Let’s face it. “Family friendly” is probably not the first thing you think of when you hear about trips to Atlantic City. In fact, I think it’s safe to say most stories you hear coming out of Atlantic City involve tales of casinos, clubbing, or bar hopping. But there is another side to Atlantic City. It happens right out in the broad daylight. And it’s one that you won’t mind your kids seeing.
Recently Karen from A Magical Mommy and Jenn from Jersey Family Fun invited my boys and me to spend the day in Atlantic City to experience “Family Friendly Atlantic City” as part of their Bloggers at the Beach event. I’ll admit that since I met my husband, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to Atlantic City. And most of those times involved either a concert or a baseball game. So I was excited to explore Atlantic City with my kids.
Our day started around 9:30 when we went to pick up my helper for the day (At the last minute, Hubs couldn’t join us – BOO!) Although it sounded pretty cool, I decided to skip the 9:45 IMAX movie at the Trop. Mainly because I know how well 3 and 1 year olds like to sit still. Plus the extra sleep it was going to give me in the morning was a bonus!
We headed to Gardner’s Basin – our home base for the day. Again, having lived in either Atlantic or Cape May County for the past 14 years, I was anxious to discover a part of Atlantic City that I had never been to before. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but the area was cute. It was pretty self-contained, which is always good when you have two little ones. (Especially two that never want to head in the same direction at the same time!)
Our first stop was the Atlantic City Cruises for the Oceanfront Skyline Tour. BTW, this was the ONLY thing my 3 year old could talk about since the moment I mentioned we were going on a boat ride. I was worried since it had been storming in Cape May that morning, but I got the heads up from Jenn that the sun was shining up in AC. It was a bit foggy when we set out, but it did begin to burn off as we got further out toward the ocean which made viewing Atlantic City a little easier. Now I’m not a big boat person and the choppiness of the inlet had me a bit worried. The crew told me it would calm down once we hit the ocean. And they were right. There was a nice breeze and we were able to walk around the deck of the small boat with no problems. They offer a 1:00 Dolphin Cruise which I think would be cool and both my kids would LOVE! They boast a 90% success rate in spotting dolphins. And if they don’t find any, your next ride is FREE!
Gardner’s Basin has a few restaurants right there on the water. After our cruise, we met up with some of the other bloggers for lunch at Scales Grill and Deck Bar. I can not rave about this place enough! I’m always worried about limited choices for my vegetarian family. Well, they knocked it out of the park with the most delish roasted veggie platter! And my sons’ grilled cheese was unbelievable, too.
After filling our bellies, we headed to the Atlantic City Aquarium. They’re open floor plan is great and all the tanks were at the perfect height – even for my 1 yr old. He loved watching the “big fish” and splashing in the shark & ray touch tank. My 3 yr old enjoyed exploring everything. We were able to catch the 2:00 Animal Show before my little one decided he was ready to call it quits (can we say, nap time?). I was hoping to make it back to Lucy the Elephant in Margate before heading home, but we’ll save that for another day.
- Historic Absecon Lighthouse
- Rainforest Cafe
- FREE beaches (That’s right – NO beach tags required!)
- Steel Pier
- Stroll the Boardwalk that extends into neighboring Ventnor (catch the FREE Monday night concert series)
- Outlet shopping at The Walk (OK, so that’s more for me than the kids!)
My family and I were given free passes to ride the AC Cruise and visit the AC Aquarium as well as a discounted lunch at Scales as part of the Bloggers at the Beach event. All opinions, however, are my own.