As a born and raised Jersey girl, it is embarrassing to admit that I do not spend much time down the shore. As a kid, I frequently visited the beach with my mom, and as a young adult, I enjoyed time at Wildwood and Seaside then later Atlantic City. My husband and I also spent time in AC with his family each summer; however, once I became a mom, getting to the beach became more of a hassle than a luxury.
This summer, we decided it was time to bring the kids down to Atlantic City. I knew they would love playing in the sand and putting their feet in the ocean. I also knew they would love the sights and sounds of the boardwalk. What I didn’t realize was how many brain boosting adventures we would enjoy together as a family.
As you know by now, I am always looking for new and fun learning experiences for my kids. When we decided to visit AC this summer, I started researching local activities and experiences. I had decided that relaxing on the beach and visiting the Absecon Lighthouse would be on our list of must do experiences but the rest we discovered once we arrived.
5 Must Do Experiences in Atlantic City
Climb to the Top of the Absecon Lighthouse
First lit in 1857, the historic Absecon Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in NJ and the third tallest in the US. Located just off the AC boardwalk, it is a perfect excursion for families. Since we were able to see the lighthouse from our hotel window, my kids were excited since the moment we arrived to climb to the top. After spending the day on the beach, we decided to take a walk to the lighthouse to not only escape the sun, but to participate in a fun learning experience.
Guests enter through the replica of the Lightkeeper’s house which is stunning. Inside, guests can peruse the museum which features facts about this lighthouse and other lighthouses around the country. My husband, my boys (ages 3 and 6) and I decided we wanted to all climb the 228 steps to the top. What I enjoyed were the facts and pictures found at the various landings and lookout windows as we walked up the stairs. At the top, we each received a card stated we had successfully climbed to the top. The view of the coast was spectacular! Tickets to climb the Absecon Lighthouse are $7/adult, $5/seniors, $4/children ages 4-12 and FREE for children 3 and under.
Explore the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum
Located directly on the Atlantic City boardwalk, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum is a building you can’t miss! With the facade of a broken building and a large shark hanging from the ceiling, it is an enticing adventure for any child. The first exhibit seen when we walked in is something my kids still talk about. It was a life-sized statue of the tallest man who ever lived. My kids were in shock that a man could ever be 9 feet tall. We also enjoyed seeing sculptures made out of toothpicks and art made out of candy. For me, the most fascinating artifact I encountered was a piece of the Berlin Wall. It was amazing to be so close to such a big piece of history.
Play Mini Golf
Atlantic City Miniature Golf is located on the Boardwalk directly across from Boardwalk Hall. Open day and night, AC Mini Golf makes for a perfect family experience during your Atlantic City vacation. The beautiful fountains and gorgeous sculptures made for a wonderful view while golfing. My kids had so much fun playing the 18 holes, and they didn’t even realize they were building important motor, visual, spatial and problem solving skills.
Enjoy a Light Show at Boardwalk Hall
While playing mini golf, we had the pleasure of watching the 3-D Light Show at Boardwalk Hall. Beginning at 9pm, shows run every 30 minutes with each show lasting about 8.5 minutes. Guests can enjoy one or all three shows: AC Dreamin’, Duality and Boardwalk Beat. The show is a captivating and breathtaking experience that combines art, music and technology. My son loved dancing to the music while watching the amazing light display on the front of Boardwalk Hall. The show is FREE and open to the general public. The show can be seen from the boardwalk, but we caught a great view from the mini golf course. Many people also set up chairs and waited for each show. The show takes place each night through September 30, 2015.
No matter the season, it’s wonderful to feel the sand between your toes and the sun on your face. The beaches along the Atlantic City boardwalk are always FREE and offer hours of fun and learning for all ages. Whether you enjoy boogie boarding, building sand castles or just relaxing on the beach, there is something for everyone. Certain hotels also offer fun beach activities as well as live concerts at night.
I hope you enjoy your day, weekend or week at Atlantic City! Remember, it’s not just about the casinos;-)