Queen Mary, a boat with cream-colored walls and wood accents, embarks on fishing cruises from the dock at Spike's Fish Market & Restaurant in Point Pleasant Beach. Adults and children of all levels experience levels cast lines for blues, fluke, sea bass, and sand shark with the help of a US Coast Guard–certified crew. For an additional fee, crew members will clean and filet fish. And on some nights, fireworks shows light up the sky and cast colorful reflections over the water.
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.
The John Jack is a US Coast Guard–certified, 50-foot titan of the sea, operated by a friendly crew and knowledgeable captain. Two Caterpillar engines––each producing 800 horsepower––propel the red and white ship through the waves, staving off currents as passengers embark on chartered fishing and diving trips around the Point Pleasant Beach area. It can reach speeds of up to 25 knots and travel up to 350 miles between fuel stops, so it’s not uncommon to see the vessel docked in ports at Montauk, Cape May, Virginia, or Cape Hatteras. The interior is air conditioned, and houses a refrigerator, microwave, icemaker, and power outlets. Outside, quartz halogen lights illuminate the deck, creating a night atmosphere that still provides enough light for fishing, diving, or reading Magic 8-Ball responses.
Since 1962, Ocean Ice Palace has given youngsters the opportunity to lace up their skates and participate in the healthy, active outlets of ice skating and hockey. The center is the vision of Dr. Leon J. Dwulet, who oversaw the building of the facility and whose daughter runs the show today. In keeping with its founding mission, the rink takes hockey seriously. Not only do instructors coach beginners through skating and hockey clinics, but the rink hosts several traveling teams and even furnishes hockey campers with dormitories in which to sleep. The rink also invites more casual skaters to visit for public skating sessions on weekends and holidays.
It’s hard to not feel great after a trip to The Butterfly Charities—not only are the gardens beautiful, with about 100 large butterflies flitting their wings atop vibrantly colorful nectar flowers, but the profits of each admission are donated to area charities. The gardens are so peaceful that yoga classes and napping conventions are held onsite, and the small courtyard outside is often used for weddings and parties. Live butterflies can also be hand delivered for ceremonial release at special occasions such as weddings and memorial services.
With Captain Jim O'Grady at the helm, the 78-foot Cock Robin carries groups of bait-brandishing passengers along on the Atlantic. Equipped with two turbocharged engines and mermaid-detecting sonar, the boat—which docks behind Spike's Seafood Restaurant—springs off the New Jersey coast in search of striped bass and bluefish every day. While striped bass fishing is the Cock Robin's specialty, bluefish hauls are the most common, and the summer and early autumn months usually bring an abundance of fluke and sea bass toward Jersey waters.