Atlantic City might not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a family vacation; but maybe it should be. Here’s a list of six family-friendly (and budget-friendly) AC activities that’ll keep the kids smiling all day long.
Atlantic City Aquarium
Atlantic City Aquarium
Visit Groman, the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, get up close and personal with a shark or a horseshoe crab, or reach in and stroke a stingray at the Atlantic City Aquarium. There’s a whole day of fun to be had here, for less than the price of a movie ticket.
Atlantic City Aquarium, 800 New Hampshire Ave., Atlantic City, NJ, USA +1 609 348 2880
Marine Mammal Stranding Center
When the whales, dolphins, seals and sea turtles that live along the shores of South Jersey need help, it’s the Marine Mammal Stranding Center to the rescue. Take the kids on a tour of the facilities and help them learn about the wonderful work the marine rescuers do all year long. Bonus: you may get to see some very cute seals.
Marine Mammal Stranding Center, 3625 Atlantic Brigantine Blvd., Brigantine, NJ, USA +1 609 266 0938
Spend the day learning about the coastal habitats of South Jersey and the flora and fauna that live there – with a little dose of fun tossed in. The Wetlands Institute offers naturalist-led boat rides, paddle-boarding and kayaking. You’ll get to interact with some of the coolest species on the beach, and take a guided stroll through the dunes. At $6-$8 a person, you really can’t beat it.
Wetlands Institute, 1075 Stone Harbor Blvd., Stone Harbor, NJ, USA +1 609 368 1211
Climb aboard New Jersey’s official Tall Ship, the Schooner A.J. Meerwald, for a fun peek into the state’s coastal history. Launched in 1928, A.J. Meerwald was just one of hundreds of oyster dredging schooners sailing along South Jersey’s Bayshore. When the Great Depression hit, most of those ships fell into disrepair, but the A.J. Meerwald has been restored to her former glory. Educational programs, public sails, chartered trips, and multi-day sailing camps are offered for crew members of all ages.
Bayshore Center at Bivalve, 2800 High Street, Port Norris, NJ, USA +1 856 785 2060
Lucy the Elephant
No trip to the Atlantic City area is complete without a visit to Lucy. Lucy the Elephant is a six-story, elephant-shaped building originally constructed in 1881 to lure potential real estate investors to Margate (then called South Atlantic City). By 1970, Lucy was crumbling and slated for demolition, but there was a huge community effort to restore her, and today Lucy is the oldest roadside attraction in America and a National Historic Landmark. Guided tours inside the elephant are available all year long.
Lucy the Elephant, 9200 Atlantic Ave., Margate City, NJ, USA +1 609 823-6473
Just a few miles outside Atlantic City, Storybook Land is the amusement park for the fairy tale-lover in all of us. Since its grand opening in 1955, Storybook Land has been a local mainstay. Kids can experience real-life versions of their favorite stories and nursery rhymes, and family-friendly rides and attractions will keep them entertained all afternoon. And at a fraction of the ticket prices other amusement parks charge, parents will love it too.
Storybook Land, 6415 E. Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township, NJ, USA +1 609 646 0103