July sure is a busy month! There’s so much to do this week from being "Behind the Scenes with Penguins" at the Turtle Back Zoo, celebrating Candy for Breakfast Day, bird watching, attending storytimes and more – to celebrating National French Fries Day on July 13th. There’s certainly something for everyone.

If you are looking to participate in fun activities and more this week, please enjoy this list of “Things to Do with Kids” in and around town, brought to you by The Goddard School in West Orange.

Note: If you attend any of these events, partake in any of the ideas shared below, or just have a great picture of your kid(s) that you’d like featured, please send photos to jackie.eventscolumn@gmail.com. In addition, please send any events you’d like added to this column to the same address.

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FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY…

 

Family Night at the Turtle Back Zoo on July 10, 11 from 4:30 – 8 pm (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange)

The public is invited to enjoy extended hours at the zoo when temperatures are cooler, and the workday is over.

ZOO-VIES at Turtle Back Zoo on July 10 from 8-10 pm (Rooftop of Turtle Back Zoo Parking Deck (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange)

The public is invited to enjoy a free blockbuster movie, Wonder Park, under the stars on the rooftop of the Turtle Back Zoo Parking Deck. Guests should bring their own chairs. Films begin at dusk. If it rains, the event will be canceled. Zoovies will take place every Wed. night through Aug. 28. No Zoo admission is necessary.

Society Birding Trip on July 11 from 8:30-11:00 am at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

This free trip is a great time to view nesting birds such as Indigo Buntings and House Wrens. Attendees will explore the restored meadow habitat for Bluebirds as well as butterflies and other insects. Explore edge and meadow habitats for midsummer birds with an easy walk through the reservation. This is a joint trip with Bergen County Audubon. Meet at Mountain Avenue and Courter Lane, North Caldwell. These field trips are designed for people ages 12 and up. Have you ever wanted to “bird watch” but didn’t know where to begin? Would you like to find some of the hidden gems in Essex County? Let New Jersey Audubon be your guide. Summer is the time to see, hear and learn about the species of birds that nest in Essex County. Walks encourage beginners and challenge experts. Registration is requested, please call 908.396.6386.

Behind the Scenes with Penguins, on July 11, 6 pm tour and 7 pm tour at the Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange)

Travel all the way to the Shores of Africa for a Behind the Scenes look at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo’s state-of-the-art African penguin exhibit. Meet with a TBZ Educator and Keeper to discover why African penguins are so endangered and how TBZ is aiding their survival as a species. Guests will enjoy learning all about the zoo’s “waddle” of penguins, their daily care, and the new exhibit. This Behind the Scenes Tour takes place during the zoo’s weekly summer Late Nights on Thursdays. Attendees must be 6 years old or over; all children under 18 must be accompanied by a paying adult. It is about a 10-minute walk from the Reptile House to the Penguin entrance. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear; some locations may have a wet floor, or you may be inadvertently splashed. Your Behind-the-Scenes ticket gives you Zoo admission for any time on the day of the tour (for Zoo non-members), but tour attendees must meet Tour Staff 15 minutes prior (5:45 pm) to the start of the tour at the entrance to the Reptile House. Tours start promptly at the agreed-upon time; late arrivals may lose part of the tour by being late or lose the entire tour without refund. Tours will commence regardless of weather unless canceled by the Zoo due to unsafe conditions for our Animals, Staff, or Tour Attendees. If a tour is canceled due to weather, the zoo will notify you as soon as possible and will try to reschedule a date and time. Please dress appropriately for the weather conditions and for walking the Zoo. Some behind the scenes areas are snug or smell of fish; if you have questions or concerns about accessibility please contact the zoo so that it may better address your needs at 973-731-5800 ext.103.

Butterfly Tent Safari on Mon. – Fri., July 13 through July 26 from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm; Sat. July 13, 20, 27 from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

Fun for all ages. Flutter on over and visit the live butterfly tent. All are welcome to make-and-take a butterfly craft and participate in table activities. A $2 per person donation is suggested.

Candy for Breakfast Day at Sugarfina on July 13 from 12-3 pm at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Candy for breakfast? They won’t tell! Celebrate the 2nd anniversary of Candy for Breakfast Day at Sugarfina with samples of favorite brunch-inspired candies, exciting promotions and more!

Mysteries of Gravity and the Laws of Planetary Motion on July 13 from 1-3 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

This program for all ages will feature a discussion of gravity as well as the laws of planetary motion. The theories of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein will be investigated.

Science Tellers Alien Adventure Show on July 15 from 4-5 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Don't miss this action-packed alien intergalactic story presented by Science Tellers! Science experiments and audience participation bring this show to life. This is a family event for all ages.

 

FUN FOR LITTLE KIDS…

 

Michaels Camp Creativity on July 10 or 12 from 10 am – 12 pm at Castle Ridge Shopping Center (410 State Rte 10, East Hanover, NJ)

Kids ages 3+ are invited to participate in a Space-Age Fun Crafts class at the store. The fee is $3 per 30-minute session, supplies included. Call to sign up (973) 887-3024.

Tiny Toddlers Storytime on July 10 at 10:15 am at the Livingston Library (10 Robert H Harp Dr, Livingston)

Stories, songs, and fun for tiny toddlers ages 12-23 months! This program is developmentally designed for "waddlers." Drop in, registration is not required.

Storytime at Barnes and Noble on July 11 and 16 at 10 am at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Children will embark on an exciting adventure as they are introduced to some of your childhood favorites, as well as some you may not have heard before.

Spanish Stories Storytime on July 10 at 4 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Come and listen to stories read in Spanish. This program is great for Spanish speakers and Spanish learners of all ages! Ven a escuchar cuentos en Español. Para todas edades de hispanohablantes y personas aprendiendo Español!

Baby Open Play – for Newborn-23 months on July 11 from 10:15-11:15 am at the Livingston Library (10 Robert H Harp Dr, Livingston)

Caregivers with newborns to 23-month-old babies are invited for a drop-in open play session.

Little Moving Artist Class at Monica + Andy on July 11 from 11-11:45 am at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills)

Bring your little ones, ages 2-4, to participate in a Movement Class with The Little Moving Artist. Children will enjoy this whimsical and imaginative movement class that incorporates dancing, imagery, music, sensory props and costumes. Children will ice skate on paper plates, tap dance on bubble wrap, take part in an ultimate snowball fight, bug hunt, fly with superhero capes and wings, freeze dance, and more. Drop in fee: $10.

Babies and Books Storytime on July 11 at 10:30 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Infants up to 24 months and their caregivers are invited to partake in a fun storytime session where they will enjoy books, songs, and rhymes while being introduced to language skills.

Saturday Storytimes at the West Orange Library on July 13 from 10-10:30 am (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children and ages 0 – 5 and their caretakers are invited to come and listen to stories and work on a craft.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar on July 13 from 12:30-1:30 pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

For children ages 3 to 5. Come dressed for a butterfly parade around the trails and learn about a day in the life of the monarch. We will also check out food sources for other caterpillars and butterflies. This program includes entry into the live butterfly tent. Advanced registration required; call 973.228.8776. Fee: $10 per child.

Baby & Me Storytime Featuring Busy Bee: Copy Cat Peekaboo on July 14 at 11 am at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

This Baby & Me Storytime is for caregivers and children 0-24 months old. Guests will enjoy a book and participate in activities featuring sensory growth for little ones. Plus, attendees will receive a free Starbucks tall, hot or iced coffee.

Michaels Camp Creativity on July 15, 17 or 19 from 10 am – 12 pm at Castle Ridge Shopping Center (410 State Rte 10, East Hanover, NJ)

Kids ages 3+ are invited to participate in a World Explorers Fun Crafts class at the store. The fee is $3 per 30-minute session, supplies included. Call to sign up (973) 887-3024.

Musical Storytime with Guitar Joe on July 15 from 6:30 pm - 7:00 pm at the Livingston Library (10 Robert H Harp Dr, Livingston)

Join Guitar Joe for a magnificent medley of music and storytelling: songs, picture books, puppet shows, dance parties, multimedia presentations, drum circles, egg-shaker jams, and so much more! For children ages 2 to 5 years, and their caregivers. No registration required.

Little Listeners Storytime & Craft on July 16 at 10:15 am at the Livingston Library (10 Robert H Harp Dr, Livingston)

Stories, songs, sign language, and crafts for children ages 2-5, with their caretakers.  Drop in, registration is not required. 

Terrific Toddlers Storytime on July 16 at 10:30 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children ages 2 to 3 ½ and their caretakers will be entertained by puppets, stories, songs, and fingerplay.

Preschool Story Time on July 16 at 11:30 am at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Preschoolers are invited to hear stories and songs and play games providing interactive fun. Parents must remain in the library during this program.

 

FUN FOR KINDERGARTEN TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL-AGED KIDS…

 

LEGO Event Featuring Harry Potter on July 13 at 2 pm at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Calling all Harry Potter fans! You are invited to B&N for a special LEGO event and to build a golden snitch to take home. Plus, you will get a coupon for a $1 M&M Blondie Blast. Signups are required and begin July 2nd. Contact your local store at 973-758-1310 or click here for details. 

Chess Club on July 11 at 4 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children in grades 2-8 are invited to learn to play chess with Eric Greenebaum. Novice and advanced players are welcome! Registration required.

Storytime and Activities Celebrating The Lion King on July 13 at 11 am at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Revisit the beloved story of The Lion King before it hits theaters with two books that capture the magic of the classic movie. Also, receive a coupon from the Café for a grilled cheese sandwich with milk or juice for $4.

Reading Buddies on July 15 from 3-4 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children building their reading skills will practice with teen mentors to gain confidence

Bio-Dome Garden Club on July 16 from 4-5 pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

For children ages 5 and up. Participants will get hands-on experience and learn about growing plants, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Make and take projects at each session. Advanced registration required; call 973.228.8776. Fee: $10 per child per session.

 

FUN FOR TEENS…

 

Teen Comic Book Club on July 11 at 6:30 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children in grades 6 – 12 are invited to come and discuss their favorite books (perhaps bring some received on Free Comic Book Day), comics, graphic novels, movie adaptations and styles of art – and work a project.

YA Book Club on July 11 at 7 pm at the Livingston Mall (112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston)

Celebrate debut authors this summer at the YA Book Club. This week the group will discuss We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal, a story about Zafira and Nasir who are both legends in the kingdom of Arawiya, but neither wants to be. Plus, get a coupon for $2 Teavana teas.

Dungeons and Dragons: A Teen Club on July 12 from 3:15-5:15 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, Livingston)

Teens ages 13+ are invited to join a Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) adventure! Epic quests await teens who join the DnD club at the library! DnD features roleplaying, storytelling, on-the-spot strategic thinking, math skills, problem-solving, and teamwork all rolled into one!

 

HAVE FUN CELEBRATING THIS NATIONAL HOLIDAY…

 

July 13th is National French Fries Day 

French fries are popular around the world. Though their name suggests they are of French origin, it is believed that French fries originated in Belgium in the 17th century when fried potatoes were substituted in the Belgium diet in winter months, when fish were not available to fry. Their popularity spread around the world after that. French fries were introduced to the U.S. by President Thomas Jefferson.

There are many ways to celebrate this holiday, from cooking fries with your kids, creating different toppings for fries together, or even doing taste tests with your family.

 

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY…

 

The next time you sit down for a family dinner, toss out some of these facts to spark a lively and informative family conversation. After dinner, look up some of these dates and facts and explore the historical moments as a family.

  • On July 10, 1985 – After an unsuccessful attempt to change its formula, Coca-Cola brought back the ever-popular original formula as "Classic Coke.”
  • On July 11, 1792 – Robert Bailey Thomas published the first issue of the Farmer's Almanac, which is now called the "Old Farmer's Almanac.”
  • On July 11, 1804 – Former Vice President Aaron Burr killed Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel.
  • On July 11, 1979 – Skylab space station re-entered the earth's atmosphere, with pieces landing in the Indian Ocean and in Australia.
  • On July 12, 1960 – The Etch-a-Sketch went on sale.
  • On July 13, 1898 – The radio was patented by Guglielmo Marconi.
  • On July 14, 1867 – Alfred Nobel demonstrated dynamite.
  • On July 14, 1914 – Liquid rocket fuel was patented.
  • On July 15, 1844 – Vulcanized rubber was patented by Goodyear.
  • On July 15, 1869 – Margarine was patented.
  • On July 16, 1999 – John F. Kennedy Jr. died in a plane crash off Martha's Vineyard.