We have a rainy weekend ahead of us here in Jersey, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have any fun. There’s plenty to enjoy indoors in the Garden State, whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure. Of course you can head to the mall, but I’ve found 15 things that are a bit more unique.
1. The Art School At Old Church, Demarest
Enjoy art of all kinds in their two free galleries and consider signing up for a class while you're there. The summer session begins in June and there is an incredible variety for you to choose from.
2. Chamomile Cottage, Collingswood
Not only is this a great place to shop for natural bath and body gifts, you can make your own. Choose from candle making, soap making, spa products and more! They even offer special date night and BYOB events.
3. iPlay America, Freehold
This unique amusement park brings the best of the boardwalk indoors. A great place for family fun, you'll find a variety of thrill rides, arcade games, bumper cars, mini-bowling, a lazer maze, motion theater and more. However, this place isn't only fun for the kiddies; adults can enjoy sporting events, live music, comedy shows and incredible dining at Game Time Bar & Grill.
4. Sea Girt Lighthouse, Sea Girt
Enjoy free tours of this historic lighthouse on most Sundays from April-November. Explore every room and learn about lighthouse life and history, then discover Sea Girt's past through interesting exhibits featuring a variety of artifacts and an extensive vintage photo collection. Sea Girt Light is significant for several reasons - it was the last live-in lighthouse built on the Atlantic Coast, housed one of the first female keepers, and was the first land-based lighthouse to offer a radio beacon navigation system.
5. LITM, Jersey City
This modern space offers a bar, restaurant and art gallery. Bringing in an eclectic crowd, you'll find a minimalistic menu with standout dishes like Cajun Spiced Fried Calamari, unique drinks and a variety of events to enjoy.
6. The Chocolate Belles, Brick
This strip mall sweet shop offers a variety of candy making and cake decorating classes. The next candy making basics class will be held on May 12th, be sure to book quickly as seats are limited.
7. Van Gogh's Ear Cafe, Union
This cozy cafe welcomes guests with books and board games to enjoy along with an amazing menu of inventive cuisine and delicious desserts. Pictured is the BBQ Pork Mac n' Cheese, a secret menu item available upon request. Live music is offered on Tuesday and Sunday evenings.
8. The Pampered Spirit, throughout New Jersey
This mobile massage company will come to you. They serve most of the state and prices are surprisingly affordable. A selection of services are available for $60 or under including a 30-minute hot stone massage or 30 minutes of reflexology. They also offer spa parties and are available for weddings and corporate events.
9. Afro-American Historical Society Museum, Jersey City
This free museum is located in the Greenville Public Library and offers a collection of artifacts and information related to topics ranging from the Civil Rights Movement to the Underground Railroad in New Jersey.
10. Clifton Billiards, Clifton
Sure, you can visit any pool hall for some fun on a rainy day, but Clifton Billiards offers something extra-special. Besides fantastic food and a full bar, you can rent incredibly affordable private rooms. Rooms feature billiards, ping pong and darts, and can be rented by the hour. Split with a few friends for a fantastic deal and an evening of indoor enjoyment.
11. World of Wings, Teaneck
This family friendly museum features an amazing atrium that will have you feeling as if you're outdoors, even while it's raining. In addition to the atrium and a variety of exhibits, there's a bubble room kids will love.
12. Jenkinson's Aquarium, Point Pleasant
Though we usually head to Point Pleasant on warm, sunny days, Jenkinson's Aquarium is a perfect rainy day activity. Get up close with penguins, sharks, seals and more, view feedings and check out the touch tank.
13. Discovery Seashell Museum, Ocean City
This unique retail shop also offers a collection of thousands of seashells from around the world. This fun, free attraction is open seasonally.
14. Friar Mountain Model Railroad Museum, Sparta
I've mentioned the more well-known Northlandz in previous posts, but Friar Mountain Model Railroad Museum is equally enchanting. A hidden gem tucked away in Sparta, you'll find rotating displaying and can learn a lot about trains and the local area from Mr. Lou, owner and creator.
15. Burlington County Prison Museum, Mt. Holly
VIDEOThis national historic landmark operated as a prison for 154 years (1811-1965), making it the oldest continually operating prison at the time of its closure. Many believe the building to be haunted, though ghosts or not, a tour is a haunting experience. The short video above documents some of the prison's unique history and is definitely worth checking out. Visit the museum on a rainy day or learn more at the Spirit of the Jerseys State History Fair on May 14th at Monmouth Battlefield State Park. They will be hosting a booth, along with other unique New Jersey historical attractions. A rare glimpse into the past, there will also be performances, demonstrations and costumed guides. Now in its 12th year, the fair will be held rain or shine. Admission is free, though parking is $10 per car - I highly recommend a visit if you're a history buff or lover of all things Jersey.
You may notice that several more popular attractions are not included on this list. This is likely because I’ve featured them previously, and I wanted to bring you new attractions to enjoy. I’m always on the hunt for more Garden State fun, so share your favorite indoor activities in New Jersey and let me know if you’ve been to any of the spots I highlighted in this article.