Frelinghuysen Arboretum Readies for 26th Annual Gingerbread Wonderland


Frelinghuysen Arboretum Gingerbread Show


Gingerbread houses are synonymous with the holiday season. So whether you’re ready to take your building talents to the next level or just want to appreciate the architectural possibilities, The Frelinghuysen Arboretum offers a fun and festive exhibit the whole family can enjoy.

The Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum present the 26th annual Gingerbread Wonderland Friday, Dec. 1 through Sunday, Dec. 10.

What began in 1991with fewer than a dozen exhibits and several hundred guests has blossomed into a highly-anticipated display that has recently attracted as many as 13,000 visitors in recent Decembers.

Vote for your favorite!

More than 200 entries are expected to be on display inside the arboretum, which is part of the Morris County Parks Commission. If you’re feeling creative, there’s still time to register, but space is limited, so submit your form by Wednesday, Nov. 22. Not sure if your traditional gingerbread can stand up to the competition? Not to worry, the arboretum offers this tried-and-true recipe for your primary building material. An award will be given to the first place winners in each of six categories: Adult, Family, Children, School, Scout and Special Needs.

In the past, the exhibit has seen entrants recreate such masterpieces as the Taj Mahal and the Eiffel Tower all from gingerbread and icing, which serves as the glue holding together these delicious works of art.

Recent shows have featured over 200 displays and attracted over 13,000 guests.
Courtesy of The Friends of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum

For those wishing to visit the exhibit, particularly families with young children, Karen Muccillo, administrative assistant at the Haggerty Education Center, says arriving as soon as doors open on Saturdays and Sundays is a good idea as that is when it’s least crowded. As the day goes on, the exhibit typically becomes busier.

During the weekdays, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. is the most quiet time. After school, scout troops pay a visit to check out the creative confections and the room fills up once again.

The exhibit opens to the public Friday, Dec. 1.
Courtesy of The Friends of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Staff and Board Members of The Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum came up with the idea as a way to welcome guests to the garden during a usually quiet time of year. It’s not so quiet anymore!

“Gingerbreads” are not only houses, but also landmarks, trains, planes, and animals and include every theme from favorite show tunes to commercials, from family vacations to superheroes.

Enter your masterpiece or enjoy the exhibit as a admirer.
Courtesy of The Friends of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum

This is the 8th year that the exhibit will include a craft show, offering visitors a chance to pick up unique, handmade gifts designed by local artists and crafters. The show will be open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, Sunday, Dec. 3, Saturday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 10. Different artists will display their wares each weekend.

Different artisans will be featured each weekend.

Recognizing that looking at all that gingerbread will make you hungry, an on-site cafe welcomes those craving a treat. Matilda’s Cafe will be open Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Gingerbread Wonderland will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 pm and until 7:30 p.m on Friday. $2 per person gains entry to both the Craft Show and the Gingerbread Wonderland exhibit.

For more information, visit The Frelinghuysen Arboretum’s website or call  973.326.7601.