Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Review of Gingerbread Wonderland at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if all of the gingerbread cookies got together during the holidays and had a big party?  I'm sure there would be dancing cookies and palace ballrooms and colorful characters.  I'm sure it would look a lot like The Frelinghuysen Arboretum's Gingerbread Wonderland.

What is The Gingerbread Wonderland?

Running every December, Gingerbread Wonderland  is held at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morris Township, New Jersey. You can see delicious gingerbread creations on display, and visit their craft show on the weekends. Check their website or Facebook page for hours of operation and other important information.

As of the publication date of this post, there is an entry fee of $2.00 per person, which also includes admittance to the craft show on weekends. Children 2 and under are free. But as always, check their website for all accurate details before attending.

What Can I See There?

Only the most awesome gingerbread creations ever made!  You'll walk past tables and tables of gingerbread art- from simple projects made by children, to amazing palaces crafted by adults.  Here are some pics from previous years:



And most recently...

Made by the Ciffer Family

Made by Girl Scouts of New Providence

You really have to stop to admire the time and detail that the artists put into their work. Everything is edible! (well, you can't eat it, but you can eat, if you know what I mean). You'll also have the opportunity to vote for your favorite piece. But how do you choose just one???

Gingerbread nutcracker from years past
Christmas Wishes - Doggies wishing for their forever homes! By Amabile 

Made by some talented students at Ridgedale Middle School! 

Are you ready to choose your favorite? I know, so hard, right??

Craft Fair and Cafe

There is a craft fair on the weekends (weekends only), and a small cafe next door to the display called Matilda's (open weekdays and weekends). They offer an assortment of snacks, quiches, sandwiches and  more (check their website for hours). I was tempted to try their Beligian Waffle sundae, especially after seeing all of those yummy looking creations. They also had a nice assortment of cookies, drinks and hot beverages.  The cafe itself is adorable and cozy, and I can attest to the yumminess of the cookies! Staff was friendly and helpful to us. 

Matilda's Cafe at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum. So cute!

Inside Matilda's Cafe

Cozy little Matilda's Cafe!

Pretty view from Matilda's Cafe

Matilda's Menu (as of the publication date of this entry):

Make a Day of It

Of course, seeing all of that cool gingerbread art inspired us to make our own, so you might want to plan ahead and have your gingerbread supplies ready when you get home. Oh, and I HIGHLY recommend pre-made gingerbread houses if you're working with little ones. Wilton makes a pretty good pre-assembled kit that we purchase every year. If you don't buy a pre-assembled kit, my other tip is to use a hot glue gun to put your pieces together (but know that you can't eat it after that!). You can hide the glue with your frosting and decorations. Works like a charm! For more tips on building a better gingerbread house, check out my gingerbread house blog post!


As I mentioned before, be sure to check out my post of tips and tricks for easy gingerbread house construction here!

Jersey Momma Tips

  • They don't allow strollers, so leave them at home.
  • This event can get very crowded on weekends, so plan accordingly and arrive early if you can. We attended during the week (around 1:30pm) and crowds were not bad at all.
  • I gave my son the pep talk before we entered, which basically consisted of, don't touch anything! Know that if you're going with very young children, the desire to touch might be really difficult for them to control. 
  • Encourage your kids to walk slowly and really look at each piece.  My son wanted to race through the whole event, so we walked around a few times to really enjoy everything.
  • There is a craft fair available on the weekends, and your admission fee allows you to attend, so get in there and shop local!
  • There is a little cafe called Matilda's on the arboretum premises, offering sandwiches, pastries and drinks. There are plenty of tables inside to eat at, as well as some seating outside, if weather permits for you. They offer a kids' menu, too, with peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese and more. 
  • Interested in participating next year?  Check out their website for instructions and applications, or talk to one of their many employees or volunteers at the event.  Everyone was friendly and helpful when we attended.
Pinewood Derby made by Kinnelon cub scouts!

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