FREE (and Almost Free) Brain Boosting Holiday Events in New Jersey

Updated for 2019!

The holidays are upon us! The trees are up, the lights are flickering and the cookies are baking. There is a sense of wonder and excitement in the air. It is also a time of year when our back accounts dwindle and our wallets go empty. It is the season of giving right?!

Since we are all spending so much money on gifts, why not save a little on fun holiday experiences?! To help parents enjoy the season while also saving money, I have put together a list of some exciting FREE and almost free holiday events in NJ. Keep checking back as I will continue to add more as I find them. Happy Holidays!

FREE (and Almost Free) Brain Boosting Holiday Events

Home Depot Kids Workshop

Home Depot Kids Workshops take place the first Saturday of every month from 9am-12pm. The workshop is great for building fine motor skills, increasing independence and sparking creativity. There is a special holiday build on December 1 where kids will make a sleigh with reindeer. The event is FREE but registration is recommended.


Santa’s Tree Lighting Ceremony at Cape May County Zoo

Enjoy a festive night at the zoo on November 30 4pm-6pm. Guests will enjoy holiday music, crafts, Polar Express train ride, bounce house, characters, live animals and more. Kids will even get to see Santa! This event is FREE! Learn more on the Cape May County Zoo website.

Michaels Holiday Crafting Events

Every Saturday Michaels offers fun and affordable holiday crafting experiences the entire family will love. Most events are FREE! See the list of events in our Holiday Events at Michaels post.

Michaels Wreath Decorating Event

Lakeshore Learning 

Every Saturday from 11am-3pm, kids ages 3 and up can create a fun and creative craft at their local Lakeshore Learning store for FREE. This holiday season, Lakeshore is offering some exciting crafts your kids will LOVE making! Check out their schedule here.

Regal Cinema Classic Holiday Movie Series

This holiday season Regal Cinemas is offering the Classic Holiday Movie Series! In fact, it is not only available in New Jersey but in over 300 locations throughout the United States over the 4 week time period. Each movie plays on a Saturday at 1 pm! At an affordable $5, it is so hard to miss any of these movies. In fact, if you want to watch all four consider purchasing the Event Pass at the Box Office for $15. The beauty of the event pass is you can also purchase a small soft drink and popcorn for $5. So dust off your trivia skills on what times you should feed your Gremlin or tune up on your ability to throw quotes about the Griswolds, Regal Cinemas has you covered this holiday!

Country Christmas with Santa

Head to Alstede Farms in Chester this holiday season to visit the Country Corner which features the man of the hour, Santa! Enjoy holiday music, take photos with Santa and explore the Christmas tree forest. Guests can also roast marshmallows over an open fire! This event takes place every weekend November 29 – December 22 11am-4pm and it is FREE!

Christmas at Alstede Farms

Turtle Back Zoo Holiday Lights

Turtle Back Zoo Holiday Lights is a MUST DO holiday experience in NJ, and it is FREE (donations of non-perishable food items, new toys and gently used coats are accepted). Throughout the zoo are over 50 animal and winter themed characters which make up only a handful of the 100,000 lights throughout the area. There will also be select exhibits available that families can explore together like Sea Lion Sound, Tam-ring Gibbons, Tropical Currents Aquarium, Reptile Building and the Essex Farm. There will also be themed weekends with special holiday activities.

Turtle Back Zoo

Christmas Festival at the Morristown Green

This holiday season Morristown Green is transformed into a holiday wonderland. Entrance to the festival is FREE with a variety of activities available. Families can also take a photo with Santa which is FREE when you show a receipt from a select number of local restaurants. The festival takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday December 1 through December 22. To learn more, visit their website.

Outdoor Christmas Village at Skylands Stadium

While the drive through the Christmas Light Show is $20/car, the Outdoor Christmas Village offers FREE admission! There are gorgeous walk-through lights to admire, an 8-foot polar bear statue for wonderful photo ops and more. There are additional activities for a nominal fee such as carnival games and marshmallow roasting. Learn more about the event here.

Skylands Light Show

Bass Pro Shops Santa’s Wonderland

Santa’s Wonderland is a fun and FREE experience the entire family can enjoy. Kids can make crafts like a wooden picture frame to display their Santa picture, build with Lincoln Logs and explore the Big Dig Excavation Area. Kids can also enjoy remote control trucks, a foam toy arcade and laser arcade and a new activity rug. Learn more in our Bass Pro Shops holiday post.

Santa's Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops

Holiday Wishes at the Disney Store

Celebrate the magic of the holiday season at your local Disney Store. It is a fun experience for the entire family, and it is FREE to attend. Be ready to make your own holiday wish too! Visit your local Disney Store for more information (dates to be announced soon).

Holiday Train Rides at Heaven Hill Farm

Looking for a FREE train ride for the kids? Then make sure to head to Heaven Hill Farm in beautiful Vernon, NJ. The train ride might be small but packs tons of holiday fun every weekend in December. Along with picking out their perfect Christmas Tree, guests can also pose for pictures with Santa (dates to be announced). Learn more on their website.

What is your favorite FREE (or almost free) holiday experience?

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