14 ideas for making the most out of a New Jersey rainy day
People around the Taylor Pavilion in Belmar get caught in Tuesday afternoons downpour. Thomas P. Costello, Asbury Park Press
On vacation, it is always key to have a Plan B. (It's not a bad idea to have one on a staycation, either.)
The most anticipated day trip can be ruined by uncooperative weather. And if you're spending a week or more at the beach, you're likely to hit rain at some point.
Best to be prepared. Luckily, there are plenty of options for rainy-day entertainment, both in the beach towns and farther inland.
So, keep this list in mind the next time storm clouds gather:
1. Coffee, tea or me(ow)
A cup of tea and a kitty-cat or two will chase away your rainy day blues.
Visit Catsbury Park, a cat cafe in Asbury Park, where you can pet the resident cats while you enjoy tea, coffee and treats. Should you fall in love with one of the purring felines, Catsbury Park will be more than happy to facilitate an adoption.
Salvage the day by taking in a matinee. There are lots of family-friendly films out at the moment, from "Toy Story 4'' to the latest "Men in Black'' installment.
Looking for something different? At the ShowRoom Cinema in Asbury Park, where the movies are thoughtfully selected to give viewers choices beyond what's playing at the multiplex. The three-screen art house theater will soon have a sister location in Bradley Beach, when renovations to the landmark Beach Cinema are finished.
Go: 707 Cookman Ave., Asbury Park; 732-502-0472, theshowroomap.com.
If a rainy day makes you feel contemplative, then it’s a perfect time to browse the shelves at an independent bookstore, such as Book Town in Manasquan, Inwood Books in Haddonfield or Montclair Book Centre in Montclair.
Book Towne, at 171 Main St. in Manasquan, keeps a healthy stock of classics and new titles alike, for adults, teens and young readers. Author appearances frequently are scheduled. Storytime for children ages 3 to 5 takes place at 10 a.m. Wednesdays.
Go: 171 Main St., Manasquan; 732-722-7255, booktowne.com. Hours: Book Towne is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.
Barnes & Noble, with locations throughout New Jersey, also hosts storytimes, book-signings and other events. Go: barnesandnoble.com.
Even just a foot of moving water can be powerful enough to carry a car. Russ Zimmer
Libraries offer a wealth of rainy-day options for all ages. Storytimes, arts and crafts, exhibits, lectures and performances abound at local libraries this summer. Many libraries also lend out CDs and DVDs, and some even offer loans on museum passes.
Dust off your library card, get reacquainted and take home a great beach read.
Learn the stories of the stars at the Robert J. Novins Planetarium at Ocean County College. The varied schedule includes star shows for all ages, along with special events like "Pajama Night" and laser shows.
Other planetariums can be found at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, Trenton State Museum in Trenton and Rowan University in Glassboro.
Go: College Drive, Toms River; 732-255-0343, ocean.edu. General admission is $10, or $8 for seniors 60 and older, $7 for children 12 and younger or Ocean County College students.
Museums are a blessing on a rainy day. The Barnegat Light Museum, 501 Central Ave. in Barnegat Light, is cozy and welcoming. Artifacts, replicas and photographs document the history of the fishing industry and tourism on Long Beach Island.
You also can get a close-up view of the original Fresnel lens from Barnegat Lighthouse. The museum is in a former one-room schoolhouse from 1903, so there also is emphasis on education. Children can embark on a scavenger hunt within the museum.
Go: 501 Central Ave., Barnegat Light; 609-494-8578, bl-hs.org. Admission is free. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekends in June, and daily in July and August.
On the opposite end of LBI, the New Jersey Maritime Museum in Beach Haven offers a look at the boats and ships on our waters, the storms that have ravaged the coast, and even info on some of the critters who live beneath the waves. Videos, artifacts, books and photographs bring history to life. The museum also maintains a database of shipwrecks for research.
Summer events include programs for children and presentations by organizations such as the Alliance for a Living Ocean and the Marine Mammal Stranding Center.
Go: 528 Dock Road, Beach Haven; 609-492-0202, njmaritimemuseum.org. Admission is free. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily in June, July and August; Fridays and weekends in the off-season.
Put some spark into your rainy day by petting a tarantula or a hissing cockroach, hopefully not at your beach rental. You’ll find live specimens to meet and greet at Insectropolis at 1761 Lakewood Road, off Route 9 in Toms River. This “bug museum” allows you to watch industrious bees and ants at work. Bug-themed exhibits and computer games teach you all about insects, their lives, and their role in the environment. Expect to spend about an hour exploring.
Go: 1761 Lakewood Road, off Route 9, Toms River; 732-349-7090, insectropolis.com. Admission is $10 for ages 3 and older. Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Monmouth Museum, 765 Newman Springs Road in the Lincroft section of Middletown, offers several wings of permanent and changing exhibits on art, science and culture. Events range from teddy bear tea parties for children to "Sip and Snap" Lego and wine events for adults.
The Becker Children's Wing has attractions for ages 6 through 12. The Wonder Wing, aimed at children ages 6 and younger, has a hands-on, permanent exhibition on sea creatures. Contact the museum for hours, as the wing is sometimes closed to the public for group tours.
Go: 765 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft section of Middletown; 732-747-2266, monmouthmuseum.org. Admission is $8 for everyone 2 and older. Hours: Main gallery: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Becker Children's Wing: 2 to 5 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Newly renovated, Northlandz, a model train museum, in Flemington, New Jersey, holds the Guinness Book of World Record for the largest model railroad. Not only is it gargantuan, the miniatures are stunning with hyper-realistic mountain ranges and incredibly detailed houses.
Go: Northlandz Model Train Museum, 495 US Highway 202, Flemington. Tickets: $20 ages 12-62; $15 ages 2-12; $18 ages 62 and older. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Monday; closed Tuesdays. northlandz.com.
For those history buffs staying in or near Cape May Point, a restored World War II watchtower sits overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Once part of the coast's major defenses, the tower was restored in 2008 and 2009, giving it a new staircase, a walkway and a deck.
Go: World War II Lookout Tower, 536 Sunset Blvd., Cape May. Admission: $6 adults; $3 children (however, first child is free); free for active military. capemaymac.org.
Check out the creations done by the 13 Weeks of Summer crew and friends during their visit to the Hot Sand glassblowing studio in Asbury Park. Marcus Scott
7. Arts and crafts
Glassy-eyed from watching TV on a rainy day? Shake it off and blow some glass at Hot Sand. The studio offers glass-blowing sessions for the public, as well as fine shopping opportunities. Go: 550 Cookman Ave., Asbury Park; 732-927-5475, hotsandap.com.
Make a souvenir of a rainy day on LBI at Just Bead It, a jewelry-making center with locations at 1616 Long Beach Blvd. in Surf City and at 1305 Long Beach Blvd. in North Beach Haven. Hobbyists and novices alike can ignore the rain and make accessories with metal beads, gemstones, charms and other materials. Go: 1616 Long Beach Blvd., Surf City; and 1305 Long Beach Blvd., North Beach Haven; 609-494-8177 for Surf City, 609-492-2323 for North Beach Haven; justbeadit.net.
Paint-your-own ceramics and pottery studios are another option for rainy-day souvenirs. Some offer additional artistic endeavors, and some ramp up the social element, with “sip-and-paint” parties for wine lovers. Go: A Time To Kiln, 50 Broad St., Red Bank; atimetokiln.com; Color Me Mine, 1877 Hooper Ave. in Toms River, and in Freehold Raceway Mall; colormemine.com.
Paint-and-sip studios offer a chance for adults to escape the weather and explore their artistic sides. Typically, the studio offers a program with a theme, from an anonymous landscape to "Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh, and an instructor leads the class in re-creating the picture. Patrons are welcome to bring wine and snacks, which creates a party vibe. Pinot's Palette is one of the best-known such companies, with locations including Red Bank, Manalapan, East Brunswick, Brick, Wall and Princeton. Go: pinotspalette.com.
Get crafty and creative at AR Workshop with some DIY home decor. There's a bunch of things you can create, such as canvas pillows, stamped jewelry, chunky blankets and any wood plank project you can think of. There are public workshops available or, if you know the weather is supposed to be bad well in advance, you can book your own private DIY party. Check the website for their calendar of public workshops.
Go: AR Workshop, 226 North Avenue West, Westfield; 5501 Route 42, Store #4, Turnersville; 41 E Main St, Moorestown. arworkshop.com
Chocolate lovers, whether you be a fan of milk or dark, here's your chance to indulge your sweet tooth. At 2 Chicks with Chocolate, guests are invited to attend various classes where they can create chocolaty creations of their own in the "chocolate pizza making" workshop. Or they can paint treats like chocolate heels. For classes, you must register at least 24 hours in advance.
Go: 2 Chicks with Chocolate, 19 New St., Metuchen. 2chickswithchocolate.com
8. Amusement centers
Any boardwalk arcade will serve as a port in the storm, but Silverball Museum in Asbury Park is a destination unto itself. Authentic vintage pinball machines, video games, air hockey and Skee-ball offer enough fun to outlast cloudy skies.
Timed passes range in price from $10 for 30 minutes to $25 for all day. You can come and go, so the full day pass is a good deal if you're in Asbury Park for the day, or night. Go: on the boardwalk; 732-774-4994, silverballmuseum.com.
Ride along with Press writers Alex Biese and Mike Davis on 'Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth' at Six Flags Great Adventure Thomas P. Costello , Asbury Park Press
What if you — or the kids — are too stir-crazy to be creative or curious on a rainy day? What if you just want to get moving?
Kids who’ve had their hearts set on boardwalk rides will feel better on a rainy day if you take them to iPlay America, at 110 Schanck Road in Freehold, an indoor amusement park with rides, laser tag, arcade games and other entertainment. Concerts frequently are scheduled for kids and adults.
Go: 110 Schanck Road, Freehold; 732-577-8200, iplayamerica.com.
Sky Zone highlights: trampoline park, with locations in Ocean Twp. and Lakewood. Courtesy of Sky Zone
9. Trampoline Parks
Children, teens and adults can bounce around and burn off energy at indoor trampoline parks and other centers that encourage exercise.
SkyZone, with locations in Mount Laurel, Lakewood, Ocean Township and South Plainfield, offers exercise classes, open jump, glow-in-the-dark jump, toddler time and sensory-friendly hours. Go: skyzone.com.
Flight Fit N Fun has taken over the spot previously run by Air Trampoline. Go: 111 Route 35, Cliffwood section of Aberdeen; 732-583-3000, flightfitnfun.com.
Get Air caters to all ages, with programs for toddlers to teens. Go: 200 Daniels Way, Freehold; 732-228-8435. getairfreehold.com.
Urban Air Adventure Park, which currently operates in the Target shopping center in Milltown, is expanding this summer to Hazlet and Toms River. Urban Air has trampolines, wall climbing, a tubes playground, a battle beam, and a warrior course over a ball pit. Go: urbanairtrampolinepark.com.
10. Climb some rocks
ClimbZone, which features an array of creatively designed climbing walls, has opened its first New Jersey location on Route 9 in Howell. ClimbZone provides climbers with a hyrdaulic system that allows them to descend from the wall on their own. Go: climbzone.us
You can also scale the rocks at Gravity Vault in Upper (various locations) and Elite Climbing in Maple Shade, indoor rock climbing facilities that can keep the most practiced rock climber in shape and give novices a place to start. Gravity Vault and Elite Climbing offer intro classes rental gear, day passes, and bouldering areas for those who prefer the harness-less alternative.
Go: Gravity Vault has locations in Middletown, Upper Saddle River, Voorhees, Flemington, Hoboken, Chatham and is coming soon to Brick. Go to gravityvault.com for hours and pricing. Elite Climbing, 67 Old Kings Highway, Maple Shade. Head to eliteclimbing.com for more information such as ticket pricing and hours.
11. Learn to fly
iFly gives visitors the experience of skydiving without the whole "jumping out of an airplane miles in the air" thing. Learn what it takes to sky dive in a safe and controlled environment with a trained professional by your side. There is also three types of VR experiences: flying around the world, jumping off of an Alpine ridge or flying with Toothless the dragon from the "How To Train Your Dragon" franchise.
There are a few restrictions as to who can fly, so it's best to check their website to double check that you are able to participate.
Go: 211 E State Route 4, Paramus; 290 Goddard Blvd., King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Also coming to Edison. Hours: Noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon to 9 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. The hours are the same at both iFlys. iflyworld.com
12. Swim inside
Intent on hangin' ten? Luckily there are two indoor waterparks in New Jersey to keep you in the water. At Sahara Sam's Oasis in Berlin, guests can laze about on The Congo Bongo lazy river or explore The Nile Mile, a 350-foot, super fast waterslide. If you're closer to Mount Laurel, try Coco Key Water Resort. There you'll find almost 1,000 feet of waterslides and a relaxing adults-only spa.
Go: Sahara Sam's Oasis, 535 N. Route 73, West Berlin. Tickets: $41.99 per person over 3 years old, $19.99 for 65 and older. saharasams.com. Coco Key Water Resort, 915 Route 73, Mount Laurel. Purchased online, tickets are $24.99 for a day pass; kids 2 and under as well as adults over 65 are free. mtlaurelcocokey.com.
13. Sing your hearts out
Shower singers rejoice! Songbird Karaoke in Collingswood, lets you belt it out in a private suite with your friends and family. For $80 you can rent out a private suite fit for two to six people for two hours. There are also midsize suites, for seven to 16 people, or large party suites that can fit up to 50 people.
Go: Songbird Karaoke, 790 Haddon Ave., Collingswood. songbirdkaraoke.com.
14. Toss a hatchet (sorry, grownups only on this one)
If your idea of family fun is throwing hatchets at a wooden target, New Jersey-based Stumpy's is one place to be. Only for family members 21 and over, Stumpy's Hatchet House is an indoor hatchet throwing facility where friends and family can get together and just "let it go." There are plenty of locations throughout New Jersey. It is highly recommended that you make a reservation for any of the Stumpy's locations, especially on weekends.
Go: Stumpy's Hatchet House locations in Eatontown, Greenbrook, Delran and Middletown. For hours and pricing go to stumpyshh.com.
Bury the Hatchet has locations in Bloomfield, Cherry Hill, Matawan, Paramus, Woodbridge, Toms River and Princeton, and is headed to Freehold. burythehatchet.com/axe-throwing-cherry-hill