Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains in 2010, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces?including vases, flatware, and busts of Elvis?await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln-workers help glaze and fire it for them before customers retrieve the finished piece 7-10 days later.
Hot Sand’s studio buzzes with activity as instructors dip pipes into molten glass and then demonstrate how to blow the globs into recognizable shapes. Nearby, other students work on finishing their pieces, refining contours atop wooden blocks and polishing surfaces on a diamond wheel. Hot Sand's glass-blowing artists impart these techniques through basic walk-in experiences and immersive workshops, showing guests how to craft objects such as candy dishes, pumpkin-shaped ornaments, or one-time-use dodgeballs. Welcoming visitors of all ages, Hot Sand earned the distinction as a top kids' destination in New Jersey Monthly's 2012 Jersey Choice awards. The studio also expands the aesthetic tastes of the community through a gallery that showcases original works for sale.
Voted one of the state's best museums by New Jersey Monthly readers, Paranormal Books and Curiosities tingles spines with creepy exhibits and spooky, 90-minute tours along the Jersey shore. Fright enthusiasts feel the icy touch of phantom fingers during a lantern-lit walk through the ghost-ridden streets of downtown Asbury Park. Tourists can also take a moonlit stroll along the boardwalk while absorbing the haunting tales of a doomed luxury liner and a mysteriously flammable theater, or head into Smithville's historic Village Greene for a chance encounter with the Pine Barrens’ shadow-stepping Jersey Devil and his terrifying harmonica solos.
Creative opportunities are everywhere inside Pink Elephant Pottery Studio. Shelves brim with unadorned pottery, including plates, cups, statuettes, and other items. Nearby, paints and brushes wait to bring different designs to life. The studio's artistic staffers gladly help paint and teach new techniques. Of course, there's no one approach to the pottery. Visitors are free to paint elephants pink, green, yellow, or how they look in real life: striped like a zebra.
Along one wall of A Time To Kiln's studio, row upon row of blank ceramic bisques await aspiring artists. Forms range in size, shape, and functionality—from dinner plates to figurines—but all are open to the interpretation of the painter. After selecting a piece, visitors head to the lineup of colorful glazes and paints to pick a color scheme or overenthusiastically smell each one before taking a seat at one of the tables and setting out to create a masterpiece. In addition to paint-your-own pottery, the studio also offers glass fusing, as well as mosaic projects to create two-dimensional art.