Although July is nearly over, there’s still so much to do and plan this summer!

You could go "Behind the Scenes with Penguins," to the ZOO-VIES or even enjoy a late night at the Turtle Back Zoo; celebrate National Ice Cream Day; enjoy an evening paddle on the Passaic; attend or participate in the 2nd Annual West Orange Idol; take in some great storytimes; and so much more. 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.

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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.

FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY…

Family Night at the Turtle Back Zoo on July 17 & 18 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 17 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, Small Foot, 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.

Behind the Scenes with Penguins, on July 18, 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.

Night Moves at the Turtle Back Zoo on July 18 from 8-10 pm (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ)

The public is invited to come to for a unique look at the zoo and its nocturnal animal collection. Night Moves offers a guided evening tour of zoo exhibits where guests will learn about different animal senses and adaptations. Please arrive at the Zoo's Main Gate at least 10 minutes before your scheduled tour time. Tours leave every 10 minutes starting at 8 pm; the last tour leaves at approximately 8:40 pm. Gates close at 8:30 pm. The departure of ticketed tour times may vary slightly. Tours last approximately 1 hour. To help with your safety, guests are encouraged to bring a flashlight and wear appropriate footwear. There is no flash photography. NOTE: As a benefit of being an Essex County Turtle Back Zoo Member, discount codes for Night Moves tours are available upon request. Discount codes only cover the people listed on the membership. Guests will be asked to show membership IDs. Reciprocal Zoo Memberships are not eligible for this program. Call #973-731-5800 x241 to request the current discount code. In the case of extreme weather, tour cancellations will be called by 12 pm noon the day of the scheduled tour. Full refunds will be given to those unable to transfer to another date. More dates for the summer season to come! Register here.

West Orange Farmers Market on July 20 from 9 am to 2 pm at 80 Main Street Parking Lot (North End)

The West Orange farmers market is returning with a new day and time. Fresh produce, local eggs and honey, artisanal cheeses, delicious baked goods, fresh juice, local flowers, vegan goods, upcycled crafts, lunch options, and much more can be found at the West Orange Farmers Market.

Raise the Grade: Life Skills for Tweens and Teens on July 20 from 11 am – 12 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children in grades 5 - 8 are invited to attend this workshop, Raise the Grade: Life Skills for Tweens and Teens, which is a part of a series of FREE interactive workshops presented by the Michael Aymar Foundation. Takeaways to include practical knowledge and tasty baked treats. Parents and parental guardians are encouraged to attend with their child.

2nd Annual West Orange Idol on July 21 from 1-6 pm at OSPAC (4 Boland Dr., West Orange, NJ)

All West Orange residents are eligible to participate in this year’s West Orange Idol. Looking for bands and singers that are willing to compete for trophies, ribbons, and cash prizes. $250 Cash Prize to the Winners. Registration & Fact Sheet for West Orange Idol

Tales of the Night Sky on July 22 from 4-5 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Award-winning storyteller Luann Adams presents celestial tales of comets, constellations, and the big dipper. Listen in and be transported to another world. Family event- all ages welcome.

The Lunar Landing: 1969 on July 22 from 6-8 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

A discussion of the moon landing on July 20, 1969. Hear about the mission and how Neil Armstrong and 'Buzz' Aldrin became the first human beings to walk on the moon.

New Jersey Wood Turners on July 22 from 6:30-9:30 pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

For adults and children ages 3 and up. Learn to turn with the NJ Woodturners Association. Discover the wonders of creating art from found pieces of wood. Topics vary by the month. Call Bob Amarant at 908.442.4729 for details. Meet in Garibaldi Hall. Fee: $12 per adult, free for NJWA members.

 

FUN FOR LITTLE KIDS…

 

Tiny Toddlers Storytime on July 17 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.

Spanish Stories Storytime on July 17 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!

Little Explorers Nature Program on July 18 from 10-11 am (4-5-year-olds), 1-2 pm (3-year-olds); on July 23 from 10-11 am (2-year olds), 1-2 pm (4-5-year-olds) at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

It’s summertime – a warm and lazy time of year, especially in the wetland forest. What are the animals doing – getting a suntan or hiding in the shade or water? How about the trees and other forest plants? The gardens have been growing but what are they producing? Join us for a morning stroll full of surprises and a fun craft to make and take home! Please remember to wear closed-toe shoes! Classes will be held rain or shine. Advanced registration required – call 973.228.8776. Fee: $12 child/class.

Baby Open Play – for Newborn-23 months on July 18 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.

Babies and Books Storytime on July 18 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.

Evening Paddle on the Passaic on July 18 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

For adults and children ages 10 and older. Take a leisurely paddle on the Passaic River! Paddlers will enjoy scenery and peacefulness as they paddle up the river and float downstream. Geared for beginners and children 10 and up accompanied by a parent or guardian. Meet in the Garibaldi Hall parking lot. Advanced registration required – call 973.228.8776. Fee: $15 per person.

Stories at the Park on July 19 from 9:30 am – 10:15 am at Grover Cleveland Park (Brookside Ave & Runnymede Road, Essex Fells, NJ)

Join us at the Children's House at Grover Cleveland Park for storytime. Storytime lasts about 20-25 minutes. Children ages 3-6 are also invited to stay afterward for a creative hands-on activity like exploring with play-doh, using paint dots, or making a craft.

Bike Right - Learn to Ride on July 19 from 10 am – 12 pm at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

Make learning to ride a bike easier for your child with TransOptions’ Bike Right Learn to Ride class. Bike Right Learn to Ride will teach children ages 5 and older the safe, easy and effective way to learn to ride. Using this "balance first" method, parents help get their children rolling while the child does most of the work. Participants learn the basics of balancing, starting, stopping, and steering a bike, as well as proper helmet fit and adjustment. Please bring a helmet and a bike (without training wheels) in good working order. In the event of rain, this program will be rescheduled. Meet in Garibaldi Hall. Advanced registration required – call 973.228.8776. Fee: $10 per child.

Nina Music on July 19 from 11 am – 12 pm at the Caldwell Library (268 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell, NJ)

Nina Music brings her “Sing-Sign-Dance!” program back to the Caldwell Library this summer. Nina incorporates sign language and directional movement into her music for a uniquely high-energy and fun performance. Best for little ones ages 6 months-5 years old. 

Saturday Storytimes at the West Orange Library on July 20 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.

Musical Storytime with Guitar Joe on July 22 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 23 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 23 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…

 

Starry Starry Night: Art Kids Academy on July 17 from 3-4 pm at the Caldwell Library (268 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell, NJ)

Kids ages 5-10 are invited to a free art class at the Library with Art Kids Academy. Kids will "take a look at Van Gogh's Starry Night (as they) design a nighttime landscape using watercolors and oil pastels."

Chess Club on July 18 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.

Sciencetellers Present: "Aliens: Escape from Earth" on July 18 from 7-7:45 pm at the Livingston Library (10 Robert H Harp Dr, Livingston)

Throughout this amazing intergalactic story, for kids in grades K-5, Sciencetellers use science experiments to bring the story to life! During a midnight meteor shower, something mysterious falls from the sky toward Earth — but it’s not a shooting star. Two curious kids venture into the forest to investigate and find themselves mixed up with a family of visitors from another planet! Pursued by a crazy space scientist, they must risk everything to rescue the aliens and get them back to their spaceship — before it’s too late! In the second part of the show, Sciencetellers go “behind the scenes” of the special effects and recreate the science experiments with the help of volunteers from the audience. Don’t miss this action-packed and educational alien adventure using science experiments for special effects. It's totally out of this world!

Williams Sonoma Jr. Chef: Ice Cream Brownie Bowls Class on July 20 from 10-11 am at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills, NJ)

The only thing better than a brownie is one that's shaped like a bowl and filled with ice cream. In this class, for kids ages 8-13, you’ll use your Brownie Bowl Pan to make yummy chocolate brownies and then fill them with freshly-made ice cream. Yum! Cost of $40 per child includes a Brownie Bowl Pan. Call (973) 467-3641 to reserve your spot.

Buzz into Action with Insect Education on July 20 from 10:30-11:30 am at the Essex County Environmental Center (621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland)

For children ages 5 and older. Join us for family fun and hands-on presentation all about bugs n’ butterflies. This program includes entry into our live butterfly tent. Advanced registration - call 973.228.8776. Fee: $30 per family (up to two adults and two children) or $10 per child; $12 per adult.

Reading Buddies on July 22 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

 

FUN FOR TEENS…

 

Super Smash Ultimate Gaming Tournament on July 17 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the West Orange Library (46 Mt Pleasant Ave, West Orange)

Children in grades 6 – 12 are invited to join their friends for the ultimate bracket tournament of Super Smash for the Nintendo Switch! All players must register in advance and arrive by 6:30 pm in order to participate in the tournament.

Chess Club on July 18 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.

Dungeons and Dragons: A Teen Club on July 19 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!

Williams Sonoma Jr. Chef: Ice Cream Brownie Bowls Class on July 20 from 10-11 am at the Short Hills Mall (1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills, NJ)

The only thing better than a brownie is one that's shaped like a bowl and filled with ice cream. In this class, for kids ages 8-13, you’ll use your Brownie Bowl Pan to make yummy chocolate brownies and then fill them with freshly-made ice cream. Yum! Cost of $40 per child includes a Brownie Bowl Pan. Call (973) 467-3641 to reserve your spot.

 

FUN FOR ADULTS…

 

Hatchets for Hounds (for the Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter) on July 17 from 7-9 pm at Stumpy’s Hatchet House (373 US Route 46 - West, Suite D140, Fairfield, NJ)

The Hatchet throwing fundraiser is back!! The public is invited to Please attend a fun night of hatchet throwing for a great cause. This event is for 21 and over only. There will be light refreshments, but BYOB of beer and wine. To purchase tickets, please click here (and write Stumpys in the description).

Downtown Thursday - Tory Corner in West Orange, NJ on July 18 from 4-7 pm (Main St and Washington St.)

Come meet the business owners in the Tory Corner section of West Orange as we take to the streets for some music from the Vienna Music School students and staff while you enjoy free popcorn and snow cones. You will also be able to enjoy some calming yoga by Washington Elementary School.  

Sum of 3 Plays the Shillelagh Club on July 19 from 8-10 pm at The Shillelagh Club (648 Prospect Ave., West Orange, NJ)

The public is invited to see Sum of 3 to play the UnHappy Hour celebration at The Shillelagh Club welcomes. Sum of 3 features Lance Doss, Paul Page, and Michael Blue, who play the best southern rock, country and classic rock favorites, and maybe even some of their own tunes. Lance has toured extensively in John Cale's band and his music has been featured in two films by Michael Moore, The Tonight Show and HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” Paul has toured and recorded with numerous artists including John Cale, Dion, Gary US Bonds, Bo Diddley, Del Shannon, Ben E. King. He currently plays and records with Ian Hunter's Rant Band and on the reunited Mott the Hoople tour. The kitchen will be open for business offering a terrific selection of pub favorites including Burger of the Week Specials. There is no cover charge and the Club is open to the public, so all are welcome.

"Refugee Concert"- Tom Petty Tribute Band on July 20 at 7:30 pm at OSPAC (4 Boland Dr., West Orange, NJ) FREE Admission!! FREE Parking!!

Come enjoy the FREE "Refugee Concert"- Tom Petty Tribute Band at OSPAC. There will be food and beverages available for purchase. Weather Hotline 973-243-1115

New Play Running at Luna Stage on July 20 and 21, at 4 pm (555 Valley Rd., West Orange, NJ)

The sequel to the hit play, “Down by the Hudson: A Love Story for the Soul,” titled “Back Down by the Hudson: Another Love Story for the Soul”m will be playing at Luna Stage this weekend.

 

HAVE FUN CELEBRATING THIS NATIONAL HOLIDAY…

July 21 is National Ice Cream Day

I Scream, You Scream, We ALL Scream for Ice Cream! Summertime is the perfect time to celebrate National Ice Cream Day. It’s so hot out there, having a delicious cup or cone of ice cream can be very refreshing. For those who don’t eat ice cream – sherbet, ices or lactose-free, and ice cream made with coconut milk, cashew milk, almond milk, oat milk, and others may be nice options to enjoy instead. In addition, since most kids love ice cream, there are so many great ways to celebrate with them, from buying a cone with sprinkles or other toppings at an ice cream shop to scooping some into a bowl and putting on your own toppings at home. Or, you can buy a few different flavors to make a sundae, have a contest to see which flavor is liked the most – or even make your own ice cream at home. One thing is for sure, no matter what you do – celebrating this holiday should be delicious!

Here is a little history on the holiday –

Charles E. Minches of St. Louis, Missouri filled a pastry cone with two scoops of ice cream, on July 23, 1904— inventing the ice cream cone. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan not only designated July as National Ice Cream Month, and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day.

 

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 17, 1867— The Harvard School of Dentistry became the first dental school in the U.S.
  • On July 17, 1902 – The air conditioner was invented.
  • On July 17, 1955 – Walt Disney's Disneyland opened in Anaheim, Ca.
  • On July 19, 1940 – Winston Churchill used the two-finger "V" for victory sign.
  • On July 20, 1969 – Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon.
  • On July 21, 1873 – Jesse James and his gang robbed their first train.
  • On July 22, 1975 – An act of Congress restored Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee's citizenship.
  • On July 23, 1904 – Charles E. Minches of St. Louis, Missouri filled a pastry cone with two scoops of ice cream, inventing the ice cream cone.
  • On July 23, 1999 – Air Force Colonel Eileen M. Collins became the first woman to command a space shuttle.