TOP FAMILY GETAWAY
Photo courtesy Great Wolf Lodge
A favorite Poconos destination long before Kalahari and Aquatopia, this PA indoor water park (only open to resort guests) has a lazy river, video game-inspired slides and wave pool. Once they’re dried off, the kids will love the arcade and MagiQuest, the wand-based game that rules the hallways. At the end of the day, you’ll want to try the new Wine Down Service, a signature wine, cheese and dessert pairing menu.
BEST AMUSEMENT PARK
Photo courtesy Six Flags Great Adventure
When it comes to delivering epic thrill rides, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson never disappoints. The theme park is home to the world’s tallest roller coaster, Kingda Ka, which towers over the grounds at 456 feet. With classic rides like the Runaway Mine Train and coasters like El Toro, you’ll hear screams a mile away. Younger kids will love the safari ride (get in line early) and the sweet Looney Tunes-themed lands. Tickets for the day start at $49.99, but season passes are your best bet if you plan to visit more than once.
SCARIEST HALLOWEEN HAUNT
Great Adventure’s Fright Fest is not for the faint of heart. During the day, your crew can take in family-friendly fun, but once the sun sets and ghouls raid the park, brace yourself for haunted coasters and scary mazes in the dark.
Photo Courtesy Leeza Hernandez
From its fun-filled amusement park to its classic aquarium, Jenkinson’s Boardwalk has been a Jersey Shore favorite since 1928. Relax at the beach before stopping at the Sweet Shop, Kohr’s Ice Cream or Martell’s Tiki Bar. And when the kids get tired of playing in the sand, there are carnival games, thrill rides at Jenk’s Pavilion and mini golf at Castaway Cove.
BEST ZOO OR AQUARIUM
Photo Courtesy Turtle Back Zoo
Nestled in the heart of Essex County, this West Orange zoo is hopping with new giraffe and lion exhibits, wild treetop adventure courses and zip lines. A recently-opened touch tank lets kids pet a stingray, and the Sea Turtle Recovery Center is helping the majestic creatures heal. And we love the hands-on farm and Aviary, where the Budgerigars hop on your hands as you feed them. Admission for 13 and up is $15; 12 and under is $12.
PHOTO COURTESY Liberty Science Center
This fan favorite in Jersey City offers premium passes that give you full access to the museum, IMAX theater and special exhibits like the currently running Mythbusters. With interactive exhibits geared to stimulate her STEM skills, this spot will teach her the science behind everything from natural resources to skyscrapers. We also love the Tesla lightning show with musical coils and the pitch-black touch tunnel.
FAVORITE INDOOR PLAY PLACE
Photo courtesy SkyZone
Trampoline parks are popping up all over the state, but Skyzone was your top pick. These wall-to-wall trampoline parks located everywhere from Maple Shade to Allendale allow kids to bounce on their own trampolines. They can twist and spin into big foam pits, or try slam dunks in the Skyslam. And they won’t want to miss a game of dodgeball with the whole crew, either.
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