On most summer days you’ll find vacationers going to the beach at the Jersey Shore, but there’s a lot to do on a rainy or cloudy day as well. The region is full of great spots to keep kids of all ages entertained and many are free or charge a nominal fee. Here are some suggestions for our welcomed guests who might not know the Cape May, Atlantic and southern Ocean County area.
The Jersey Shore has many interesting lighthouses and tours are available. Check out the website http://www.njlighthouses.com/ for directions and info. In Cape May County you will see the Cape May Lighthouse and the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse in North Wildwood. In Atlantic City you can visit the Absecon Lighthouse and in Ocean County, the Barnegat Lighthouse.
Leaming’s Run Gardens on Rt. 9 in Swainton is an oasis of beautiful gardens to walk through and sit and watch hummingbirds and butterflies. Wear good walking shoes and a hat and spend a few minutes sitting in the gazebo. They will open in Mid May. Admission $8 Adults, $4 Children 7-14. http://www.leamingsrungardens.com/
For those interested in touring a home from 1775 and seeing exhibits including furnishings, costumes, tools and decorative objects the Cape MayCounty Museum is a great place to explore. On Rt. 9- Exit 11 off the Parkway in North Cape May Court House. http://www.cmcmuseum.org/
Cape May Trolley tours and horse-drawn carriages are a great way to learn about this charming Victorian town by the sea. At night it’s a romantic way to see the town and do a little “parlor peeking.” You can also tour the Physick Estate, http://www.capemaymac.org/
I also ‘love’ to get take-out seafood and eat on the docks at the Lobster House, the freshest seafood in the world and you can watch the fishing boats unload their catch-of-the day. Every year we enjoy the Southern Buffet on Sunday Nights at the Chalfonte Hotel. The food is fabulous and Lucille’s rolls are ‘to die for’! Tell her I told you! She told me her secret ingredient last year, but I’ll never tell!
Cold Spring Village is a charming re-enactment village near Cape May, including 25 restored buildings with costumed interpreters. Check out the site for weekend festivities including Railroad Days, an Antique Show and War Re-enactments. http://www.hcsv.org/ Adults $ 8, Children 3- 12 $5, Senior Citizens $7. I love this place!
The Cape May County Zoo, off exit 11 of the Parkway, is a great way to spend an afternoon and maybe even pack a lunch. The zoo is free, although donations are accepted. You will be delighted to see the new baby bears, giraffes, lions and zebras. It is well kept and there is a gift shop and food vendors on the premises. For more info http://www.thejerseycape.net/
Another great trip is to visit the Wetland’s Institute, “a great place to learn about conservation and preservation of coastal ecosystems by providing a fun and educational experience for families and vacationers of all ages!” It’s on the causeway going into Stone Harbor in Cape May County- Parkway Exit 10B. Admission $7, $5 2-11 yrs. http://www.wetlandsinstitute.org/
The Ocean City Museum is a great way to learn about the history of this seaside resort voted ‘the #1 Family Beach Resort in the Nation.’ The museum is located at 18th and Simpson Ave. Come and learn about the history of Ocean City formerly called Peck's Beach and visit their gift shop. Learn about the Sindia shipwreck. Free! http://www.ocnjmuseum.org/
Then moving up the coast to Atlantic County, Lucy the Elephant is a must see for children and the folks at home will love to see pictures of this 65-foot high wooden elephant that once was a hotel in Margate, NJ. http://lucytheelephant.org/Book lovers must purchase the book “Lucy the Elephant & Sami the Mouse” and their new book too, “Sami & Lucy 2: The Birthday Party.” Admission $4 Adults, $2 2-12 yrs.
While on Absecon Island, check out the Atlantic CityHistorical Museum, http://www.acmuseum.org on the boardwalk near Showboat. Call (609) 347-5839. Open10 am to 4 pm. The latest exhibit is "Starshine: There's No Business like Show Business in Atlantic City.” It is free to the public.
Further north in Atlantic City is Gardner’s Basin and the Ocean Life Center, http://www.gardnersbasin.com/, “a fun and educational look into more than 100 varieties of fish and marine animals.” Adults $7, Children $4. Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, 348-2880. While there go for a boat ride or enjoy at meal at the Flying Cloud. The whole area is enjoying revitalization.
StorybookLand is a great kiddie park located on Rt. 322/40 between the Hamilton Mall and the Shore Mall, 10 miles west of Atlantic City, in Cardiff, EHT. $16.95 plus tax for each child or adult, includes all storybook attractions and unlimited rides. http://www.storybookland.com
A short drive from Atlantic City north on Rt. 9 is Historic Smithville. It’s a fun place for dining, shopping with 60 shops and there is a little village to walk through. Be sure to cross the bridge and try the paddle boats. http://www.smithvillenj.com/
Save time for the Tuckerton Seaport, a maritime village celebrating the early settler’s who were baymen, many of whom were my relatives on the 'Mott side.' Henry Mott came to Tuckerton in 1714 and Henry Jacobs Falkinburg, who founded Little Egg Harbor, came circa 1698. See decoy carvers and clamming exhibits and climb to the top of the replica of the Tucker’s Island Lighthouse. (609) 296-8868. Rt 9 Tuckerton. Enjoy lunch at Skeeter’s Seafood Café. Another interesting fact: my grandfather's youngest brother, Vernon's nickname was "Skeeter!" http://www.tuckertonseaport.org/ Open 10 – 5 pm Adults $8 Children $3.
Most of all have a good time and spend quality, educational time with your children. Why not go off the beaten path and learn something while you’re at it. I can't believe the summer is almost over! September is one of our greatest months! Make sure to stop and smell the roses.
For more information e-mail me at
All photos taken by Jennifer except the Chalfonte porch by a family member.
Last Updated ( Aug 30, 2006 at 08:49 AM )
What People are Saying about JerseyShoreJournal.com
Written by Jennifer Palermo
Mar 07, 2006 at 11:19 AM
JerseyShore Journal Stats for 2005
Unique Computers 2,875
One Month February 2006- Visitors 1248, Pages 4627, Hits 61,794
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What People are Saying about JerseyShoreJournal.com
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