Rows of LCD televisions cast a glow across Power Play Gaming’s cavernous gaming room, reflecting the competitive glint in players’ eyes as they attempt to slay their enemies with intricate button combos. The battles and races that play out on each screen represent the pinnacle of modern video gaming, with selections from the latest Xbox 360, Wii, and PlayStation consoles on prominent display. Players can test their luck in solo adventures by the hour or declare their participation in one of the regular tournaments by slapping their desired opponents with a controller. The gaming center also specializes in parties, during which groups of up to 20 friends can join together for multiplayer jaunts through cyberspace.
While waiting for the end of a party or regular gaming session, parents can sip complimentary coffee, recline in massaging chairs, and surf the Internet on waves of free WiFi. The gaming hot spot is open Wednesday–Sunday for casual gamers, though parties can be scheduled outside of regular business hours.
Nationwide Bowling orchestrates a cacophonous symphony of clanking pins and cheering bowlers at 11 modern bowling centers located throughout New Jersey. Center size varies from the Hudson-Bayonne location where 60 lanes with automatic scoring, a grill, sports bar, and arcade games accommodate armadas of bowlers to Garden Palace, which houses 16 lanes, a bar, and a snack shop. At all locations, staffers host birthday parties and corporate events and organize leagues for competitive bowlers or people who just like to chuck heavy objects as hard as they can.
Beyond its roaring arcade and indoor amusement park, The Funplex decrees that 8,000 of its 100,000-square-foot kingdom be annexed to the Realm where fantasy game MagiQuest disperses Magis on heroic adventurers through an interactive and spellbinding semivirtual lair. Carefully choose your Magi alias and grab your secret-yielding loaner wand (a $2 value) before embarking on a fantastical adventure filled with distinguished wizards, enchanting pixies, and cunning dragons. Seasoned with mystical spells and motion sensors, wands respond to trees, mountains, and flat screens sprinkled throughout the Realm, sharing clues so Magi can complete honorable tasks or surprise wicked goblins with an unexpected hug. With unlimited play (a $14.95 value), Magis can entreat the hours to swallow them into the transformative wormhole of role-playing bliss.
The constant tug-of-war between education and fun finds middle ground inside this Central Jersey children’s museum, as entertaining exhibits and engaging staff members embed knowledge in each young visitor. Young guests can play veterinarian at the Pet Vet Center, read the news and see themselves on television at the TV News Room, or shed light on the complexities of the human body inside a replica doctor’s office outfitted with realistic equipment.
A motorcycle, retired fire engine, and a grounded airplane shows visitors the wonders of mechanized travel in the Varoom!!! Vehicle Showroom, which leads to an enchanted castle outfitted with a wooden drawbridge, a faux moat, and a new level 3 train exhibit. Party rooms manned by helpful staffers merge learning and celebration, and the onsite gift shop coaxes homebound brain building with a selection of scientific toys.
As kids caper about in a world of rides, games, and playground equipment at Giggles Play Station, their parents can rest assured knowing that the amusement emporium was built from the ground up to safely accommodate them in areas divided by age group. Among the indoor playground's attractions, toddlers enjoy exclusive access to their own padded play area, complete with a playhouse and kid-size construction vehicles. In the play station that's governed by specially trained safety staff, kids aged 1?8 clamber up padded ramps, careen down six slides, and plunge into the ball pit, which is sanitized regularly to keep bacteria and the purple cooties at bay. The arcade houses numerous ticket-earning diversions, including skee ball and basketball shooting, and siblings can settle rivalries while competing in games of air-hockey or on the twisty lanes of slot-car racing.
Giggle Play Station caters to adults as well, welcoming them to put their feet up when not cheering for their kids as they conquer slides or tour the facilities on the train ride. In addition to a menu of snacks, the caf? offers a vantage point for parents to keep an eye on their brood while building sculptures out of their mozzarella sticks.
Miles of trails snake through the verdant woods surrounding Seaton Hackney County Stables, beckoning riders and their stallions to showcase skills learned from the full-service facility’s multitude of equine activities. A staff of seasoned equestrians imparts English- and Western-style horsemanship techniques during frequent camps and lessons, introducing pupils of all ages to Seaton's stable of more than 35 resident horses. Mounted atop the valiant steeds, the staff also shepherds guests on guided trail rides through nearby environs or leads offsite excursions that explore area parks and horse-only dance halls.
Step into the Museum of Early Trades & Crafts, and it's as if the Industrial Revolution never happened. The museum focuses on the life of farmers, builders, and other tradesman of the United State's pre-industrial age. The main floor thrusts visitors into the world of New Jersey farming families from the early 1800s to provide in-depth information about these peoples' lives as well as showcase woodworkers' planks and various hand tools. The lower level, meanwhile, celebrates the working lives of four tradesman from 1850, including a shoemaker and a distiller. While these permanent displays stand as time capsules of a bygone area, a special exhibit space rotates its features regularly. Only a small portion of the museum's artifacts is on display at a time, but visitors can make an appointment to see items from the full collection, which totals more than 8800 artifacts from 21 different trades.
Even without the artifacts, the museum stands as a piece of history, as it's housed within The James Library Building. The building was finished in 1900 and contains stained glass windows, carved stone and wood detailing, and vaulted ceilings that make it the perfect setting to imagine life before Henry Ford invented his flying car.