Arms folded across her chest, the young girl rides a spouting cascade of water through the pitch-black tube, squealing with each twist and turn afforded by the snaking confines. Just as it seems as though the darkness will never lift, sunlight pours onto her face as she is spit out into a crystal-blue pool below. This high-adrenaline ride is the reward for being brave enough to tackle the Midnight Run, one of Splash Zone’s numerous waterslides. Other rides include their newest attraction, the FlowRider, which combines surfing, snowboarding, and skateboarding with a continuous wave formed by a thin sheet of water for a new sport available for all ages.
Nestled in the heart of Wildwood, the aquatic adventureland evokes whoops and squeals from visitors of all ages with more than 16 splash-laden activities. The gentle ebb of Rivy’s River carries inner-tubing guests along at a relaxed pace, and the interactive water playground in Giggle Bay ensures that the young adventurers remain hydrated thanks to a constantly tipping bucket filled with 1,000 gallons of water. As aquanauts explore the waters, Splash Zone’s crew of certified lifeguards and sunglass-clad Saint Bernards remain on hand to ensure safety, and an onsite first-aid station offers remedies for a variety of ailments. Along with watery pastimes, Splash Zone offers sunbathing areas to facilitate leisurely tanning, and the Zone Grill where chefs forge fire-licked eats for hungry guests.
While waiting for a group of tour participants aboard his kayak on Cape Island Creek, Bob Lubberman made a new acquaintance when a 4-foot great blue heron landed on the nose of his boat. It's not an entirely new experience for the owner of Miss Chris Kayak Rentals and Tours, as opportunities to commune with nature came often as he crabbed and fished as a child from his grandmother's dock. Now he's able to connect visitors to this ecosystem as they independently paddle rented sit-on-top kayaks or as they participate in guided kayak or boat tours.
Paddlers on kayak tours often catch close-ups of ospreys, terns, and other birds, and see diamondback terrapin turtles sunning themselves on the shore or trying to hold their own ice-cream cones. Day and sunset tours let guests explore the wildlife-rich salt marshes, and night tours led during high tide let them paddle over grassy terrain to otherwise inaccessible areas. Guests explore similar territory on tours aboard the Osprey as they watch migrating shore birds or look out on the harbor's historic buildings. Kayak tour guides include an associate naturalist and a Cape May Bird Observatory field associate, and land-based staffers maintain a touch tank on the Miss Chris mooring dock, which they temporarily fill with conches, eels, and other sea life pulled up using open-sided conservation traps.
The United States Marine Corps' AV-8B Harrier defies all logic. Is it a jet? Is it a helicopter? In truth, it's a bit of both. The aircraft and all 22,000 of its pounds can take off vertically and hover in one place?but once it moves, the harrier blasts forward at near-supersonic speeds, making it almost fast enough to outrun the chorus of "Danger Zone."
That impressive display of aeronautical engineering is just one of the attractions at the OC Air Show, including the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, which soar through the sky in complex formations while the U.S. Navy Seals Leap Frogs leave the aircraft entirely and parachute down through the sky. Pilot Greg Connell turns flight into dance within the cockpit of his Pitts Model 12?an aerobatic biplane perfect for executing loops.
While there's no charge for looking towards the clouds, the OC Air Show does offer some premium viewing areas. The Drop Zone adds food and drink, professional narration of the show, and sight-lines right into the center of the action. Sixty-four lucky people also get to watch from a raised VIP Skybox, while even more can go right out onto the water to see fish peek out from the surface, longing for the day they'll learn to fly.
Taking over Morey's Piers & Beachfront Waterparks for the weekends of October, Morey’s Fears Terror on the Boardwalk shoots chills down unsuspecting spines with five frightful attractions. Terror Trench dares scare-seekers to venture beneath the park into a noxious pit inhabited by the mutant mole progeny of waterpark construction workers lost decades ago. Those brave enough to tiptoe through The Other Side might lock eyes with the ghosts of souls lost at sea as they roam under the Wildwood boardwalk, and the CornStalkers maze threatens guests with supernatural dangers from the countryside, such as killer scarecrows and murderous corn subsidies. Modeled out of a multilevel miniature-golf course, Ghost Ship 2.0 ensconces landlubbers on a decaying vessel haunted by mad sailors and spooky ghouls, and CarnEvil infects the park's regular attractions with a macabre atmosphere, replacing the regular barkers with sinister clowns.
The ships that comprise The Starlight Fleet's squadron of vessels each transport passengers across the waves on a variety of sea adventures. The Starlight ferries fisherman on four-hour excursions to hook sea bass, flounder, croakers and triggerfish, the captain using sonar, GPS, and a knowledge of the currents to identify prime fishing real estate. The Atlantic Star typically serves as a whale-watching vessel and is kitted out with a snack-filled galley and a touch tank filled with horseshoe crabs and other local sea life.
The company even boasts its very own pirate ship, The Dark Star, a custom-designed vessel built by Naval Architect Michael LeMole. It takes passengers on swashbuckling adventures during which they learn what a swash is and how to buckle it, as well as participate in treasure hunts and face painting.
Nestled within the South Jersey Marina, the boats and charters of Cape May Lady traverse local waters under the steady hands of an experienced crew. From April to December, seafaring personnel whisk clientele away on four- to eight-hour daytime and, depending on the season and mood of the moon, nighttime voyages. During excursions, guests may see aquatic critters such as striped bass, weakfish, and drum fish. Each trek supplies guests with necessary gear, such as fishing licenses, rods, reels, bait, and tackle. In addition to fish-hunting excursions, Cape May Lady’s charters can accommodate burials at sea or private dolphin-watching trips.