School is out, the sky is clear, and azure Atlantic Ocean is glimmering beneath the bright sun. Days like this were made for visits to Casino Pier—for meandering down the beach with a frosty ice-cream cone, for taking a leisurely ride on the old-fashioned carousel, and for soaring down a water slide into a pristine pool.
The iconic pier has been entertaining generations of families since its opening in 1932 and is divided into three distinct sections. The amusement park is a treasure trove of new and classic rides alike, including thrilling rides, a scenic sky ride, and an action-packed go-kart arena. A rooftop miniature golf course elevates golfers above the park, where they'll find dazzling views of the surrounding boardwalk and ocean. Beyond the amusement park lies Breakwater Beach, a water park with an array of towering slides and interactive play areas. And within a sprawling, air-conditioned edifice, you'll find the casino arcade, which dispenses handfuls of tokens and prize-redemption tickets from its classic slot and skee-ball machines. This area of the boardwalk also houses a century-old carousel, complete with hand-carved horses that come to life for children who have completed all their chores.
The sun beats down on the white sands of Seaside Heights Beach, but nobody's complaining with the cool waters of the North Atlantic so close at hand. Every summer, Seaside Heights becomes one of New Jersey's must-visit attractions, and it's easy to see why. Kids can grab inflatable rafts and charge into the surf while parents relax in their beach chairs. Lifeguards keep watch on the swimmers at all times. Seaside Heights Boardwalk is only a short walk away, offering food, arcade games, and amusement rides.
Just off the scenic Seaside Heights Boardwalk, Shake Shoppe Arcade combines the family fun of an old-school boardwalk arcade with the creamy desserts of an ice-cream shop. Guests sip refreshing shakes made with Hershey's ice cream, or win prizes and pass the time at the arsenal of arcade cabinets, simulators, and games.
Insectropolis transports humans to a bug-themed city populated with thousands of creepers and crawlers. Insect enthusiasts enjoy unlimited admission to more than a dozen educational exhibits, which include a crash course in bug basics and interactive games that help museum-goers to develop a newfound appreciation for purported pests. Observe arachnid sewing circles or watch ants forage for food and build tunnels that spell out the answers to tomorrow's crossword puzzle. Bug-touching presentations (12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Monday–Friday, and throughout the day on Saturdays) are one of the bugseum’s most popular activities and encourage guests to overcome unfounded fears by touching a live millipede, stroking a scorpion, or caressing a cockroach while expanding insectile awareness. Periodically, Insectropolis also holds a variety of fundraisers and themed events, such as bug hunts and cockroach races (some events may require guests to pay an additional fee to gain entry).
Bowling is the great social equalizer—a common ground where grizzled undercover clowns, blue-collar English lords, LARPer librarians, big and tall lingerie models, hordes of hive-minded hipsters, and the other two social demographics that comprise America can unite in common cause and topple a gaggle of stuck-up, inanimate wooden pins. Brunswick has been a household name in this egalitarian pastime almost since the beginning, with a company history that dates back to the 19th century, providing classic American good times to all manner of patrons across the country. And with today's Groupon tying the room together, you'll get to play two games (up to a $10.58 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $4.25 value).
At OMG DEFCON1, guests leave behind the impersonal, anonymous world of Internet servers to play games with friends face-to-face over LAN and WiFi. Guests sip smoothies and soft drinks in the dining room and then head into the game room to battle at the Xbox 360 station, replete with a 32-inch screen, headsets, and 3-D glasses, or challenge each other to Steam games with a room full of high-octane Alienware PCs.