Down Time
6 ways to keep the kids busy over winter break
By Mary Lou Sheffield

Grounds For Sculpture pictured above


School may be out for a bit, but that does not mean we’re scrolling the day away on TikTok. Check out these fun – and sometimes educational – activities to keep everyone busy during break. 


Touch a stingray (or a shark!)
Adventure Aquarium
The petting zoo is getting a bit salty at Adventure Aquarium’s Touch-A-Shark tank and Stingray Beach Club. At these exhibits, you can touch a variety of sharks, like bamboo sharks and epaulet sharks, or touch and feed some stingrays. 

And before you go, visit the aquarium’s website to download an activity sheet to use during your visit. Sheets are broken down by age group and include things like ribbeting frog facts and challenges to find certain sea life during your trip.


Grab your skates
Winterfest at Cooper River 

Get some fresh air and get moving along the Cooper River during Camden County’s Winterfest, running through February. The ice skating rink sits at the corner of Cuthbert Blvd. and North Park Dr. in Cherry Hill. You can rent skates there and enjoy food and festive decorations. 

Skating hours vary, so check the website for a listing. On weekends, the rink is open noon – 10 pm on Saturdays and noon – 9 pm on Sundays.  


See art after hours 
Grounds For Sculpture
Push back everyone’s bedtime, because you won’t want to miss Grounds For Sculpture’s multi-sensory, after-hours exhibit, Night Forms, as it returns for the 3rd straight year. 

Tour the grounds of the art park at night to see a unique blend of art with lighting, sound, video production and horticulture. Explore a number of installations returning from last year’s exhibit, including the interactive dreamloop, located in the Amphitheater. 

The exhibit is open Friday through Sunday from sunset to 10 pm. Tickets for the exhibit must be purchased for timed entry, and discounts are available for Grounds For Sculpture members. 


Explore Mars
Ric and Jean Edelman Planetarium
Spaceship not required. Rowan University’s Ric and Jean Edelman Planetarium is hosting a temporary exhibit featuring a desktop-sized model of NASA’s Perseverance rover. Currently, NASA’s real Perseverence is exploring Mars hundreds of millions of miles away, drilling into the planet’s surface to collect rock and soil samples for scientists here on Earth. During the planetarium’s special exhibit, you can see the 6-wheeled look alike, take a selfie on Mars and get a feel for the size of Perseverance with a full-scale model of one of its wheels.

You can see the exhibit during any planetarium show for an additional $5. (There’s a family show every Sunday at 2 pm.) 


Visit Walt Whitman

The famed poet Walt Whitman has special ties to South Jersey, having lived in Camden for 8 years in a home he purchased for $1750. You can visit that home on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., and see where the poet wrote his last volume of poetry before his death. (Visitors must call in advance to schedule a free, guided tour.) After your visit, take a short ride to Harleigh Cemetery to see Whitman’s tomb, a most suitable site for the often-troubled artist. (To find the tomb, enter the cemetery’s main gate, then turn left past the caretaker’s building and drive down the paved road. The tomb will be on your right.)


Sculpt some glass
A day trip to WheatonArts – the 45-acre campus that houses the Museum of American Glass, a hot glass studio, craft studios, a museum store, nature trails and more – is a one-of-a kind adventure. Tour the property to see exquisite hand-crafted works of art, and then head to the glass studio to watch artists transform hot, molten glass into stunning works of art.

WheatonArts also offers make-your-own experiences, where anyone over age 16+ can work with an artist to shape hot molten glass, cut & arrange cold glass or sculpt wet clay into beautiful objects. These experiences have a fee and require a reservation.     


December 2023
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