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Day Tripper - Atlantic City
07/03/2012 - By Paul Williams
Atlantic City: The Grandfather of all Boardwalks
For more than 140 years, Atlantic City has been providing state-of-the-art entertainment options to local residents and tourists alike. With an assortment of chic shopping venues, high-class resorts, and esteemed art and historical districts to complement its world-renowned casinos, Atlantic City offers delightful attractions for all ages and interests of your family. Its four-mile long boardwalk, packed with a plethora of amusements, spans the length of the city and bisects the free beaches along the Atlantic from the breathtaking architecture of the city proper. Just one stroll along this world-famous stretch is enough to see why Atlantic City is one of the premier designations along the eastern seaboard and pleases more than 30 million visitors each year.
Ever since its inception, Atlantic City has always evolved and striven to bring new activities and revolutionary buildings to New Jersey. This year is no exception, as the city unveiled its latest crown jewel in May: Revel, a 6.2- million-square-foot beachfront entertainment resort along the boardwalk. While this new masterpiece will undoubtedly dominate the conversation about Atlantic City for the foreseeable future—and deservedly so—don’t lose sight of the various other sights to see and places to visit in this great city. If you’re itching to try your luck in a world-class casino, dine out at a five-star restaurant, or catch a play with the family in an elegant theater (or all of the above and much more!), in less than two hours from Monmouth County you can be smack in the epicenter of New Jersey’s most iconic shore destination.
Atlantic City Attractions
Be sure to visit a number of the highlighted destinations along what National Geographic calls, “The Grandfather of all Boardwalks,” but feel free to break off to explore as often and as much as you would like. Atlantic City showcases an incredible amount of year-round celebrity appearances, concerts, comedy shows, special events, and more, making it the perfect destination for a day trip, weekend getaway, or extended vacation this summer.
The tallest building in the city, and second-tallest in the state, is also the most complete one in Atlantic City’s casino district. Revel boasts a 130,000-square-foot gaming floor complete with more than 100 tables, innovative, comfortable interior design, and sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. Two entertainment venues, Ovation Hall and The Social, along with three clubs, provide enough entertainment to fill your daily or nightly excursions, while 11 restaurants deliver relaxing ambiance and top-quality cuisine. Revel’s more than 1,800 rooms feature everything from standard lodging with ocean views to romantic private cabanas and spas, promising to supply the perfect accommodation for you, no matter the occasion. For more information visit www.revelresorts.com.
Atlantic City Aquarium
View more than 18 aquarium tanks, including a 25,000-gallon one, featuring a variety of aquatic life indigenous to the mid-Atlantic region. Explore an assortment of exhibits and hands-on interactive activities. Admission: $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $4 for children ages 4-12. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit www.acaquarium.com.
Central Pier Arcade & Speedway
A must-see in the summertime with a versatile array of options for family entertainment, including a large racetrack with NASCARstyle go karts, and paintball. Play games of chance and be rewarded from New Jersey’s largest redemption center filled with thousands of prizes, such as plush animals, designer purses, iPads, iPhones, laptop computers, large screen TVs, household items, and more.
With free parking and admission to the Atlantic City Art Center and Atlantic City Historical Museum, the Garden Pier provides visitors an unparalleled opportunity to view the work of noted national and regional artists, and to take in the culturally diverse history of Atlantic City. View vintage photographs, local artifacts, costumes, posters and postcards, and more on this historic pier that opened in 1913.
Historic Gardner’s Basin
From distinctive hand-crafted gifts from the Crafters Village and unique boutiques, to dolphin-watching and sightseeing cruises, Historic Gardner’s Basin is the perfect destination to spend a delightful hour, afternoon or day by the bay. This maritime park provides a slower-paced alternative to the Atlantic City boardwalk scene. Sightseeing and fishing cruises come and go from the docks, while the restaurants serve up succulent seafood.
New Jersey’s tallest and the country’s third-tallest lighthouse was completely restored in 1999, with the entire two- acre site completely restored in 2003. Funded by grants from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and NJ Department of Transportation’s Transportation Enhancement Program, the site workers restored many characteristic features of the historic grounds. Visitors can stroll the property and the Keeper’s Cottage museum and gift shop. Be sure to climb the 228 steps to the top of the lighthouse to observe a magnificent panoramic view of the Jersey shore. Open daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. in July and August.
Civil Rights Garden
This tranquil garden is comprised of 11 granite columns, winding pathways, foliage, and sculptures with inscriptions related to the history, events and people of the Civil Rights movement. It serves as a small yet powerful reminder of the evolution of our nation.
This amusement pier is possibly Atlantic City’s most famous centerpiece of family entertainment on the boardwalk. Originally opened in 1898, the Steel Pier quickly became known for showcasing the world’s top entertainers and novelty acts. Today children and adults of all ages will enjoy the various amusements like go-karts, bumper cars, wet boats, and games of chance. Don’t forget to inquire about booking a helicopter ride - the only such opportunity on the Jersey shore!
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum
More than 400 eye-opening exhibits are sure to amaze and entertain you. An eclectic ‘odditorium’ features an assortment of miscellaneous oddball treasures such as a lock of George Washington’s hair, a 27-room miniature wood carved castle and a host of the most amazing artifacts ever assembled under one roof! Open year round.
(888) AC-VISIT (228-4748)
On June 26, 1870, the first boardwalk in the United States opened in Atlantic City.
According to local legend, the term ‘salt water taffy’ originated when a candy shop on the Atlantic City boardwalk flooded with seawater during an 1883 storm.
Many of the first picture postcards of the United States showcased color views of Atlantic City, but were actually printed in Germany during the 1890s.
Monopoly creator Charles Darrow modeled the game’s design after Atlantic City’s street names, except for Marvin Gardens. Actually spelled ‘Marven’ Gardens, it is located in Margate City, roughly two miles south of Atlantic City.
The term ‘airport’ was first coined in Atlantic City in 1919, in reference to the city’s Edward L. Bader airfield.
The Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort contains more than four-and-a-half times the amount of steel than France’s Eiffel Tower.
The first Miss America pageant took place in Atlantic City in 1921, and the city hosted the annual event until 2005 when it re-located to Las Vegas.
Take Garden State Parkway South to exit 38 onto Atlantic City Expressway East. Continue for approximately eight miles onto Christopher Columbus Boulevard. Turn left onto Atlantic Avenue. Follow signs for desired casino, resort, or destination spot.
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