NEW JERSEY - Black Friday is of course the day after Thanksgiving when most people head to the malls and shops in hopes of scoring deals on holiday gifts. The use of the term relating to shopping dates back to the 80s, but the real history of the term may actually date back to the 50s according to the History Channel. In Philadelphia the term used to refer to the day before the big Army/Navy football game when the City of Brotherly love would get crazy with crowds and traffic in anticipation of the huge matchup. Regardless of its origins, today Black Friday means shopping, shopping and more shopping with retailers cutting into Thanksgiving Day to attract more shoppers. However, not everyone enjoys the crowds and the chaos of Black Friday shopping. Thankfully, there are plenty of things to do in the Garden State on Black Friday that do not involve a mall. If you're looking for something a little different on Black Friday, check out these ideas.
- Lace up the skates and glide around the ice on one of the rinks in New Jersey. Most travel hockey teams are off participating in one of the many Thanksgiving tournaments across the nation so there are usually plenty of public skates. The Jersey Shore Arena, Pro Skate, Bridgewater Sports Arena, Red Bank Armory and the Clary Anderson Arena in Montclair are popular spots.
- For folks that don't like the cold, pull on a pair of roller skates or roller blades. South Amboy's Rollermagic, the Frenchtown Roller Rink and the Woodbridge Community Center are a few of the Garden State's top roller skating rinks.
- Thanksgiving weekend is a huge draw for movie goers. Hot flicks this weekend are Disney's "Frozen," "A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood," "The Lighthouse," "Dark Waters" and "The Irishmen."
- The weather for this year's Black Friday is looking good, so get outside and work off a bit of that high calorie Thanksgiving meal with a hike. New Jersey is full of hiking trails for novice and avid hikers. Some of the best hiking trails include the Delaware Water Gap's Mt. Tammany and Buttermilk Falls, Vernon's Stairway to Heaven and High Point State Park in Sussex.
- Get into a holiday show at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank. Rudolph pulls in his sleigh for 4 p.m. and a 7:30 p.m. shows on Black Friday.
- Get into the ho-ho-ho spirit early by starting the holiday decorating. Many people pull out the holiday decorations on Black Friday and begin decking the halls.
- When the decorating is done, head to the Turtle Back Zoo for its annual Holiday Lights display from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- Hop on board the North Pole Express at the New Hope Railroad. The New Hope Railroad is just across the border in Pennsylvania. You can actually walk to the railroad from Lambertville, NJ. The North Pole Express has trains running on Black Friday starting at 9 a.m.