The ULTIMATE Things to Do Guide in Bergen County NJ: Holiday Break Edition


Phew! You made it through the holiday weekend. But, rats. You have another week of winter break and you’re already pulling kids off the walls and the hair out of your head. You could mobilize the troops for a trip to the recycling center to get rid of all those gift boxes. Or, you pick some really fun things to do in Bergen County from our ULTIMATE Holiday Break Guide and let it save your day.

Need to know where to go? Read on.

Stay Cool

Tubing, Ramapo, NJ

What could be better than world class tubing minutes from home? Head to Campgaw Mountain, rent a tube, ride the carpet and scream your way down the hill. This doesn’t even need to be a day trip – you can go in the morning and be back for a nice long afternoon nap (yeah, right!)

 

Sledding, Multiple Locations

Got snow? Get sledding. Check out our sledding hill round up for the best places to throw down in Bergen County.

 

 

Skating, Multiple Locations

There are tons of places to skate in and around Bergen County. Whether you are (or you have) a novice who needs lessons, or you’re looking for a place to take a few turns, indoor or outdoor, we’ve got you covered with our list of places to skate.

 

Skiing, Multiple Locations

Whether you've got a day or the long weekend, it's perfect weather to suit everyone up and head to one of these Family Friendly Places to go Skiing or Snowboarding this Season.

 

Bergen County Winter Wonderland

Van Saun Park is transformed into a winter wonderland complete with skating rink, synthetic rink for kids, Bergen Express train rides, Santa’s North Pole Dome and Workshop, Carousel rides, zoo entry, beer garden and food trucks. New this year are carnival style, winter-themed games for the kiddos. And don’t forget to wander through the trees decorated to express the unique personalities of the 70 Bergen County towns. Check the website for additional special activities and to purchase tickets.

 

Keep Calm and Go Shopping

Brookfield Place, New York, NY

Plan to spend the day at this combo ice rink/food court/shopping mall in Lower Manhattan. And make sure you leave time to enjoy the Luminaries, hundreds of suspended lanterns. Take your turn at a Wishing Station and “send” a wish into the canopy of lights above your head. Plus for every wish sent by the public during the holiday season, Brookfield will donate $1, up to $25,000 to the GRAMMY Museum’s music education programs.

Westfield Garden State Plaza, Paramus, NJ

Need to make a few returns? Then, you’ll also need a quality bribe to get your kids to behave while you take care of business. How about a trip to the new Westfield Garden State Plaza interactive Jersey Shore-themed play space, lunch at the food court and a quick trip to Melissa’s minis for dessert? It might even buy you time to try on replacements for the stuff you have to return.

 

Palisades Mall, West Nyack, NY

Seriously? You could probably spend the week here and still not exhaust your entertainment options at this mega-mall. What’s your pleasure? Ice skating? A movie? A ropes course? Bowling? Go-Kart track? Video Arcade? Live-action entertainment? Over the top indoor play space? They’ve got it all plus and indoor ferris wheel, carousel and, oh yeah, shopping. Wear your comfy shoes. You’re in for a long day.

 

 

Learn Something New

Penguin Experience at the Bronx Zoo, Bronx, NY

Get to know the penguins in a whole new way. Check in on the babies at the Aquatic Bird House, then head to a private up-close meet and greet with on of the zoo’s signature penguins. Other special encounters are also available.

Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, NJ

This local treasure just keeps getting better. Visit the newly opened Star Fleet Academy Experience, then stick around for the Laser Wonderland, a 40-minute laser spectacle set to holiday-themed songs.

 

American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY

This might be your last chance to check out the fascinating Mummies exhibit with an “up close look at rarely-exhibited mummies as well as interactive touch tables, rare artifacts, and cutting-edge imaging.” Then make the rounds to perennial favorites, the Whale Room, the dinosaurs and the Rose Center for Earth and Space.  The Mummies exhibit closes on January 6th, 2018.

 

Ocean Odyssey at National Geographic Encounter, New York, NY

Satisfy your yearning for the sea with this 90-minute walk-through exhibit that uses cutting-edge technology, photo-real animation, projection screens and interactive technology to enable visitors to have face-to-face virtual encounters with a variety of sea life, all without ever getting even the slightest bit damp. 

 

Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY

Got older kids? Plan an outing to the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. This four-season farm has something to see and do, even in the cold weather months. Visit on the weekend and entrance to the property is free. Stroll the grounds, meet the animals or take an insider’s tour (fee and reservations required) for a behind-the-scenes look at what makes this unique place run. Come dressed for the weather and leave all pets at home.

 

Play with Trains

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY

We know you know about this one. But we thought we’d remind you. Because if you haven’t made the trip, you should. And if you have, you should go again. You know it’s worth it.

 

Garden State Model Railway Club, North Haledon, NJ

Featuring a 1200 square foot HO layout, steam and diesel locomotives, freight and passenger trains, rural and urban scenes and working signals, The Model Railroad Show will appeal to the kid in everyone.

 

Holiday Express at NY Historical Society, New York, NY

This magical wonderland features hundreds of toy trains, figurines, and miniature models from the renowned Jerni Collection. The exhibition’s immersive scenes and displays transport young and old alike to a bygone era.

 

Have Tea

The Carlyle Hotel, New York, NY

For an over the top experience, book a room at The Carlyle to enjoy the full Madeleine Experience, including a specially designed cupcake, a private morning tour of the Bemelmans murals, and Madeleine swag. Before you head home, get all dolled up for a special tea in the decadent Gallery café.

 

The Plaza, New York, NY

Make plans to attend Eloise’s Rawther Fancy Tea Party on Friday, December 29th at The Plaza. Pink lemonade, sandwiches and pastries are served, a book is read, and kids go home with a bag of goodies and a gift card to the Eloise store. Or, start New Year’s off with a New Year’s Eve Dance Party. Want to stick around for the night? Book the rawther special Eloise suite, especially if you like the color pink.

 

Tiffany Blue Box Café, New York, NY

Now accepting reservations, you can have Breakfast (lunch or tea) at Tiffany’s. Enjoy the prix fixe menu and the breathtaking desserts.

 

Alice’s Tea Cup, New York, NY

Head to New York’s most whimsical tea shop for a tea even the Mad Hatter will love.

 

Let There Be Lights

Holiday Lights Spectacular at Turtle Back Zoo, West Orange, NJ

Stroll through the Turtle Back Zoo under the sparkling lights of over 50 winter and animal characters. Donations of non-perishable food items, new toys and gently used coats will be collected. Each weekend in December, different themed activities will make your visit extra festive.

 

Christmas Light Show at Skylands Stadium, Augusta, NJ

Holiday time = twinkling lights (and cocoa of course). Pack up the kids, load up the car and hit Skylands Stadium Christmas Light Show which includes more than 2 million lights (talk about "wow" factor) displayed on a 1 mile drive through course plus a Christmas village with live entertainment, Santa visits and vendors.

 

Be a Kid Again

Gulliver’s Gate New York, NY

Get a big kick out of some really small stuff and take the family to Gulliver’s Gate, a football field-sized interactive world of miniatures. Named in honor of the historic story Gulliver’s Travels, it’s the largest, most intricate collection of miniature models on the planet, and it’s right in the middle of Manhattan.

 

Big Apple Circus, New York, NY

Step right up and prepare to be amazed! The Big Apple Circus is celebrating its 40th anniversary with Nick Wallenda, “The King of the High Wire” and “The Greatest Daredevil of our Generation”. Spend an afternoon gasping in awe and laughing with abandon. Every seat is a good seat – no one will be seated further than 50 feet from the ring.

 

PEZ Museum, Orange, CT

Though the production floor will be shut down the week after Christmas, there’s still much to see at this Orange, CT attraction. Visitors will enjoy the collection of PEZ memorabilia, the largest PEZ dispenser in the world, a trivia game, an interactive time line and more.

Make this your destination or just a stop on your way someplace else.

Dr. Seuss Museum, Springfield, MA

Go because you and your kids love Dr. Seuss. Stay because from December 27th – December 30th, The Museums Strike Back with special week-long space and sci fi programming, including character visits, special crafts, movie viewing, game shows and more.

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