PHOTO COURTESY istockphoto.com/mikecarduk
This Essex County gem is always evolving. Turtle Back recently added South African penguins to its impressive collection of giraffes, bears, lions and monkeys, and will introduce a flamingo exhibit this fall. The kids can touch stingrays, ride the train or explore the treetop adventure course and zip line. The West Orange attraction also has a petting zoo and aviary where you can get up close and personal with furry and feathered friends.
Top Family-Friendly Museum
PHOTO COURTESY liberty science center
On top of the countless awesome things to experience at LSC, you don’t want to miss the massive new Planetarium. It’s the largest in the western hemisphere and an experience that’ll blow your kids’ minds. This epic setup wows visitors with shows in the Giant Dome Theater that explore the night sky from stars and planets to moons and the sun. See the Milky Way through a NASA probe or the Hubble Space Telescope.
Editor's Pick: YESTERcades
With locations in Red Bank, Somerville and Westfield, it’s easy to get your Pac-Man on. Relive your arcade days on old-school games, beat the high score on a vintage pinball machine and show the kids what Atari’s all about. There’s also ping-pong, air hockey and skee-ball, all with unlimited playing time, plus a simple snack bar. Good to know: no quarters necessary, just pay by the hour.
It's Not Winter Until You've Visited…
photo courtesy of skylands stadium
Storybook Land and Skylands Stadium (tie)
Every year in Storybook Land in Egg Harbor Twp., lil’ believers watch Santa illuminate the park with more than a million lights from his chimney. Skylands Stadium (pictured) in Augusta has three seasonal attractions: a drive-through Christmas light show, a Christmas Village packed with vendors and games and Frozen in Ice, complete with sculptures, s’mores and a giant slide.
Best Vacay Spot Outside the Tristate Area
Photo courtesy of Disney
Whether you’ve been a few times or haven’t made it to Orlando yet, one thing we’re all obsessed with reading about are the park’s new attractions, like Pandora — The World of Avatar (pictured) and Toy Story Land (inset). The latter just opened and features FastPass-worthy attractions like Toy Story Mania!, a 4-D shooting game; the Slinky Dog Dash, a mini roller coaster; and Alien Swirling Saucers, toy rockets that take riders on a space adventure.
More Fun Stuff Winners
Amusement or Water Park: Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson
Halloween Haunt: Six Flags Fright Fest, Jackson
Boardwalk Destination: Jenkinson's Boardwalk, Point Pleasant Beach
Indoor Play Place: Sky Zone, multiple locations
Holiday Train Ride: The Polar Express, Whippany
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