Shake Up the Shore
Try some new adventures at your favorite place to be
By Mary Lou Sheffield

The Shore is all about tradition. Every summer, you pop in at that cozy place for breakfast, pick the same spot on the beach, ride the best amusement rides and hurry to get your favorite Boardwalk treat. It’s what makes summers in South Jersey so great. But we have a crazy summer suggestion: add something new.

Pull down those shades for just a minute and you might find a new tradition is waiting for you just beyond the sandy beach. Check out some new shore fun you might want to try:


Outside, but off the beach

The 8-mile wildlife drive at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Galloway has just re-opened after undergoing extensive repairs from Superstorm Sandy. The drive takes you through saltwater marsh, freshwater habitat and upland forest. Bring binoculars because the area is known as a birding hotspot. But if you don’t have any, no worries. You’ll find observation towers with telescopes at Gull Pond and Turtle Cove.

Check out the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum. Located at the Cape May Airport, the station served as an active dive-bomber squadron training facility in WWII. One admission fee – $10 for adults, $8 for kids 3-12, and free for children under 12 – gets visitors into the regular museum and special exhibits. Sit in the cockpit of a real plane, check out the flight simulator firsthand, and visit the Coast Guard exhibit area. Parking is free.

Fall in love with the adorable alpacas at Jersey Shore Alpacas in Cape May. Even their names are cuddly – Chanel #5, Annabel Lee and Oliver Twist! The 17 alpacas earn their keep with their fleece, which is sheered, made into clothing and sold on the premises. Visitors are welcome on Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm year-round and Thursdays and Fridays during July. There is no admission charge, but there is a donation box if you want to contribute. Kids can pet the animals and feed them carrots (provided by the farm). Stay away in rainy weather – the animals generally stay inside.


Mark the date

Start your summer at the Doo Dah Parade in Ocean City. On April 8, more than 300 basset hounds will march with bands and floats for this one-of-a-kind event. The parade starts at 6th Street at noon and travels down Asbury Avenue to 12th Street, where it turns onto the Boardwalk and ends at the Music Pier. Television icon Regis Philbin will serve as grand marshal. Stick around for the “pieasco”at the end of the parade, when everybody is invited to smoosh their friends with shaving-cream pies.

An international event takes place in Cape May and you probably had no idea – New Jersey Audubon’s annual World Series of Birding will be held on Saturday, May 6 from midnight to midnight. Thousands of birders will spend the day tallying species of birds by sight or sound in hopes of recording the most sightings. The world series is a fundraiser for environmental causes, and teams compete in dollars raised, as well as their bird tallies.

Cool off at the Lighthouse International Film Festival on Long Beach Island from June 8 to 11. In addition to movie screenings, choose from parties, panel discussions and even a breakfast with filmmakers during the four-day festival. Now in its ninth year, the LBI film festival showcases films, shorts, documentaries and family films.

What’s better than a trolley ride, dinner, lighthouse and fireworks all in one night? On July 3 and 4, head to Cape May where you can ride the trolley from Washington Street Mall to local eatery The Red Store for a five-course dinner. After dessert, hop back aboard the trolley and ride to Cape May Lighthouse, where you’ll climb 199 steps (and burn off your dinner!) to catch the town’s annual Independence Day fireworks from the amazing vantage point.


Learn something new

The Ocean City Sailing Foundation offers sailing lessons for anyone ages 8 to 80, and your skill level doesn’t matter. (If you’re experienced, they have lessons for racers who want to enter sailing competitions.) You can choose from a two-hour introduction to sailing class, private lessons or week-long (four- or five- day) morning or afternoon sessions. Most classes have a student/instructor ratio of four to one.

The Avalon Recreation Department will host a number of cool camps for kids this summer, like Marine Science, Lego Engineering and Kitchen Wizard Cooking. There’s even a Lady Fishing camp for kids over age 6, where everyone will learn the basics of fishing. Locations vary for the camps, and most run half days for a week or two.


April 2017
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