Day Tripping: 10 Places You Won't Want to Miss This Summer
Summer is the perfect time to hit the road, especially after spending a few months indoors with quarantine. We've gathered a perfect list of fun and even educational places to check out that will be far enough to get away while keeping you close to home.
The Cape May County Zoo was created in 1978 in the Cape May County Park. When it first opened, the zoo's animals consisted of an African lion, primates (spider monkeys), various barnyard animals, and New Jersey wildlife animals. In the early 1980s, the zoo started to bring in more exotic animals such as black bears, bison, antelope, primates, and birds. By 1986, the zoo received donations and began major reconstruction. New animal exhibits were added as well as a medical and diet preparation building. In 1989, they became AZA accredited and still are to this day. The zoo started with an animal population of around 70 in 1978 and the zoo now has 550 animals, representing 250 species. The zoo is free to enter and families of all ages and sizes are welcome to visit. There are various picnic tables and even a playground outside of the zoo in the park for guests to enjoy. Donations are always appreciated.
The Delsea Drive-In was built in 1949. It closed in 1987 and then reopened again in 2004. It is located on Delsea Drive in Vineland, New Jersey and is New Jersey’s only drive-in movie theatre. The outdoor venue is less than an hour drive from Atlantic City, Philadelphia, and Delaware. The drive-in provides affordable fun for all ages and even offers healthier food options at the concessions stand. The concessions stand is where most of the revenue comes from and where the drive-in's operating expenses are covered. Hence why they ask for a request not to bring in outside food and beverages unless you purchase a food permit which is available when you purchase your general admission ticket online. General admission tickets for ages 4 + are $11 + tax and fee and children 3 and under are free. The drive-in is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday You can visit their website for current movies playing.
Funny Farm Rescue Animal Sanctuary is a 15-acre privately owned farm in Mays Landing. The purpose of this sanctuary is shelter and care for unwanted, sick, elderly, injured, and abused animals. They have been operating since 2000 and have over 550 animals in their care. It is a fun place for people of all ages to come and interact with all sorts of animals. They are open Sundays and Tuesday from 8 am to 4 pm and accept donations.
Historic Smithville has been around for 60 years. It started as a one room, stage coach stop and now consists of 60 shops. You get the hometown, small business feel when you walk around. There are shops for almost anything. You can spend the day walking around each shop and enjoying the beautiful lake. They have a little arcade, paddle boats, a carousel, and train you can ride around. They are the host of over 40 free weekend events.
The Atlantic City Aquarium opened in May 1999. It is located at the Historic Gardner’s Basin and looks out over the Absecon Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean. The aquarium is a great place for kids and families of all ages. It offers educational values to students and introduces visitors to New Jersey marine life. You are able to help the staff feed stingrays and also get up close with some animals during their live animal shows. They are open daily from 10 am to 5 pm.
Lucy the Elephant is a National Historic Landmark with an extension history. It started in 1881 when James Lafferty of Philadelphia built Elephant Bazaar. He then sold it to Anton Gertzen and Sofia Gertzen in 1887. In 1902 they renamed it Lucy the Elephant and turned it into a tavern. In 1970, the Gertzens donated Lucy to the newly formed Save Lucy Committee, Inc and she was moved to her new home where restorations began. After 12 years, Lucy finally reopened to the public in 1974 and in 1976 she was designated as a National Historic Landmark. Today you can take guided tours through Lucy and visit her gift shop to take a little piece of her legacy home with you.
Estell Manor Park is an estate that was first owned by the Estell family and was the site of a glassworks in the 1800’s. It then became the site of a munitions plant during World War 1. It has now since been reclaimed by the forest and hosts a variety of plants and animals. It is about 1700 acres and is bordered by the Great Egg Harbor River/South River on the east and Route 50 on the west. There are many great family activities to do in the park. There are bike trails, Warren E. Fox Nature Center, nature trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, pavilions, Veterans Cemetery and Pavilion, bird watching, and Glassworks ruins.
The Cape May Lighthouse was constructed in 1857 by the Army Corps of Engineers. The current tower is the third documented lighthouse at the southern tip of New Jersey. It was first lit in 1859. More than 2.5 million visitors have climbed the lighthouse since 1988 when it first opened to the public. It is open to all ages but you don’t have to climb the lighthouse, there is also an Oil House that is a fully accessible visitors’ center and museum shop. You can also walk around the three different trails and lookouts. There is also a beach you can go and sit on.
Cold Spring Village is an Early American open-air living history museum. They pride themselves with historic preservation, history education, and heritage tourism. They have 25 different buildings for visitors to explore and learn about the culture from that era. Some of their buildings include Marshallville School, Woodworking Shop, Willis Barn, Bakery, Ice Cream Parlor, Blacksmith, Cape May Point Jail, and the Cold Spring. Cold Spring Village is a great place for the whole family to come and learn about our rich heritage. You can even bring your dog with you!
Batsto Village is an historic site in the South Central Pinelands of New Jersey. It has roots dating back to 1766. Here at Batsto Village you are able to walk around the village and see all the different kinds of buildings and shops they had. You can take a guided tour or just walk around the village. There are also three trails for people to enjoy. They are color coded and each have a different length. Some of the trails give you a wonderful view of the Batsto Lake and River.