee, cookies, hot chocolate and a free photo with Santa! As an added bonus, they have a great selection of apartment-sized Christmas trees and will deliver!


Snowflake Parade

Millburn, NJ

Sunday, December 7 at 1:30pm

Check out the parade with professional bands, clowns, costumed characters and more! Refreshments available after the parade. Millburn is only about a 20 minute drive from downtown Jersey City.


Pet Photos with Santa

Liberty Humane Society, Jersey City

Sunday, December 7 from noon – 3pm

Want a pic of your little furry one with Santa for the holidays? Go down to LHS and for a $10 donation you will receive a glossy photo and an email copy.


The Piano Guys: A Family Christmas

NJPAC, Newark

Friday, December 12

Get in the holiday spirit with these internet sensations! Tickets are $34.50 – $59.

 

 Holiday Events In Jersey CitySkate with Santa

Charlie Heger Ice Skating Rink at Pershing Field, Jersey City

Saturday, December 13 at noon

Bring the whole family out for a free ice skate with Santa! Plus, a free picture with Santa from noon – 2pm. Light refreshments will be served. Skate rentals are $4 for adults and children and $1 for seniors per session.

JCFamilies Frozen Fun Holiday Party

Sklyark on the Hudson, Jersey City

Saturday, December 13 from 11am – 1:30pm

Celebrate the holidays with a day of fun for the whole family! Take a picture with the Frozen Princesses, holiday-inspired arts and crafts, dancing and more! $14/child with a limit of one adult per child.

Jersey City Nutcracker

Frank R. Conwell Middle School #4 Auditorium, Jersey City

December 19 – 21

Join in the holiday tradition with an urban holiday Nutcracker! $18 general admission, $25 premium seating and $10 for students and seniors.

 

The Jersey City Mayor’s Christmas Concert

The Landmark Loew’s Theatre, Jersey City

Saturday, December 20 at 7pm

Enjoy a night of holiday music featuring the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea, conducted by Father Alphonse Stephenson. The concert is free, but bring a small wrapped gift for a child.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical 
NJPAC, Newark

December 26 – 27

The magical animated television classic comes to life in this on-stage adaptation for the whole family! Tickets are $29.50 – $39.50.

Thanksgiving Recipes To Make Your Life Easier

Thanksgiving Recipes Jersey City

Thanksgiving can be a high-pressure holiday. There are so many things to consider. The turkey needs to be perfect. Which wine goes best with each food? There are so many side dishes to consider. And don’t even get me started on desserts. And what about the kids?! Here are some ideas to save you time and help you ease in to the Thanksgiving Day groove.

Easy side dishes:

Thanksgiving Recipes Jersey CityThis easy Candied Yams recipe is a crowd-pleaser, especially with the kids! My mom has been making this dish for as long as I can remember and it is a staple of our Thanksgiving meal. You can spice it up a bit and add some ginger and a can of chunked pineapple. This one is easy and yummy, trust me.

Carrots are a must on Thanksgiving, but you don’t have to over-think them. Try this super-simple Glazed Baby Carrots recipe. Yes, it’s only four ingredients and yes, it’s great! You can try adding some spices or even some maple syrup to make these your own.

Do ahead recipes:

Thanksgiving Recipes Jersey CityThanksgiving Day prep is a marathon, not a sprint. Do yourself a favor, try one of these great do ahead recipe ideas. Mashed potatoes are one of the most important side dishes on the T-Day table. Trust me…I’m the last person to take a risk with these babies. Last year I made this recipe for Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes. The best part? You can make them ahead of time. I was hesitant at first because I’ve been witness to (and responsible for) a few mashed potato disasters in my time. But, this actually worked! The potatoes can be made up to five hours in advance. You cover and chill them. When it’s time – reheat them gently and add milk to loosen, as needed (we used half-and-half). They turned out fabulous!

Thanksgiving Recipes Jersey CityOne of the things you can always do ahead are pie crusts. They actually work out better when very cold. This is my go-to recipe from The Smitten Kitchen for Foolproof Pie Dough. You may refrigerate your dough for up to two days or even freeze it for longer. This means that you can get to making pie crusts a week or two before Thanksgiving! It is such a time-saver.

Thanksgiving Recipes Jersey CityThis Cranberry Sauce recipe is actually both fast and can be done ahead of time. This recipe is from The New York Times and can be made in only 10 minutes! Plus, if you make it a few days ahead of time and let it set up in the fridge, it’s even better.

Another do-ahead tip: make all your pies the day before. Most pies can sit out overnight in a cool room or be refrigerated. Just remember to bring them to room temperature before serving.

Kid-Friendly Recipes:

Thanksgiving Recipes Jersey CityThese Three-Cheese Mini Macs are both fun and adorable for little ones. Simply put the mac-and-cheese into a mini-muffin pan for perfectly sized portions!

Kids are crazy for cupcakes. Try these Frosted Pumpkin Cupcakes and even let the kids help you make them. They are adorable and even have a pretzel rod for a stem.

If you are feeling particularly ambitious, here are “23 Adorable Thanksgiving Desserts Kids Will Love”. Some of them are truly adorable.

Easy Dessert Recipes:

Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Pecan Pie is both delish and pretty easy to throw together. It bakes for about an hour, but the prep time is a breeze!

Cheesecake sounds intimidating, but this Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe is actually very simple. From Real Simple (not surprisingly), this is a very basic and easy to follow recipe. It’s just about foolproof.


Any fruit pie can become easy. First, buy a good crust. Trader Joe’s and Fresh Direct sell delicious frozen pie crusts – so you don’t have to make your own! Check out this article on “How to Make Easy Fruit Filling for Pie” and make your own delicious and easy concoction for the dessert table.

Outings for November Days Off

November is here and it brings with it many, many days off for public school kids. Public schools in Jersey City are closed Tuesday 11/4 for Election Day, Thursday 11/6 and Friday 11/7 for NJEA Teacher’s Convention, Tuesday 11/11 for Veteran’s Day and then there’s all the Thanksgiving closings! One day is easy, but it can be a challenge to think up fun things to do with your kids for this many days, so close together. Fear not – here are some ideas for local (and within driving distance) fun!

Liberty Science Center 

222 Jersey City Boulevard, Jersey City

LSC is open all the days that kids have off from school. New exhibits have recently been added, so if you haven’t been for a while it’s time to check it out again! Plus, they have various activities throughout the day including “Animal Encounter”, “Story Time”, “Touch Tank” and many others. Current exhibits include “Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World”, Beyond Rubik’s Cube, Lightning Show and more. The IMAX Dome Theater is a great place to check out while you are at LSC or even on its own. Currently, you can see “To The Arctic”, Mysteries of the Unseen World or Island of Lemurs: Madagascar. IMAX tickets are between $8 – $10. General admission to LSC is $19.75 for adults over 13 years of age and $15.75 for children ages 2 – 12. You can also buy combo tickets that include movies.

Big Apple Circus 

Lincoln Center, NYC

Big Apple Circus is a fun, family-friendly event that the kids will love. Now through January 11th you can experience it at Lincoln Center in New York City. The theme this year is “Metamorphosis.” Choose from two shows on 11/4 (at 12:30pm and 4:30pm), two shows on 11/6 and 11/7 (at 11am and 6:30pm) and two shows on 11/11 at 12:30pm and 4:30pm. On Thursdays they offer a “Dinner & Show” special for the 6:30pm show time. Choose from two packages: the $80 package includes a premium or preferred seat and a premium “circus meal” and the $45 package includes a preferred or side seat and a “classic circus meal.” Tickets range in cost from $25 – $175 depending on your seat location. Children under the age of three may be seated on the lap of a parent.

New York Festival of Light 

DUMBO, NYC

This cool festival is open for all ages and runs from November 6 – 8. View beautiful light installations and listen to musical performances all under the archway of the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn. The festival takes place after dark, of course. The hours: 11/6 from 7pm – 11pm and 11/7 and 11/8 from 5pm – 11pm. This event is free and open to all.

Field Station Dinosaurs 

One Dinosaur Way, Secaucus

If you have a dinosaur lover in the house – this is the place to go! Even little ones that aren’t dino enthusiasts will enjoy Field Station Dinosaurs. Plus, it’s super close to Jersey City (less than a 20 minute drive). The season ends November 9th, but you are just in time to catch the last few days. Thursday – Sunday, November 6 – 9 it is open 10am – 5pm. Check out more than 30 life-sized, realistic dinosaurs, including the 90-foot long Argentinosaurus, the largest animatronic dinosaur ever made. While you are there, watch the “Dinosaurs Alive! 3D” movie. For the month of November, ticket prices are reduced. Tickets are $15 for adults and children (day passes) and you may add a 3D movie on for $5/person.

New York City Fire Museum 

278 Spring Street, NYC

My son loves firemen and this is one of his favorite spots to visit in the city. They are open seven days a week from 10am – 5pm. The museum offers so many firemen-themed exhibits including uniforms, horse-drawn ladder wagon, early rescue gear and breathing equipment, a gooseneck pumper, double-decker Philadelphia style engine and much more. There is even an area for kids to try on some fireman gear. Plus, the gift shop has many child-sized gear and toys. Admission is $8/adults and $5/children 12 and under.

Newark Museum

49 Washington Street, Newark

This museum is close and lots of fun, especially for little ones who love art. They offer great family programs on the weekends and feature exhibits daily. The museum’s hours are Wednesday – Sunday from noon – 5pm. Right now you can have fun at one of the interactive galleries like “Dynamic Earth: Revealing Natures Secrets” , “Look/Touch/Learn: Nature & Art”, Fire Museum and more! One exciting feature of this museum is the Alice and Lenard Dreyfuss Planetarium. There will be special showings of Firefall on November 6th and 7th at 2pm and Legends of the Night Sky at 3pm both days. The Museum Café is open from noon – 3:30pm and offers an assortment of hot and cold beverages, desserts and snacks. Suggested museum admission is $12/adults and $7/children and students (kids 2 and younger are free). Admission for the planetarium is $5/adults and $3/children and students in addition to the suggested museum donation. They give AAA discounts, if you are a member. Also, check their list of corporate underwriters here. There are many sponsor companies that get in for free.

NYC Veteran’s Day Parade 

NYC

Take the kids to the largest Veteran’s Day event in the nation! They expect more than 600,000 spectators this year and it is broadcast on television. The parade begins at Madison Square Park at 11:25am and travels up Fifth Avenue to 52nd Street. This event is free.

Date Night

We all need to get outta the house and out on the town sometimes. I’m talking about date night. It is so important for you to have a little “you” time away from your kids. There are so many places to go and take a breather with your significant other in the area. So, call your most trusted babysitter and step out on the town!

Keeping It Local

If you don’t have a lot of time to spare, don’t fear – keep it local! Staying close to home means that you dictate when you arrive home, not the traffic or PATH train.

Start with some drinks at Barcade, which offers a happy hour from noon – 8pm Monday through Friday with $1 off beer, well drinks and wine. If you are a beer enthusiast, this is the place for you! Also, don’t forget to bring some of those quarters lying around the house. Rekindle your youth and play one of the many arcade machines, which are only $.25. If you are in the mood for a smaller locale and cocktails, try LITM. They have happy hour Monday through Friday from 4pm – 7pm with $4 house martinis (15 flavors), select beers and $5 house wines. Plus, there are always specials. They also offer food.

Choosing where to dine in Jersey City is hard to do. There are a lot of good places to choose from. If you are the mood for fun and eclectic food try Thirty Acres. Their menu changes frequently, so check their website to see the latest one. They open at 6pm for dinner daily and take reservations for certain tables in the restaurant and they keep a portion of tables open for walk-ins. They also now offer a great selection of wine and beer. If you are looking for an upscale steak dinner, try Edward’s Steakhouse. They open at 4pm for dinner except for Sundays when they are closed. The menu includes raw bar selections, salads, chops and steak (of course). You can make reservations via Open Table. If you are in the mood for a more laid-back date, and you enjoy great pizza, try Razza. This is one of my date night staples! Their menu includes small wood-fired pizzas, salads and small plates. The drink menu offers a tasty selection of beer, wine and cocktails. They open at 5:30pm for dinner every night except Sundays, when they are closed. They do not take reservations, so you can expect a wait on the weekend.

The obvious companion to dinner is a movie. Check out Jersey City’s own Landmark Loews Theater. Their schedule usually consists of classic films. Currently, you can enjoy Halloween-themed flicks like “Frankenstein” and “Nosferatu.” On Saturday, November 1 at 7pm is “The Shining Night.” View the film starting at 7pm and join the masquerade after party with costumes, entertainment, light refreshments and more! Or you can enjoy a live theatrical performance right here in JC. The Attic Ensemble is performing “Blithe Spirit” through November 2 at Barrow Mansion. Tickets are $22/person.

Speaking of Halloween events, after you party with the kids during the day, drop them off with the babysitter for an evening of spooky fun! The Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza Halloween Closing Party begins at 7pm, right after the kiddie event. You can have fun with other grown-ups in costume until 10pm. Enjoy fall-themed foods, beer, warm cider and more. All your favorite Halloween tunes will be playing all night and gear up for a Thriller Flash Mob! Keep the party going as long as you (and the babysitter) want in one of the great Newark Avenue establishments. Another fun Halloween-themed option for adults is the Riverview Jazz Day of the Dead Party. This fundraiser/opening party takes place on Saturday, November 1 from 8pm – 11pm at Grace Church Van Vorst and will feature live music by Beninghove’s Hangmen, DJ Pat Longo spinning the hits, food provided by Taqueria Downtown, Dia de Muertos puppets and art by local artists, sangria and beer and more. Tickets are $10/advance and $20/door.

Night in NYC

Staying local certainly has it’s benefits, but we live so close to one of the most exciting cities in the world (besides our own), so you may as well take advantage of it sometimes. Getting into the city is easy and quick…the hardest part is figuring out what to do!

As there are countless options, here are some downtown Manhattan options that are easy to get to (and some of my personal faves):

Movie night is a fun and relaxing way to spend an evening. The largest theater that’s close is the Regal Battery Park Stadium 11. Located at 102 North End Avenue in downtown Manhattan, it’s quicker to get to than most of our local North Jersey theaters. You can walk from the WTC PATH station or take a very short walk from the World Financial Center ferry. While you are there indulge in a bite at Shake Shack, which has a location right near the movie theater. If you are in the mood to walk around the area and in the mood for seafood, check out Luke’s Lobster for a lobster roll. For a sit-down dinner, you may want to try Blue Smoke’s Battery Park location and dine on some BBQ. If you are in the mood for small plates and inventive cocktails, head over to the Dead Rabbit on Water Street. The upstairs parlor offers communal punch and 72 historically accurate cocktails dreamed up by the 19th Century’s most celebrated bartenders.