What to do with the kids during the holiday break? Here are 5 ideas.
#1 The New Jersey Ballet’s Nutcracker is back at Morristown’s Mayo Performing Arts Center tonight for the first of 14 performances thru Dec. 24
The holiday classic features the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. This year marks the 47th anniversary of New Jersey Ballet’s Nutcracker, making it the longest running original professional production in the state. The production debuted in Millburn in 1971 and the company has given approximately 800 performances in theatres throughout New Jersey, with more than 5,000 dancers and children, and over a million viewers.
Tickets cost $29-$69. The theater is located at 100 South St. For more information, call 973-539-8008.
#2. Another event that ends Sunday is the annual Gingerbread Wonderland at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown. The event is now in its 26th year and has more than 150 gingerbread houses on display at the arboretum’s education center.
Building the homes was no small task. Some took up to 200 hours to construct.
The event is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, and stays open until 7:30 p.m. tonight. Admission is $2 per person.
#3. It can be nerve-racking for any parent of a budding Henrik Lundqvist or Michelle Kwan to make sure the frozen local lake or pond is verified as safe for ice-skating by somebody of authority.
The conditions are perfect, however, at Mennen Sports Arena, which is adding additional public skating time this holiday season.
Currently, the public skating hours are mornings, 10-12 noon every day of the week; afternoons, 3:30-5:30 p.m., Monday thru Friday; and Friday evenings, 8-10. On Saturdays and Sundays, the public skating hours are 2-4 p.m.
The arena, which is closed Christmas Day, is adding evening hours Dec. 26 thru Dec. 29, 7-9 p.m., and will be open to the public again on New Year’s Day, 2-4 p.m.
The cost is $8 per person per session and ice skate rentals will run you $3.50.
The arena that opened in 1975 and draws more than 1 million visitors each year is located at 161 East Hanover Ave., Morris Township. Lessons are offered and taught by coaches, including three former Olympians. For more information, please call 973-326-7651.
#4. Woodrow Wilson was in the White House and Irving Berlin was making people dance in 1913, when volunteers in Morristown lit a single star and placed it atop a tree on the Morristown Green at Christmastime.
A holiday tradition was born.
Today, the simple single light has long been replaced by lights galore as well as a Santa House, weekend holiday musical performances, ice sculpting, miniature train rides and a website listing the events and times they will take place, www.morristownfestival.com. The visits with Santa run through Dec. 22. For additional information please contact Morristown Partnership at 973-455-1133.
#5. For 25 years, First Night Morris in Morristown has delivered on a promise to entertain people on New Year’s Eve in a safe, family friendly, alcohol-free atmosphere.
The organizers of the 26th annual event will stick with the game plan, this time anticipating a crowd of 10,000 people. They will have plenty of options to check out including seeing live rock, jazz, blues and classical music as well as dance, theater, visual arts, world cultures and children’s programs in downtown venues all within a close proximity to the Morristown Green.
By the numbers, there will be more than 200 artists and 80 performances at 24 venues and two firework shows, one at 9:15 p.m. and the other at midnight. Plan on a 4:45 p.m. start time.
You’ll need a First Night Morris admission button to access the venues. If you buy them now, they’ll run you $20 a button, or $17.50 for four or more. Prices increase on Dec. 22nd, to $25 a button or $22.50 for four or more.