Some of the best memories of summer are made at New Jersey’s amusement parks. We’ve got water parks, oceanside piers, and huge amusement parks like Six Flags Great America that are huge regional attractions. Since there are so many parks to cover, we’ve only listed the major ones. The Jersey Shore has more amusement parks than any other region.
You’ll find only one in Monmouth County, Keansburg Amusement Park. The Keansburg park has been in business for 111 years. Atlantic County boasts two amusement parks, the world famous Steel Pier in Atlantic City, and Storybook Land, a park dedicated to childhood stories and nursery rhymes. We’ve covered five in Cape May County. In Ocean City, there is OC Waterpark, Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, and Playland’s Castaway Cove. Over in Wildwood, there is the Splash Zone Water Park, along with the gigantic Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Water Parks.
Last but not least, there is Ocean County with seven amusement parks. At Long Beach Island, you have Fantasy Island Amusement Park and Thundering Surf Waterpark. Outside of LBI is Eagleswood Amusement Park. In Bayville, there is Blackbeard’s Cave Family Entertainment Center. Seaside Heights has Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach Waterpark. Nearby Point Pleasant Beach features Jenkinson’s Boardwalk. And in Jackson is the granddaddy of them all, Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari and Hurricane Harbor.
It once was considered one of the greatest entertainment venues in the country. It opened to the public in 1898 as a theater, and went on to include exhibits, rides, and attractions. Dubbed the “Showplace of the Nation,” it hosted Frank Sinatra, Al Jolson, and The Beatles. The Famous Diving Horses performed regular shows here. Multi-year plans now are in place to restore Steel Pier to its former glory.
Steel Pier recently underwent a $23 million renovation. The famous pier now includes 25 kiddie and extreme rides, games, food kiosks, a family pub, and an oceanside bar. Soon, visitors will be flocking to Atlantic City to take a ride on a 200-foot observation wheel, the first of its kind in the state of New Jersey. The $14 million wheel is expected to be operating later in 2015. It will be situated on the 30,000-square-foot expansion of Steel Pier now being constructed. Steel Pier officials expect 50,000 riders a month on the wheel to see fantastic views of the Jersey Shore. The price for its admission will be $12.00.
The iconic pier is located on the most famous historical pedestrian promenade in the world, The Atlantic City Boardwalk. Steel Pier extends 1,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. Its popular helicopter rides offer views of the coastline and the Atlantic City skyline. Steel Pier is located at 1000 Boardwalk in Atlantic City. For more information, visit their website. The Steel Pier information line is 866-386-6659.
Founded in 1955, Storybook Land offers families an educational and fun experience. Special attention is given to the youngest members of the family, especially if this is their first amusement park visit. Generations of families visit the park every year.
Storybook Land features attractions representing favorite childhood stories and nursery rhymes. You can visit Santa or the Easter Bunny at their homes. Stop by and see the Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe, Mother Goose, or Mistress Mary’s Garden. The little ones can enjoy taking a ride on the train or carousel, or putting around in Olde Tymers cars. Storybook Land also has its seasonal Storybook Seaport for some water fun. During your adventures, you can grab a bite to eat at one of the eateries scattered throughout the magical storyland.
Storybook Land hosts special events all year long. There are adventure weekends, birthday celebrations and tea parties, even car shows. Easter, Halloween, and Christmas are magical at the amusement park. The Christmas Fantasy with Lights is a holiday experience not to miss. Admission for the park is one set price per guest. Storybook Land is located at 6415 Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Township. For park dates and more information, visit their website. You can reach them by phone at 609-641-7847.
Cape May County
You can have fun at the water park or spend a lazy afternoon under a private cabana. Guests can take a single or double tube down the Lazy River. There is the popular Tube Journey that takes you on a series of exciting curves and plunges. Some of the daring rides include the Splashdown and the Serpentine Body Slide. The children will enjoy Lil’ Buc’s Bay, a fantasy pirate playground with a shipwreck, fort, lighthouse, and palm trees. The Bay offers fun in safe shallow waters.
OC Waterpark is located at 728 Boardwalk in Ocean City. Their phone number is 609-399-0483. You can visit their website.
Gillian’s Wonderland Pier
Come to Ocean City for this historic amusement park. Founded in 1929 by David Gillian, the family friendly park offers wonderful rides, weekday special, and holiday bargains. Gillian’s features a carousel built in 1926 and a 140-foot tall Giant Wheel.
There is no shortage of rides at Gillian’s. And, the tickets that you purchase for the dozens of rides have no expiration date. There are indoor rides, which include the mono rail, carousel, boats, and the Raceway Whip. At the Midway, you’ll find a Tilt-a-Whirl, Bear Affair, and the Giant Wheel. Gillian’s Fun Deck has the Scrambler and mini bumper cars. The Lower Deck has the Canyon Falls Log Flume, Runaway Train Coaster, and the Haunted House Dark Ride. As you wander through Gillian’s, enjoy some homemade kettle corn, a pretzel, a slice of pizza, or an ice cream. (Be sure to stay away from the eager seagulls.)
Gillian’s Wonderland Pier is located at East 6th Street and the Boardwalk in Ocean City. You can visit their website for special events, the seasonal calendar, and information on booking a birthday party. Gillian’s phone number is 609-399-7082.
Playland’s Castaway Cove
Playland’s Castaway Cove has been the place for family fun for over 55 years. The Ocean City amusement park has a family friendly arcade at its entrance, and more than 30 rides. The pier offers tickets with no expiration date, and there are specials packages offered for Easter and Christmas.
At Playland, you’ll discover rides for thrill seekers and the kiddies, as well as the traditional selection. There are swings, bumper cars, and the Super Slide, along with the Extreme Cyclone and Double Shot. If you like go-karts, visit their Seaside Go-Kart Speedway at 9th and Boardwalk. If mini golf is more your thing, there are two 19-hole courses. Seaport Village Golf is between 9th Street and 10th Street on the Boardwalk. It features a shipwreck and a maritime fishing village. Golden Galleon Pirate Golf is located between 11th Street and 12th Street on the Boardwalk. It has palm trees, a monstrous octopus, and a giant sized pirate.
Playland’s Castaway Cove is located at 1020 Boardwalk in Ocean City. For their seasonal calendar, special events, and birthday party information, visit www.oceancityfun.com. Their phone number is 609-399-4751.
Splash Zone Water Park
A fun water-filled experience is waiting for you on the Wildwood Boardwalk at Splash Zone Water Park. The park offers a safe, family friendly environment with certified lifeguards, lockers, and changing rooms. With 20 world class attractions, you can discover thrills with a family raft ride, body flumes, water blasters, speed slides, lazy river, and 1,000-gallon tipping bucket. Their Flow Rider surfing attraction is the only one of its kind in Wildwood. Guests can surf the 40-foot wave, or sit back and watch the show. For the children, there is the Zoe Zone, a play area with a shallow pool, fountains, and soft play equipment.
After some water fun at the park, guests can kick back. You can rent your own private cabana. The adults can have a summer cocktail at the new Flow Bar. If you are in the mood for a treat, visit The Zone Grill. During the summer months, Splash Zone Water Park offers its Adventure Camp. Campers learn lifeguarding skills, swift water rescue, team building, aquatic games, and more. Splash Zone Water Park is located at 3500 Boardwalk in Wildwood. You can visit their website. Splash Zone’s phone number is 609-729-5600.
Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Water Parks
When you visit Wildwood, you have to check out Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Water Parks. Since 1969, the family owned and operated classic seaside amusement park has been creating memories for generations of families. You’ll appreciate using the tramcar to experience all that Morey’s has to offer. There are over 100 rides and attractions spanning over 18 acres along six beach blocks, including three amusement piers and two beachfront water parks.
Mariner’s Pier is one of the piers at Morey’s. There are classic rides like the Giant Wheel, carousel, Wave Swinger, and the teacups. You can experience Breakfast in the Sky on the Giant Wheel. This is a gourmet breakfast served with white linens and china. Mariner’s Arcade is one of the largest in Wildwood. For some water fun at Mariner’s Pier, there is Raging Waters Water Park. You can take a ride on the lazy river or take the plunge at Shotgun Falls. There are two play areas for kids: Shipwreck Shoals, an interactive pirate ship and fort, and Camp Kidtastrophe, a three-level activity area with surprises like water guns and water sprays. There are several eateries at Mariner’s for Boardwalk treats as well as sit-down family meals.
Surfside Pier is a second pier at Morey’s. You’ll find lots of neon colors, bright lights, and popping music. Some of the wild rides at Surfside include the Great Nor’Easter coaster and AtmosFEAR. KONG also is here. This is the latest ride, reincarnating the original KONG ride built in 1972. The flying interactive ride stands 60 feet tall with KONG himself climbing a lighthouse located in the center of the ride. Guests can pilot their own flight in custom shark themed vehicles by using a moveable front wing. To go with the ride, there is a new retail store KONG & Co. On the beach behind Surfside Pier is the tropical island getaway Ocean Oasis Water Park and Beach Club. You’ll find private cabanas, a fire pit, wild waterslides, and a lazy river. The children can play at Bonsai Beach with water jets, climbing ropes, and slides.
Adventure Pier is Morey’s third pier. Here you will discover The Great White classic wooden coaster, the dare devilish Skyscraper, and the psychotic Springshot. You can even take a scenic helicopter ride over the 18-mile stretch of the Wildwoods. If you like to express yourself through art, visit the artBOX. This year, Morey’s interactive art studio and gallery made from 11 shipping containers will introduce artBOX: LAB. It allows guests to channel their inner artist offering art classes on jewelry making, cartooning, painting, and screen printing.
Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Water Parks are located at 3501 Boardwalk in Wildwood. The Morey’s information line is 609-522-3900. You can visit Morey’s online.
Keansburg Amusement Park & Runaway Rapids Water Park
In Keansburg, you will find the only amusement park in Monmouth County. Originally created in the early 1900s by Henry Gelhaus, Keansburg Amusement Park has been in business for 111 years. Family owned and operated by Henry’s grandsons, the park has one of the largest collections of antique rides in New Jersey. People who came to the park as children bring their grandchildren to go on the same rides.
Offering affordable fun at the Jersey Shore, Keansburg has lots in store for the family. There are games and three large arcade centers. You can go on dozens of rides and eat Boardwalk food. This summer the park will be reopening its roller coaster called Looping Star. There are go-karts for the kiddies and the adults. You can visit the Hollowgraves Haunted Manor for scary fun. At the Runaway Rapids Water Park, there are over 18 slides, a kiddie lagoon and separate play area, a lazy river, and two spa pools. You also can enjoy saltwater fishing at the pier. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, Keansburg offers Buy One, Get One, where you can enjoy both Keansburg Amusement Park and Runaway Rapids for $23.45 per person.
Come spend the day at Keansburg Amusement Park and Runaway Rapids Water Park. This summer they will be reopening the Old Heidelberg Inn. Destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, the park completely rebuilt the historic inn, which was from the 1930s. Keansburg Amusement Park & Runaway Rapids Water Park is located at 275 Beachway Avenue in Keansburg. Visit their website for information on admission, hours of operation, and group outings. You can call them at 732-495-1400.
Fantasy Island Amusement Park
A Victorianesque amusement park with oak benches, ornamental lamp posts, and Tiffany glass chandeliers awaits you in Long Beach Island. The only amusement park in LBI, Fantasy Island Amusement Park offers family friendly fun in a safe and clean environment.
Fantasy Island offers a variety of gaming options. There are Boardwalk games, such as the classic Dodge City Shooting Gallery. You also can visit the Casino Arcade, which is open all year round. You’ll find hundreds of games and thousands of prizes.
The amusement park also has 18 rides. At Fantasy Island, parking and admission are free. You just purchase tokens for the rides. There is a vintage carousel, the Sea Dragon, and the Giant Wheel, which at night offers a beautiful view of LBI. The kids can go on mini boats, trucks, or pirate ships. There also is the Dragon Coaster, Tilt-a-Whirl, and Scrambler. During the summer, the rides open at 6:00 p.m.
Fantasy Island Amusement Park is a great place to visit after a day at the beach. They offer free entertainment and special events during the summer months. You also can have an ice cream or Boardwalk food while you are there. Fantasy Island Amusement Park is located at 320 7th Street in Beach Haven. You can visit their website to get more information. Their phone number is 609-492-4000.
Thundering Surf Waterpark
A unique water park experience is waiting for you in Long Beach Island. Thundering Surf Waterpark is the only water park in New Jersey with a lazy crazy interactive river, a giant tipping bucket into the river, river detonators, and water blaster guns. There also are eight water slides, and an interactive children’s play structure called Cowabunga Beach. Toddlers can play into their own area with dancing fountains and four soft slides. You can enjoy free parking and use of the observation deck, and time on the family sundeck. Private cabanas and lockers are available for rental.
You can take the adventure up a notch at Thundering Surf with two additional activities. There is the Flow House with a Flow Rider double. During the day, it is open for boogie board riding. During the early morning and evening hours, you can experience flow boarding. Thundering Surf also features two 18-hole adventure golf courses. At Thundering Surf Adventure Golf, you can putt through caves, waterfalls, and suspended bridges. After all of the water fun, you can have a snack or a meal at one of the park’s eateries.
Thundering Surf Waterpark is located at Bay and Taylor Avenue in Beach Haven. Their phone number is 609-492-0869. For more information, check out their website.
Blackbeard’s Cave Family Entertainment Center
At this Ocean County amusement park, their goal is to keep you young at heart. Blackbeard’s Cave Family Entertainment Center has rides and attractions for all ages. They have a two-room arcade and redemption center with one of the largest selections in the area. The 20-hole miniature golf course is challenging with caves and waterfalls. There also is a driving range. If you enjoy baseball, there are 10 batting cages that cater to different speeds. You can zip around the quarter-mile Formula 1 go-kart track complete with tunnels and bridges. There are cars for all sizes, including kiddie cars for those 42 inches tall.
But the adventure does not stop there! You can have a boxing match, take a spin in the bumper boats, or get soaked in Water Wars, where you catapult water balloons at your loved one. You can play Tank Tag on a mini battlefield. How about some rock climbing, laser tag, or archery? For 2015, Blackbeard’s Cave is unveiling a 70-foot inflatable obstacle course. It will have nine different obstacles to navigate through. For those who are more into rides, visit the Adventure Station. You can take a train ride, enjoy the giant ball crawl, ride the Red Baron plane, or go on a Jeep safari.
Blackbeard’s Cave offers free parking and admission. You purchase tickets, tokens, or value books to enjoy the park. Blackbeard’s Cave Family Entertainment Center is located at 136 Atlantic City Boulevard in Bayville. CB Huntington’s restaurant is nearby at 140 Atlantic City Boulevard for a nice family meal. Check out Blackbeard’s website for information on park hours and birthday parties. The park’s phone number is 732-914-1896.
Eagleswood Amusement Park
For some small town amusement, take a trip to Staffordville for the Eagleswood Amusement Park. At Eagleswood, you will discover a batting cage, driving range, family arcade, 18-hole mini golf course, and go-karts. Their rides include Free Fall, Sky Glider, Tornado, Giant Fun Slide, Baja Buggy, Bungee Trampoline, and the Bounce House. You can purchase a wristband to enjoy the amusements. After some park fun, you can have a meal at Calloway’s Restaurant and Bar. Eagleswood Amusement Park is located at 597 Route 9 in Staffordville. You can visit their website, to learn more about their operational calendar and hosting birthday parties. Their phone number is 609-978-6606.
Summer at the Jersey Shore is not complete without a trip to Jenkinson’s Boardwalk. Lovingly called Jenks by those who frequent Point Pleasant Beach, Jenkinson’s is the place for wholesome family fun. Founded by Charles Jenkinson in the year 1928, Jenkinson’s has evolved from its original Pavilion to much more.
One thing people come to Jenkinson’s for is to eat. There is one Boardwalk concession after another, along with the Pavilion Restaurant and the Boardwalk Bar & Grill. Joey Tomatoes is the place to enjoy a slice, or in the case of my family, a pie. Sweet shops along the Boardwalk offer homemade taffy, candy apples, fudge, popcorn, and chocolates. And after a day at Point Pleasant Beach, you can relax under the palm trees with a cocktail at Martell’s Tiki Bar.
Another great part of Jenkinson’s are the rides. Several of the rides are perfect for the little ones, including the train, carousel, mini trucks, and the boats. There also are thrill rides such as Moby Dick, Himalaya, and the Swing Ride. My family’s favorite is Tornado & Flitzer, a whipping roller coaster. Weekly ride specials are offered Memorial Day through Labor Day. New for 2015 is Jenkinson’s E-Musement Card system. This is essentially an easy-to-use debit card for participating rides, games, attractions, and arcades. The system also offers discounts and rewards.
But Wait, There’s More
So what else is there at Jenkinson’s? Well, you can go to the beach, for starters. You can visit one of their four arcades. Stop by the Fun House, a once-common part of many Jersey Shore boardwalks. All along the Boardwalk are games of chance. There are batting cages. Your family can enjoy a round of mini golf at one of three courses along the Jenkinson’s Boardwalk. Last but not least, there is Jenkinson’s Aquarium. It features sharks, penguins, seals, and a touch tank.
Plan a daytrip to Jenkinson’s Boardwalk. The seaside destination is located at 300 Ocean Avenue in Point Pleasant Beach. Their phone number is 732-892-0600. You can visit their website for more information.
Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach Waterpark
Linus Gilbert first opened Casino Pier in the year 1932. Since then, thousands of visitors have flocked to the resort town of Seaside Heights. Through Jersey Shore, Hurricane Sandy, even a devastating fire, Casino Pier has remained a popular Shore destination for families, thrill seekers, and Boardwalk admirers.
There are exciting things in store for Seaside Heights. Casino Pier is creating a new 36-hole multi-level mountain miniature golf course. It will have a fun layout, waterfalls, and challenging holes. The Seaside Speedway Go-Kart Track is being expanded with a new pit location and larger track. Casino Pier also is working on expanding the northern end of the existing pier with a new roller coaster and Ferris wheel. The two rides will be open in 2016. The Shore Shot, a double shot drop tower at the area of the north entrance to Casino Pier, will be open in the spring of 2015.
Casino Pier offers a fun selection of rides for everyone in the family. There are classic children’s rides like the motorcycles, boats, and whip cars. For the daring, there is the 170-foot tall Skyscraper. Casino Pier offers pay-as-you-go tickets, as well as pay-one-price specials. In between rides, check out the Casino Arcade. It has the latest video and redemption games of chance, slot machines, and Skee ball. While you are there, take a ride on the antique carousel.
Don’t Miss The Water Park
If you want to experience water fun, visit the Breakwater Beach Waterpark. Soon to be added are a new wave pool and two new water slides. The park features a Toddler Area, Family Play Section, the Nantucket Bucket, and two Hot Springs. Take a ride on the Lazy Crazy River, or plummet to the finish line on the Zero Gravity Racer. There are lounge chairs for relaxing, along with lockers, changing areas, bathrooms, and a food concession.
Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach Waterpark are a short drive to 800 Ocean Terrace in Seaside Heights. Visit them online. For more information, you can call 732-793-6488. While you are in Seaside Heights, be sure to sample some of the Boardwalk fare.
Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari and Hurricane Harbor
Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari and Hurricane Harbor, New Jersey’s largest theme park, covers 510 acres in Jackson. The amusement park celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014. Six Flags Jackson offers rides, attractions, a safari, a water park, concerts, and much more.
Six Flags Great Adventure has tons of rides for all ages. There are over a dozen thrill rides. The park boasts three of the world’s top ten coasters. Kingda Ka is the world’s tallest and North America’s fastest roller coaster. Two is the wooden coaster, El Toro, and three is Nitro, ranked one of the top steel coasters in the world. New for 2015 is Six Flag’s thirteenth roller coaster, El Diablo, a pendulum style thrill ride with gut-wrenching loops. Starting the July 4th weekend, the park will be running BATMAN: The Ride backwards. Families will like the Giant Wheel, the classic carousel, Congo Rapids, the Skyway, and the Sawmill Log Flume.
The kiddies have their own rides too, many named after famous Looney Tunes characters. Also part of the theme park experience as of 2013 is Safari Off Road Adventure. Boasting 1,200 animals from six continents, including elephants, rhinos, tigers, giraffes, and lions, Safari Off Road Adventure takes explorers on an exhilarating, interactive animal adventure. Skilled drivers and informative safari guides transport guests off-road and within close proximity to the animals as they splash through ponds, climb hills, and venture over rugged terrain.
Along with rides and the safari, Six Flags Great Adventure has its own water park, Hurricane Harbor. Guests can relax in this tropical island paradise. It offers a million-gallon wave pool, one of the world’s longest lazy rivers, nearly 20 water slides, and a massive water playground for wet and wild fun. This year, Hurricane Harbor introduces its first outdoor grill and luxury cabanas.
Last but not least, Six Flags Great Adventure offers a full event schedule. There are concerts, festivals, and sporting events. In the fall, there is the notoriously scary Fright Fest Halloween festival with two new terrorizing thrills, Big Top Terror, a 3-D black light experience, and a terrifying surprise scare zone. Also new this year is a Christmas celebration called Holiday in the Park. The magical event features millions of lights, holiday entertainment, and seasonal goodies. Park guests can purchase seasonal dining passes—another new perk this year.
Plan ahead for a full day at Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari and Hurricane Harbor. The amusement park is located at 1 Six Flags Boulevard in Jackson. For more information, you can call 732-928-2000 or visit their website.
All photos were provided courtesy of the respective amusement parks. The top hero image or feature image is from Morey’s Pier and features their Ghost Ship.