Southern NJ Area Activities and Things To Do!
New to the area and summer boredom getting to ya?
With the 3 bases (Mcguire Air Force Base, Ft Dix Army Base, and Lakehurst Naval Base) now being combined to create one large superbase, JB-MDL is teeming with new arrivals that are PCSing here.
It can be intimidating being new to the area, especially one as surrounded by farmers fields as JB-MDL, to find things to do in the area, or better yet find someone who knows what to do. This article will give you some tips for great family activities in the area and specials deals for Military only! *I will be writing another article later in the year for Winter.
1. Johnson's Farm- Medford, NJ
Johnson's farm not only is a HUGE U-pick farm, but they have hayrides, a large store with fresh produce and baked goods, nightly events all throughout the summer and a large outdoor park complete with teepees, climbing areas, go karts, petting zoo, and a splash area.
They also have Military Mondays throughout the summer. Every Monday from 5pm-9pm they offer free hayrides, free admission to the dicovery barnyard and animal farm (normally 7 per child and 3.50 for adults 1/2 price after 5) and 10% all their premade meals with any military ID. Not to mention that they have things planned for every other night of the week! www.johnsonsfarm.com
2. Inbev-Busch Parks
Inbev parks (formerly Busch parks) offer FREE admission for military and up to 5 dependents for any of their parks which include, Seasame Place, Busch Gardens, Seaworld, and Water Country USA. The website is www.herosalute.com or you can go the parks and they have special windows JUST for militarys under the hero salute program.
3. Battleship New Jersey & Adventure Aquarium - Camden, NJ
The Battleship New Jersey in Camden, NJ offers FREE admission for all military personal providing they have an ID. The Camden Adventure aquarium is right there also and great to make a day of it with both.You can purchase year round memberships for the Adventure Aquarium for as little as $175 for 2 adults and 4 children. This is a great membership and pays for itself in 2 visits. We love going here on rainy days or just when its too hot to stay outside! www.battleshipnj.org and www.adventureaquarium.com
4. FREE Military Beaches
For Free beaches in NJ check out www.freemilitarybeaches.com for a list of free beaches in the area for military. On a side note we love going to Sunset Beach in Cape May, NJ which is right at the tip of NJ on the Delaware Bay side. No lifeguards but it's a rock pebble beach and they do a beautiful ceremony and flag lowering every night to memorialize a fallen soldier. It is also right by the Cape May Lighthouse, Concrete Ship (google it its real!), and the WWII lookout tower along with the WWII bunkers on the beach.
5. FREE YMCA Family Membership
If your spouse is Reserve or National Guard and called to active orders you can get up to 18 months of free membership for your family to any YMCA in the country. Go to www.militaryonesource.com to look up the paperwork. Your spouse has to be on orders for longer then 6 months and they will allow you to have 3 months pre and post deployment of membership. YMCA offers free babysitting for people who go to the gym and there are 2 great ones with pools in Burlington and Mt. Laurel (my fav).
6. The Cape May Zoo - Cape May, NJ
The Cape May Zoo is a FREE zoo but it is a bit of a hike to drive down but is beautiful and you can bring your own food and spend the day. This Zoo offers all that pay zoos offer for a great deal and its not limited to military! Spend the day and enjoy the animals and then head into Cape May for dinner! www.capemaycountyzoo.org
7. PA Rennaissance Festival - Manheim, PA
For those who love Renaissance Faires this is the ultimate. Mount Hope Estate and Winery has created a 35 acre Renassiance village on their grounds, with 90 stage shows, 22 different kitchens, tons of merchants, and an ultimate show at the end of every evening. They run weekends from August through the end of October. Get dressed up for the day and have fun with the kids pretending and learning at the same time! www.parenfaire.com *They do all year round events including beer and wine festivals, celtic festivals, Dickens Xmas, and mystery dinner theater shows.*
8. Amusement Parks
We have several amusement parks in the NJ metro area, some are free (Inbev-Busch parks) and for the rest you can get discounted tickets through your local ITT office on base. www.gomdl.com Here is a list of the parks in the area:
Six Flags Great Adventure and Hurricane Harbor Waterpark; Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom; Knobels (You pay PER RIDE vs admission fee!; )Dutch Wonderland; Seasame Place (FREE through hero salue program); Hershey Park; Keansburg Amusement Park; Clementon Park and Splash World; StoryBook Land; Land of Make Believe.
*This list does not include all amusement parks that are at boardwalk areas.
9. Delaware River Tubing
Considered one of the best Tubing companies in the area! They offer package deals for groups, special pricing for weekdays, and package that include full BBQ meals! They also have the Famous Hog Dog Man! Trip pricing includes drop off and pick up as well! www.delawarerivertubing.com
10. Eastern State Prision- Philadelphia, PA
Yes! There is an old prison in the middle of Philadelphia that is awesome to do a walking tour through. This place is the first example of solitary prison life. They have a great tour you can go through with headphones and they remade some of the buildings to show what it was like. Ghost Hunters has done specials here and a lot of movies were shot here. Its pretty cool. They offer military discounts too. www.easternstate.org
11. Cold Spring Village - Cape May, NJ
This is down near Cape May and its an awesome learning experience. Its a recreation of a 19th Century Iron Plantation and town and what it was like. They have actors and events that go on year round! And its not pricey at all for a day trip! www.hcsv.org
12. Delsea Drive In Theatre - Vineland, NJ
Just like an old time drive in! They play a lot of recent releases and its great to make a night of it! Enjoy relaxing in the back of your pick up, or laying back the seats in the car to watch snuggled up in a blanket! www.delseadrive-in.com
There are several kid-friendly museums in Philadelphia and NJ that are great for day trips! The Please Touch Museum is especially great for those with younger children. The Franklin Institute is wonderful for those interested in history, to how things work, to anything science related. Insectropolis is a great place for anyone who isn't quesy about handling bugs. Garden State Discovery Center is wonderful for hands on play for the younger kids! The American Helicopter Museum in Philadelphia is awesome for those air and space lovers. We even have a Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum in Atlantic City! And for those with truly strong stomachs, check out the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. This is all about the science of the body and the strange things found over history relating to it. http://www.collegeofphysicians.org/mutter-museum/
14. Sahara Sam's Indoor Waterpark
For those who can't swim due to rainy days, have no fear we have indoor water parks in the area! Sahara Sams is a HUGE indoor water park that offers everything for a large Flowrider, the areas only indoor surfing simulator, one of the tallest rope climbers in the area, 3 indoor water slides, toddler areas, lazy river, and a large play area with slides and climbers. They offer discounts on their website and sign up for email alerts whenever specials are available. www.saharasams.com
15. Philadelphia Zoo
America's First Zoo is super close to base!! You can buy a year round membership for up to 10 people each time with free parking for as little as $135! We purchase this every year and its an amazing deal to have for those unexpected days off school, summer trips. You are allowed to bring in your own food and they have tons of different varieties of animals and shows! www.philadelphiazoo.org