New York City Public Schools officially wrapped up yesterday and there’s nothing quite like welcoming summer with carnival rides and old-school boardwalk fun on the beach. We recently ventured to the southern end of the Jersey Shore to visit the famous seaside amusement park, Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Water Parks in Wildwood, New Jersey.
We stayed steps away from the boardwalk at the Doo Wop inspired StarLux Boutique Hotel, complete with retro inspired lava lamps and faux palm trees. Although the kids would have been content with a hotel stay and pool alone – there was plenty of exploring to do!
We came with memories of a few family Jersey Shore vacations – but had never experienced anything as expansive as Morey’s Piers which encompasses over 18 acres across six beach blocks. With three amusement piers and two beachfront water parks boasting over 100 rides and attractions – there was truly something for everyone.
The classic boardwalk vibe along with the pure excitement of a beach amusement park made for incredible fun – and our days were filled with the sort of stuff that childhood dreams are made of. Wishes on quarters brought home new stuffed friends and rides-galore captured quintessential kid-filled joy. My littles continue to speak about riding into the sky on the pink elephants at Mariner’s Pier and the whimsical horses on the 44-foot Venetian Carousel at Surfside Pier. As we watched adventure-seekers on the intense, extreme rides – I immediately acknowledged the simple pleasure in having young children at Morey’s Piers.
And plenty of attractions brought out the child in all of us.
The adventures continued at the Ocean Oasis Water Park and Beach Club, located on the beach behind Surfside Pier. The kids couldn’t get enough of the water attractions at the Bonsai Beach children’s themed area. And I admittedly dreamed of solo time with my husband at the adult relaxation pool – equipped with a swim up bar. Although we spent our time in the designated kid’s area, the water park includes a thrilling Cliff Drive Slide, a Wipe Out! Slide, a relaxing lazy river and private family cabanas.
With over twenty food stands and eateries to choose from, we indulged in fresh local seafood, salad and brick oven pizza at Joe’s Fish Co. on Surfside Pier. We also enjoyed the food and atmosphere at Stubborn Brothers Beach Bar and Grill where we met Morey brothers Will & Jack. They told us the story of the restaurant’s many name incarnations (previously Oasis Cafe and Soggy Dollar) – and the signature fare and specialty cocktails brought us back the following day. The boardwalk also has plenty of fun food and treats, including Curley’s Fries – a boardwalk staple since 1974.
One of our favorite activities took place on Adventure Pier, at artBOX, an interactive artists’ colony constructed from re-purposed shipping containers. The kids had fun decorating paper lanterns with mod-podged tissue paper, while the older kids spray-painted street-art inspired skateboards. The kids really enjoyed immersing themselves in crafts and I had a chance to speak with artist David Macomber, who led the activities. I found it interesting that he created a lot of the park’s signage and I enjoyed his displayed work along with the artistic respite in the middle of a massive amusement park and boardwalk.
I have no doubt that the children will hold on to the special memories of our long weekend at Morey’s Piers and staying up way past their bedtimes. Perhaps many of my favorite moments involved watching them point in wide-eyed wonder at towering rides, nostalgic neon signs and boardwalk excitement through a kaleidoscope of colors.
With a three-hour trip outside our home base of NYC, my family will definitely be back for more. We are grateful for the introduction to a new-to-us part of the Jersey Shore and an incredibly fun-filled family weekend.
Special thanks to Morey’s Piers for sponsoring my family’s trip with complimentary hotel, food and attractions. Opinions, as always, are my own.