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Springy Things to Do

Atlantic County Magazine – GACCA Article

Print Date 4.9.2021

By Judy Brenna

At long last, gone is the phrase "winter is come", and Spring is finally here. And with warmer weather means more outdoorsy things to do. I cannot tell you how excited I am, personally. I am one of those stereotypical people who, when the sun shines warmly ((on this dumpster fire of a planet)), for the first time in months, she emerges from her winter hibernation cave ((hair matted and unclean, and growing wildly in unmentionable areas)) embracing the fresh air and looking out into the world with renewed hope. And in desperate need of a manicure.

I compiled a list of fantastic ways to enjoy the new weather in Atlantic County and I am fairly certain some of these will come as no surprise. Firstly, get out of that winter lounge outfit you got on discount after Christmas ((my most favorite loungewear has pretty much self adhered to my epidermis by now)), slap on some khakis and a jacket ((and don’t forget your mask!)) and take a stroll on the Famous Atlantic City Boardwalk. Nothing says “outdoor” than feeling the salt air on your ((chapped winter skin)) and the caws of seagulls above. Plus, it’s always great strolling down a nice piece of history. And while you’re there it couldn’t hurt to stop by Steel Pier for a day of exhilarating fun on the rides. You really can't lose here ((well you could, money-wise, if you stray off the boards and find your way into the casinos)).

One more stop in Atlantic City I would love to suggest is the Absecon Lighthouse. New Jersey’s tallest, and 3rd oldest in the country, lighthouse is located on Park and Rhode Island Avenues in Atlantic City. After a decade of prompting from Jonathan Pitney, beloved “father” of Atlantic City, the U.S. Lighthouse Service requested and received an appropriation from Congress for a lighthouse on Absecon Island ((there were apparently a ton of shipwrecks, so this was obviously a much needed addition to the inlet)). And after many exchanges of hands, the Absecon Lighthouse was born. Take an amazing journey into time and ascend the 228 steps of the lighthouse. You'll see breathtaking views of the Atlantic City skyline and up top you'll come face-to-face with the original first-order Fresnel Lens, first lit in 1857. I mean how cool is that? This place really is magical. This is equally a fantastic day-date option as well as a family group trip. There are so many learning elements to Absecon Lighthouse, great for teaching kids the subjects of science, math, technology, engineering, and even the arts, all while having a great time.

Another awesome option is Funny Farm Animal Sanctuary, located on Railroad Blvd in Mays Landing. The Funny Farm Rescue Animal Sanctuary is a 15-acre privately owned farm that shelters and cares for unwanted, sick, elderly, injured, and abused animals since 2000. They give domestic, farm and exotic animals the opportunity to live out their natural lives in a happy, safe, and protected home. What I love about Funny Farm Rescue is their mission is to prevent the cruelty to animals by increasing the awareness of animal abuse through education. I have a deep, visceral passion for the welfare of animals, ((as I prefer the company of animals over humans sometimes)), so this place is aces in my book. Their visiting hours are Sunday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Tuesday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. This is the perfect place to show the kiddos a great time while also teaching them the importance of caring for another being.

And while you’re in Mays Landing you might want to finish off your day’s adventure and get bouncing at Get Air!, located on Black Horse Pike, at Hammonton Mall. Their park activities include trampolines, a ninja pit, and my favorite, dodgeballs. Just remember, if you’re engaging in this sport, the 5 d’s of dodgeball, folks, dodge, duck, dip, dive, and of course, dodge. They’re open 7 days a week and even offer group rates and private parties. By the time you get the kids home from this place they’ll be fast asleep before you uncork the cab.

And back on Absecon Island is my most favorite spot, Lucy the Elephant. I know I’ve talked about her before, but I can’t stop, won’t stop. Lucy really is the best. And yes, for personal reasons. My family owned a house in Margate whilst growing up. And when school broke out for the summer break the one thing I couldn’t wait to see was Lucy. Not the beach, not the convenience store down the street, which was Party Pack by the way, they had my most favorite popsicles, oh and Lenny’s! The best frozen, chocolate dipped bananas, oh and of course there was—I’m going off topic. My apologies. Lucy The Elephant. Yes, it was Lucy, in all her grey glory. During the winter, Lucy was only open on the weekends, but as of April 1st, she is now open 5 days a week! I love to visit Lucy the Elephant and imagine what it must’ve been like for sailors, or even pirates, off the shore, peering through their spy glasses, upon the fog lifting seeing a giant elephant on the shoreline. And then I look off into the distance and laugh a certain knowing laugh. They must have been so confused. And scared. Kings to you, Mr. Lafferty.

Alright, now get out there and get some fresh air! But don’t forget your mask. And your pants. Until next week… #stayjerseystrong.

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