Nothing dampens a shore vacation more than a lousy forecast. The shore is an attractive vacation spot for parents, in part, because they can lounge on the beach while the kids entertain themselves in the sand and the surf. But a rainy day doesn’t mean spending the day on the couch watching reruns of Real Housewives on Bravo, while listening to your kids whine that they’re so boooored. Here are 13 entertainment ideas for Atlantic & Cape May counties.
The Walk –You can win big in A.C. at this outlet shopping center with popular retailers like J.Crew, Banana Republic, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Coach. A perfect option with tweens and teens.
Atlantic City Aquarium—Touch tanks, interactive exhibits and a 25,000-gallon exhibit aquarium is the perfect “exploration of the ocean” without going to the beach.
Cape May County Park & Zoo—If it’s an overcast or chilly day, hit the manageable Cape May Zoo with more than 550 animals, playgrounds, picnic areas and more.
Lucy the Elephant—Climb the spiral staircase up this six-story historical landmark, all the way to the howdah on her back. A great way to teach kids about the Jersey Shore of yore.
Arcades—No matter which beach you’re hitting, there’s bound to be an arcade. And sure, your kids may have an iPadMake a morning of it playing old-school games like skee-ball, ice hockey, even Pac-Man.
Mini Golf—Much like arcades, mini golf courses abound at the shore, including indoor options. The Ocean City boardwalk offers the black-light-lit Medieval Fantasy Mini Golf while Wildwood offers Dragon’s Lair.
Wildwood Insectarium—A great spot for budding entomolgists, this all-bug museum in Wildwood features an enclosed butterfly gazebo, hands-on “petting” exhibits and more.
Adventure Mirror Maze and The Vault laser maze challenge—This pair of indoor mazes will challenge any crew. The first is a traditional mirror maze, while the latter is a high-tech version of the classic maze, with participants trying to complete the task without being hit by “lasers.”
The movies—When the rain is coming down hard at the beach, sometimes the best way to escape it is at the movies. Ocean City has two historic theaters on its boardwalk—The Moorlyn and The Strand—while Stone Harbor has Frank Theatres with five screens. There’s also a multiplex in Egg Harbor with 16 screens.
Fly a kite—When the weather is less than pleasant, the empty beaches offer the perfect place to fly a kite—plenty of wind and few people to trip over when you’re looking up at your kite.
Wetlands Institute—The Wetlands Institute is dedicated to preserving coastal ecosystems and educating visitors about the environment. The institute has gardens, an aquarium with hands-on exhibits and live horseshoe crabs, sea stars and more, and an observation tower that provides views of the region.
Get crafty—A number of stores have opened in recent years, providing kids with hands-on creative activities. Potomac Bead Company in Ocean City offers jewelry-making fun while Glazed Over Studios allows walk-in times for pottery painting and custom mosaic-making.
Storybook land: This small, fantasy-inspired amusement park in Egg Harbor Township has been entertaining families for more than 50 years. The amusement rides are way more mild than, say, Morey’s Pier, so it’s best for kids ages 8 and under. (If it’s too nasty out, Storybook Land will close, so call first.)