Travel Tuesday: Discounted room rates, miles of white sand beach, free 3D sound and light show every night on the boardwalk, free concerts and movies on the beach, the view from the top of the Absecon Lighthouse, gourmet cooking classes with professional chefs and more.
Atlantic City is moving away from being a gambling destination to being a family-friendly getaway just three hours from Times Square. If you haven’t visited lately, you should.
Here’s some of what NYCOTC editor Evelyn Kanter enjoyed on two recent visits:
Absecon Lighthouse is the tallest in New Jersey and dates from 1854, with a museum at the base about local maritime history, including its important role during Prohibition. It’s a tough climb to the top, but the view up and down the Atlantic coastline is spectacular, and you’ll get an award badge that says you made it up the 164 stairs. Click here for more information, including a $1 off coupon and a 360 degree webcam view from the top. Kids climb free on Thursday, August 7, which is National Lighthouse Day.
3D Boardwalk Sound and Light Show is a technical marvel that uses Boardwalk Hall as a “canvas” for an animated story. Trains ride across the facade and a carousel turns. Dancers dance across the facade. The facade seems to disintegrate and get rebuilt as something else. It even rains on the facade. It’s eight minutes of jaw-dropping joy, every night, set to music. Shows are every 30 minutes starting at 8:3 PM. There are several shows, which rotate nightly. Here’s a preview:
If you are a gourmet cook, or want to be, take a cooking class at the Viking Cooking School at Harrah’s. You’ll be dicing and sauteeing with a professional chef in a professional kitchen with Viking ranges and top-of-the-line cutlery and cookware, and then get to eat what you made in an elegant private dining room.
If you want to get away from the gourmet restaurants in the resort hotels, head downtown to family-run restaurants like Little Saigon, generally regarded as serving up the best pho on the Jersey shore, or Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House, popular for its sliders and extensive craft beer list.
There’s plenty of arts and culture here, too, including the only African American Heritage Museum in New Jersey.
Free concerts in August include the Charlie Daniels Band and the Atlantic City All-Star Band
Free family movies on the beach in August include Disney’s Frozen and Ratatouille. And the kids will love the rides on the Steel Pier.
Kids also will enjoy the Atlantic City Aquarium, with plenty of “touch” tanks to get the feel of starfish, turtles and even small sharks.
The Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC) responds to calls for stranded whales, dolphins, seals and sea turtles that wash ashore on New Jersey beaches. The are life-size replicas of many sea creatures, and information about the importance of protecting them.
There’s all of this in Atlantic City and more, and we haven’t even mentioned spas, sightseeing cruises, designer shops, deep sea fishing, or the annual Miss America extravaganza. Or gambling.