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.
Normally to be a superhero or a pirate, one has to get cast in a movie. Pump It Up changes all of that. The Freehold location's interactive adventure parties invite young revelers to train as a superhero to the tune of an epic soundtrack or assume the role of pirate and go on treasure hunts. Beyond these inventive themed events, Pump It Up welcomes guests to explore its indoor inflatable arenas, where a plethora of kid-friendly bounce pads launch socked striplings into the air. Staffers supervise fun-filled visits, during which adult counterparts leap around with their kids through gargantuan bounce houses, skip down air-filled slides, and slither like snakes through an inflated obstacle course. Occasionally, the staffers switch off the lights, arming the roomful of players with glow sticks and bracelets as they navigate the air-cushioned obstacle-scape.
The colorful venue also hosts custom birthday parties. These soirees immerse children in a schedule of interactive activities while melting off youthful energy faster than ice cubes thrown into a frying pan. The birthday boy or girl even gets to blow out the candles on their cake seated in their blow-up throne. Guardians can rest assured that their children will stay safe, thanks to staffers' vigilant, watchful eyes and the fact that each piece of the inflatable playground is held to the wall by a complex series of anchors installed according to strict safety standards.
Racing go-karts and glowing laser battles simultaneously challenge and entertain visitors inside iPlay America's 115,000-square-foot amusement facility. Like its outdoor cousins, the indoor fun park houses more than 200 motorized attractions and carnival-style games for the whole family. Interactive amusements, such as the iPA Speedway, place patrons in the driver's seat of a real vehicle, and simulated sessions, including the Kite Flyer, tantalize visual senses with video images and sound effects. Scents of fresh pizza, lobster mac 'n' cheese, and hotdogs waft from five nourishment purveyors.
At Sesame Place, kids and adults alike meet and interact with their favorite furry friends—from classic friends such as Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, and Elmo to newer additions such as Abby Cadabby and Murray. Pose for pictures in a life-size re-creation of the TV show’s classic set, soar above the park in the twirling Cloud Chaser ride, or travel to the outer reaches of the solar system during a children’s-size roller coaster ride on Vapor Trail. After experiencing their fill of rides and shows, kids can watch the Neighborhood Street Party Parade, an energetic neighborhood block party that takes place on the iconic Sesame Street and features all of their favorite friends.
They say that a family that plays together stays together, especially when they've got each other in the cross-hairs of a laser. At the family entertainment complex of Ultrazone, everybody's inner kid comes out to play in an electric playground teeming with teams of ultraviolet warriors. The sprawling laser tag arena is one of the biggest on the East Coast, sporting multiple levels of battle grounds where visceral action scenarios play out amongst a myriad of obstacles. Rounds are played in multiple gaming formats and are divided by age levels so younger players aren't trounced by birthday parties for Bigfoot. Gun shy attendees can get their kicks popping quarters at Ultrazone's video game arcade.
The masterminds behind Keansburg Amusement Park, located just off the beach, oversee a park designed to turn a day out with the family during warm weather months into a mini vacation. By dotting the park with roller coasters, go-karts, arcades, and classic boardwalk fare, the owners seem to have realized their vision while also addressing the interests of different-aged groups. Families can glide around the park's classic carousel, and kids ride the colorful Jolly Caterpillar before he presumably morphs into a butterfly at closing time. Some of the park's newer attractions include a fleet of bumper cars and the Rocking Tug ride. With its more than 35 rides, the park has garnered accolades such as Best of New Jersey from the readers of NJ Monthly Magazine, as well as a 2011 Best of Monmouth County from the readers of Asbury Park Press.