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HudsonWay Immersion School (formerly Bilingual Buds), Mandarin and Spanish school and camp, Summit, NJ

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nj kids guide hot picks family events and kids activities

New events and listings received after publication for New Jersey's print Kids Guide Calendar are listed below. Refer to the site index at left to look for upcoming activities by category and use the convenient links to access the most up-to-date information on exhibitions, events and activities. Email entries for HOT PICKS to kids@kidsguidenj.com or submit event using the form on the top menu bar.

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special holiday & long-running events, recent openings

4-7 Dec
A Renaissance Holiday
Skylands Manor, New Jersey State Botanical Garden, Morris Rd., Ringwood, NJ, 973-962-9534. 10am-4pm. Adults $8, srs. $7, ages 6-12 $5, under 6 free. Evening receptions Dec. 5 and 6 from 6-8pm. Skylands Manor, a 45-room Tudor-style country estate built in the early 1920s, is richly decorated with glitter and greenery to celebrate the season.

5-14 Dec
A Christmas Carol Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa
The Club at La MaMa, 74A East 4th St., New York City, 646-430-5374. For the delight of audiences aged 5 to 105, Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre performs an adaptation of Dickens' classic with Old World accents and New World inclusiveness, over 30 puppets and holiday songs in Czech, English, Hebrew and Swahili.

5-28 Dec
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical
The Theater at Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY, 212-465-6741. Dr. Seuss' classic holiday tale comes to life on stage in this beloved family musical featuring the hit songs "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and "Welcome Christmas."

6 Dec
Graham Lustig's A Jazzy Nutcracker
South Orange Performing Arts Center, One SOPAC Way, South Orange, NJ 07079, 973-382-1031. 2 & 7pm. A "jumpin' with jazz" adaptation of the timeless seasonal production featuring an original score inspired by familiar melodies, a live jazz sextet, colorful sets and costumes, and the critically-acclaimed Lustig Dance Theatre professional dancers. Visit website for more concerts to celebrate the holidays.

Teddy Bear Tea
Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Hts. Rd., Morristown, NJ, 973-971-3706. Seatings available at 1 & 3pm. Tickets $20. Guests dine on elegant teatime treats, enjoy a performance of The Woodbin Holiday Follies at the Bickford Theatre, and visit with Santa and his bag full of gifts. Bring your camera and capture memories at this festive holiday party. Perfect for families with children from ages 3 to 8.

6, 13, 27 Dec
Christmas Candlelight House Tours
Throughout Cape May, NJ, 609-884-5404. 5:30-8:30pm. Adults $25, ages 3-12 $20. Tour-goers board heated trolleys and visit up to 15 homes, inns, hotels and churches, decorated for the holiday season. Carolers, strolling musicians, warm beverages and treats. Ticket includes entry to the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate.

6-7 Dec
NJ Ballet: The Nutcracker
Bergen Performing Arts Center, 30 North Van Brunt St., Englewood, NJ, 201-227-1030. 1 & 5pm. Professionals of the NJ Ballet are joined onstage by dance students from the local community in a traditional, magical production of the Nutcracker.

7 Dec
Breakfast with Santa
Galloping Hill, 3 Golf Dr., Kenilworth, NJ 07033, 908-241-2211. 10am-noon. Adults $22, 12 & younger $9, plus 20% service charge and 7% sales tax. Breakfast buffet, pictures and visit with Santa, "Toys for Tots" collection.

Gingerbread Sunday
Miller-Cory House Museum, 614 Mountain Ave., Westfield, NJ, 908-232-1776. 1:30-4pm. $4 per child, accompanying adults free. Children make a decorative, non-edible gingerbread house, an additional craft and hear "gingery" stories. Light refreshments will be served. Advance reservations required via phone or email (millercorymuseum@gmail.com) no later than noon on December 4.

12 Dec
The Great Russian Nutcracker
The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College, 118 Lamington Rd., Branchburg, NJ 908-725-3420. 4 & 8pm. Moscow Ballet's staging of The Great Russian Nutcracker features spectacular scenery, costumes, larger-than-life puppets, beloved Russian fairytale characters and the artistry of 40 top Russian dancers.

13 Dec
Nickelodeon's The Fresh Beat Band
Pine Belt Arena, 1245 Old Freehold Rd., Hooper Ave., Toms River, NJ. 1:30 & 5:30pm.

13-14 Dec
The Nutcracker
Wilkins Theatre at Kean University, 1000 Morris Ave., Union, NJ, 908-377-7469. Dec. 13 at 2 & 7pm, Dec. 14 at 2pm. $30, students, srs. and children $20. New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble presents Tchaikovsky's full-length family classic.

13-21 Dec
Frosty the Snowman
Broadway Theatre of Pitman, 43 S. Broadway, Pitman, NJ, 856-384-8381. 10am. Dec. 20 at 10, 1 & 3:30pm. $9 reserved seats, $7 general admission.

15 Dec
Something Merry This Way Comes
F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Ave., Madison, NJ, 973-408-5600. 7:30pm. Holiday tales, songs and poems read by members of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's esteemed company of actors. For all ages.

21 Dec
Hot Peas 'N Butter Hanukkah Concert
The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. at 92nd St., New York City, 212-423-3200. 11:30am. Adults $18, children $13. Shake to the multicultural music and contagious rhythms of the five-member band Hot Peas 'N Butter. Seen on Nickelodeon and Noggin and led by Danny Lapidus and Francisco Cotto, the band's mix of everything from Puerto Rican folk and American blues to klezmer and world beats gets everyone dancing. Designed for families with children ages 3-8.

Thru Dec 31
Holiday at Essex County Kip's Castle
Essex County Kip's Castle, 22 Crestmont Rd., Verona, 973-239-2465. 12-4pm. Free. Visit Kip's Castle during the holiday season for a self-guided tour of the first floor and experience the holidays circa 1928.
Dec 4, 11, 18
        
Holiday Candlelight Tours, 5:30-7pm. $5, advance registration required. Visit Kip's Castle for a one hour twightlight tour. Visitors will be accompanied by a guide available to answer questions about the historic site and its planned restoration. Refreshments provided. Space limited.

Thru Dec 31
Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Radio City Music Hall, 1260 6th Ave. (between W. 50th and W. 51st St.), New York, NY. Annual Christmas celebration starring the Rockettes.

Thru Jan 1
Scuba Santa Christmas Celebration
Adventure Aquarium, 1 Riverside Dr., Camden, NJ 08103, 856-365-3300. Annual holiday celebration features appearances by beloved holiday characters, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster. I Believe in Scuba Santa live show, Bumble lights the tree, Scuba Santa dive appearances and drop off letters to Scuba Santa.

Thru Jan 3
The Night Before Christmas & The Emperor's New Clothes
Paper Moon Puppet Thetre, 171 First Avenue, Suite 8 (entrance around the corner on West Garfield), Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716, 732-775-0290. Saturdays at 1pm, Sundays at 2:30pm. $10, under 2 free.
       A holiday double bill of the famous poem and Hans Andersen's story of the vain emperor who learns that what is inside is more important than what is on the outside. The Night Before Christmas features Chester, the dog, a little mouse with a special Christmas wish and Santa Claus. An interactive pre-show begins the performance and afterwards the audience is invited to see behind the scenes and ask questions. On special dates, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be stopping. Call for reservations. No performance on Sat., Nov. 29. Additional 1pm performances on Friday, Nov. 28 and Tuesday, Dec. 30.

Thru Jan 4
Kids Ride Free on NY Waterway
Kids 12 and under ride free on NY Waterway ferries this holiday season so you can avoid holiday gridlock and expensive Manhattan parking rates. Your Key to the City ticket packages offer savings of up to 56 percent on New York City attractions such as the American Museum of Natural History, Madame Tussauds, and Broadway shows such as Mamma Mia!, Cinderella, and Pippin. Free ferry travel, for both kids and adults, is offered for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas when show tickets are purchased online using the code NYW.

Thru Jan 4
Elf, the Musical
Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Dr., Millburn, 973-376-4343. Paper Mill Playhouse presents the Broadway hit musical based on the film starring Will Ferrell. Autism-friendly performance on Dec. 23 at 1:30pm.

12 Dec to Jan 4, Nov 28-30, Dec 5-7
2014 Essex County Holiday Lights Spectacular
Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, 560 Northfield Ave., West Orange, 973-731-5800. 5-9pm. Free admission. Visit the zoo festively lit for the holidays. Donations of non-perishable food; new, unwrapped toys; and new and gently used winter coats for the needy are appreciated.

Thru Jan 4
Holidays at Glenmont
Thomas Edison National Historical Park, 211 Main St., West Orange, NJ, 973-736-0550. 10am-4pm. Free with admission. Tour Thomas Edison's home decorated for the holidays as it was while the Edison family lived there. Favorite musical pieces play, and the house is decorated with greenery, red poinsettias, bows and wreaths, and a majestic 10 foot tree.

Open
A Shadow Over the Earth: The Life & Death of the Passenger Pigeon
New Jersey State Museum, 205 West State St., Trenton, 609-292-6464 (recorded information), 609-292-6308 (weekdays only). New exhibition tells the story of the passenger pigeon, a cautionary tale of how we impact the earth and how we can steward the planet that sustains us. September 1, 2014, is the 100th anniversary of the death of Martha, the very last passenger pigeon in the world. Children can make an origami bird as part of the exhibit.

Thru Jan 4
Great Balls of Fire! Comets, Asteroids, Meteors
Newark Museum, 49 Washington St., Newark, 972-596-6550. Exhibit eplores the science of comets, asteroids and meteors through fun, interactive multimedia and hands-on activities.

Thru Feb 16
Cubism, The Leonard A. Lauder Collection
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St., New York, NY, 212-535-7710. Cubism, the most influential art movement of the early twentieth century, radically changed the way we see the world and still resonates today. The Leonard A. Lauder Collection, unsurpassed in its holdings of Cubist art, will be shown in public for the first time—eighty paintings, collages, drawings, and sculpture by the four preeminent Cubist artists: Georges Braque, Juan Gris, Fernand Léger and Pablo Picasso.

more recent openings...

new events

        New events for the Kids Guide NJ calendar are posted below. Typically, these events and activities are open to all and do not require advance tickets or registration in order to attend.
         But don't stop here...you can find so many more fantastic children and family events in NJ, NY and PA by visiting the category pages under "Places to Go, Things to Do" on our site index to the left. Browse dates under specific destinations and use the convenient website links for complete schedules of events for everyone, from kids and teens to adults. Many event dates are included in the listings under Outdoor Education, Museums, Historic Sites, Music & Dance, Theater, Big Shows & Concerts, The Shore and Zoos in addition to New York and Pennsylvania.

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activities & events open for advance tickets or registration

22 Nov
The Monster Who Ate My Peas
SOPAC South Orange Performing Arts Center, One SOPAC Way, South Orange, NJ, 973-382-1031. 2pm. An amusing and moving musical about Danny, a boy who absolutely cannot stand to eat peas. When a crafty monster appears underneath his kitchen table, Danny is ready to make a deal.
Kids 'n Family Shows
        Dec 6:   Graham Lustig's A Jazzy Nutcracker, 2 & 7pm.
        Jan 24:  Ivy + Bean, The Musical, 2pm.
        Feb 21: Schoolhouse Rock Live! 2pm.
        Mar 21: Jack & The Beanstalk, 2pm.
        Apr 11:  Alice in Wonderland, 2pm.
        May 3:   The Jungle Book, 2pm.

Sahara Sam's Oasis Indoor & Outdoor Water Park
35 N. Rt. 73, West Berlin, NJ, 856-767-7580. Sahara Sam's provides safe, clean, fun all year under a retractable roof. They offer indoor surfing, cabanas, and birthday parties. The water park is located in West Berlin, NJ and 20 minutes from Philadelphia.
         Sahara Sam's also hosts special needs events quarterly, made possible by the Sambulance Safety Squad. They provide fun, judgment-free evenings for individuals with special needs to enjoy with their family and friends.
Special Events
Saturdays and Sundays until Nov 30
        
Family Fun Days,every Saturday and Sunday until Nov. 30. DJ, contests and giveaway from 12-6pm (open 10am-7pm).
Dec 7
        Breakfast with Santa! starts at 10am. Tickets are $34.95 and include a hot breakfast, special games and activities with Santa, Mrs. Clause and Sahara Sam plus full day at the park.
Dec 31
        
Midnight at the Oasis (New Year's Eve Bash),foam, full buffet and champagne toast for those of age.

13 Dec
Sensitive Santa for Children with Autism
63 Lincoln Ave., Jamesburg, NJ, 908-217-5671. 9am-6pm by appointment only. $10. Children with autism are invited to enjoy meeting Santa in a calmer and less intimidating environment than the typical mall. Distracting lights, movements and loud noises will be eliminated as only the child, the child's family and a staff photographer will be in the designated area. Appointments are required and must be made at least 24 hours prior to the event. Call to schedule.

Fall
Artist People

281 Summerhill Rd. #205, East Brunswick, NJ 08816, 267-902-3079. Weekend art classes for kids age from 5 to 8 starting from Saturday, Sept. 6. Seats are limited; all kids receive personalized attention. Kids will learn basic drawing and painting, sketching, acrylics on canvas, oil pastels and fun filled art projects. Guided fun art studio for adults is also offered. No painting experience is required for fun art classes. Visit website or email pdave@artist-people.com for more information.

Ongoing
Sesame Workshop at Gateway National Recreation Area

See the new videos released by Sesame Workshop featuring Gateway (and Ranger Shalini Gopie) as well as Grand Canyon National Park. Visit website to watch.

Every Friday Oct-May
Friday Night Skate with DJ Earl

Mennen Sports Arena, 161 Hanover Ave., Morristown, NJ, 973-326-7651. 8-10pm. $7 admission, $3.50 skate rental. DJ Earl plays the newest hits and some favorite throw-backs under psychedelic lights. Requests are always welcome. Skating, arcade games, and treats from the snack bar.

Saturdays and Sundays thru Dec 28
Weekend Photo Scavenger Hunt
Haggerty Education Center in the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, 353 E. Hanover Ave., Morris Twp., 973-326-7603. Weekends anytime between 9am-3:30pm. $10/family. Grab a camera or phone and stop by the Haggerty Education Center for a nature photo scavenger hunt with a new theme each month. Visitors can pick up a list, head outside and shoot away. Take a picture of every item on the list, return to the Education Center and pick up a prize.

Monthly
Garden Sprouts
Frelinghuysen Arboretum, 353 E. Hanover Ave., Morristown. 11am-noon. $10. Nature-based program for preschoolers with a grownup includes a walk through the arboretum's gardens, story and activity. For more information and to sign up, visit website.
Nov 24
        
I'm Cold, discover how plants survive during the cold months and look for signs they are still growing in spit of winter's onset.

Sterling Hill Mine Tour & Museum
30 Plant St., Ogdensburg, Sussex County, 973-209-6463. See website for current hours of operation, tour schedules and special events. Adults $11, seniors $10, ages 4-12 $8, ages 3 and under free. Group discounts with advance notice.
   Come take a 1⁄4-mile walking adventure into the fourth oldest mine in the country and the last working underground mine in New Jersey. The tour takes two hours and includes a tour of the mine, the Warren Museum of Fluorescence and the 5,000 sq. ft. Mining Exhibit Hall. Also available are Rock & Fossil Discovery Centers and an on-site observatory. You can purchase or collect minerals yourself any day the museum is open. Collecting for adults and children ages 7 and up is $5 plus $1.50 per pound.

Therapeutic Services LLC

594 Valley Rd., Montclair, NJ, 07043, 862-248-2987
Speech therapy and social skills groups for individuals of all ages in the northern New Jersey area. In a fun, supportive and family-focused environment, we strive to improve the quality of life for our clients through providing the best of services. Visit website for more information.


more ongoing events...

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2014-15 NJ theatre and music & dance announcements

Use the convenient links below to access complete calendars for the new season. Check often for newly added events. Even more venues for children, family and adult music, dance and theater performances can be found under the Music & Dance, Theatre, Big Shows & Concerts and New York categories.

Carnegie Hall Community & Family Programs
154 W. 57th St., New York, 212-903-9600.

Count Basie Theatre
99 Monmouth St., Red Bank, 732-842-9000.

Kean Stage
Kean University, Wilkins Theatre, 1000 Morris Ave., Union; Enlow Recital Hall, 215 North Ave., Hillside, 908-737-7469.

Mayo Performing Arts Center
100 South St., Morristown, 973-539-8008.

Mostly Music Chamber Music Series
Morrow Church, 600 Ridgewood Rd., Maplewood; Temple Emanu-el, 756 E. Broad St., Westfield; 973-762-0108.

Music at Noon & Abendmusik
Morristown United Methodist Church, 50 S. Park Place, Morristown, 973-538-2132.

New Jersey Performing Arts Center
One Center St., Newark, 888-GO-NJPAC.

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Performances in Englewood, Morristown, Newark, New Brunswick, Princeton and Red Bank, 800-255-3476.

Paper Mill Playhouse
22 Brookside Dr., Millburn, 973-379-3717.

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre (on the campus of Drew University), 36 Madison Ave. (at Lancaster Rd.), Madison, 973-408-5600.

South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC)
One SOPAC Way, South Orange, 973-313-2787.

Union County Performing Arts Center
1601 Irving St., Rahway, 732-499-8226.