The Festival of Trees in Basking Ridge NJ: 8 Reasons Why You Should Visit

Monday, December 6, 2021
There are so many fun Christmas and Holiday attractions in and around New Jersey, and Festival of Trees is now on my list of favorites! The Festival of Trees takes place annually at the Somerset County Environmental Education Center in Basking Ridge and it's fun for the whole family! Check out these 8 reasons why you need to visit.

(this info is from their 2021 show. Update coming soon!)

Disclosure: This post was written in collaboration with Somerset County NJ Tourism, but all opinions are my own.

Be sure to Pin this post for future reference! I update yearly and I know you'll want to make the Festival of Trees part of your annual holiday traditions.

Before I tell you why you need to visit, let me give you the lowdown about the event:

What: The Festival of Trees features over 40 trees decorated by different organizations, families and participants. Each tree has a unique theme or feature, located in a multi-room display with music and decor to get you in the holiday spirit.

When: Open daily, 9am-4:30pm, Dec. 2, 2022 through Wednesday December 29, 2022 (closed 12/23, 12/24 and 12/25)

Where: Somerset County Park Commission
             Environmental Education Center
             190 Lord Stirling Rd.
             Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

Cost: free with a suggested donation of $5 per person

For more info: 908-722-1200 ext. 5002

Important to note: health and safety precautions are in place and social distancing is encouraged. Masks are optional.

Honestly, the Festival of Trees is so pretty and such a nice little trip that you don't really need eight  reasons to visit. But here they are anyway, just so you don't have any doubt.

1. The Trees

Well, duh, that's a given, right? No, really, the trees are so pretty and festive no matter how many there are in the room. Each tree had a unique story (like my favorite, which was dedicated to the love of a dog and featured biscuits in bags that we could take home to our pups), or the mermaid tree that offered everyone a free seashell to take home, too. Some families have been participating in the Festival of Trees for years. The show itself is in its 43rd year (give or take a few) and is rooted in tradition (see what I did there?). 

2. The Ornaments

This sounds silly but I never thought a Festival of Trees could give me so many cool homemade ornament ideas! I'm amazed at how creative people can be.

3. The Photo Opps

Need a cute Christmas card photo? Looking for an Instagram worthy shot? Well it's easy to find one here! There are plenty of trees to pose in front of, or just take a break and chill like little Kai did below.

4. Voting for Your Favorite

You can actually pick a favorite tree and write it down in the center's collection box at the end of your trip! You can even choose more than one. I loved all of the trees, but the one that stole my heart was "In Memory of Riley and Friends." 

5. All Ages Welcome

It's hard to find an event that all family members will enjoy, and truly, I can't imagine anyone not liking The Festival of Trees. Even my teenager would enjoy this one, since each tree was so unique. From toddlers to senior citizens, there's a tree for everyone here!

6. Low Cost

The Festival of Trees has a suggested donation of $5 per person. It's such a worthy cause, too, since money goes back to the Environmental Education Center, which is an awesome place in itself and offers so much to the community and the environment.

7. The Location

The Environmental Education Center is one of my favorite places, even without the Festival of Trees!
Lord Stirling Park offers approximately 9 miles of hiking trails, Naturalist led programs, school field trips, fun festivals, nature themed exhibits, facility and classroom rentals, a resource library, science and conservation research, and so much more. There is a fun "Great Swamp Experience" in the entire lower level of the education center, where kids can crawl into a beaver lodge, feel animal fur, or explore the toddler area. Adults can enjoy viewing habitat vignettes, archeological artifacts, and learning about hydrology, sustainability, and the park’s geographic location.  It's a hands-on museum right in your own backyard! You can also swing over to The Raptor Trust afterwards, which is right down the road from the education center. 

8. The Trails

Remember I said that you could make a whole day out of this visit? Not only does the Environmental Education Center have that fun Great Swamp Experience room, it also boasts a variety of fun walking trails outdoors! About 9 miles of hiking trails surround the education center, with boardwalks to walk on and trails of various lengths and difficulties. You can check out the entire trail map here

Check out more fun holiday attractions in and around New Jersey here

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