What’s the best part about being a grandparent? You get to spend quality time with your grandkids, and afterward, you can give them back! You can enjoy exciting adventures, day trips, and overnighters, and when it’s all over, you can get a good night’s sleep in your own bed. It’s all the good stuff without any of the long-term stress.
There are so many places to take your grandkids in The Garden State that we can’t list them all in this limited space. But here are a few choice destinations that have all the ingredients for fantastic family memories.
Liberty Science Center – Jersey City
This 300,000 square-foot complex is housed on the banks of the Hudson River and has been entertaining kids of all ages for 25 years. One of the main attractions at the Liberty Science Center is its new Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium (the largest in the Western Hemisphere!) and LSC Giant Dome Theater, with its 89-foot screen and digital projection system. Its “Wonders of the Night Sky,” tours our solar system; Elmo and Big Bird appear in “One World, One Sky.” There are many other exhibits, and plans are underway for a new learning center.
Jenkinson’s Aquarium – Point Pleasant Beach
Future marine biologists will appreciate a day at Jenkinson’s Aquarium. It’s a privately-owned, interactive facility right on the Point Pleasant boardwalk. Its creative exhibits and fun, educational programs are designed to promote animal preservation and awareness. Visitors can spend quality time with African Penguins, Harbor Seals, and other local marine life. Ages 4-10 can dress up as mermaids for a Mermaid Tea Party; the behind the scenes tours are also quite popular.
Van Saun County Park – River Edge
Van Saun County Park, a 146-acre outdoor park is home to Bergen County Zoological Park, Washington Spring Garden, plus fun playgrounds, picnic and fishing facilities, a train, a carousel, even pony rides in season. An easy, 1.5-mile winding nature trail takes families through the sites, and there are nominal per-attraction fees. It also features Van Saun Tennis Center, which has a summer camp for kids.
Storybook Land – Egg Harbor
A Jersey shore tradition, this kid-sized amusement park has been entertaining families for 60 years. All of the rides and attractions here are based on children’s classic stories and nursery rhymes, like Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella. Storybook Land holds special holiday events, such as Trick or Treat Weekend and a Christmas Lights Parade. Birthday parties and season passes are also available.
Insectropolis – Toms River
Bug out in a big way at this cool insect learning center in Toms River. Insectropolis, a unique, educational museum has fascinating, exotic bugs from across the globe. There are interactive activities and bizarre exhibits, like Bug University, Hive Airport, and WBUG Radio that will keep you and your grandkids poking about for hours. Insectropolis also sponsors special holiday events, birthday parties, and camps.