I’m not a native Philadelphian. I’ve lived in the Philadelphia area for almost twenty years now (!) but there’s some things I’ve still not experienced despite their iconic statuses when it comes to this area. For example, eating a cheesesteak from Pat’s or Geno’s. Nope, never done it. (I don’t eat beef but still, I’ve also never been.)
I have always felt like going to Wildwood, New Jersey and visiting the boardwalk there is one of those things on the “you live in Philly, you have to do it,” yet I hadn’t ever been until this past weekend! I’m so happy I remedied that situation and that I’m able to check the box for “Been to Wildwood,” as I’m pretty sure we’ll be frequenting it again after the fabulous time we had last weekend.
So my family and I were invited on a press trip by Morey’s Piers to visit Wildwood and experience all they have to offer down there. We were super excited to check it out because as I mentioned above, it’s just one of those things you do if you live in the area.
Here’s was my preconceived impression of Wildwood before we traveled down there: it’s cheesy and not-so-fun. That’s the feedback I had been given over the years. So I guess it’s no wonder we had never been?
We had such a blast this past weekend and would go back in a heartbeat. Was it a little bit cheesy? Sure. It’s a boardwalk. But there’s literally something for everyone in Wildwood at Morey’s Piers and we came so far form hearing “I’m bored, Mom” that I almost fainted with shock. You can rest assured that your children and you will never be bored with a visit to Morey’s Piers and your time spent there will be filled with laughter and fun from start to finish.
Wildwood is pretty much almost as far south on the shore as you can in Jersey. Just past it is Cape May and then that’s it, you’re into Delaware (after a ferry ride). So this is way Southern Jersey so plan accordingly for your road trip.
Where to Stay:
While in Wildwood, we were staying at the Starlux– which is Morey’s Pier motel. (Here are some other hotel options in Wildwood.) The Starlux is situated right by the infamous Wildwood sign along the boardwalk so we had very easy access to everything that was going on. We walked a ton over the weekend but we also hopped on the tram a few times, which goes up and down the boardwalk and is $3/ride.
The Starlux was a fun venue. The decor was retro, which seems to be a theme going throughout much of Wildwood. Our room had two queen beds, plus a living room area with a small kitchenette. There was also a pool with a hot tub and daily bike rentals that were complimentary to hotel guests which we took advantage of! It’s also home to Starlux Mini Golf, which my boys loved.
Morey’s Piers is the name of the family business that runs a lot of entertainment in Wildwood but the main attraction is a series of piers on the boardwalk – 3 of them in fact, that are made up of stores, restaurants and lots of fun amusement park rides and water parks.
There’s Adventure Pier, Mariner’s Pier and Surfside Pier. Each pier has attractions that make them all worth visiting and I couldn’t possibly pack it all into one post so I’ll give you the highlights of each pier for our family.
Let’s start with a little map from Find My iPhone that I grabbed to show you guys layout. I took it when I was standing at the Surfside Pier. I’m the farthest north device in the photo. Just south of me was my hubby and boys at the Raging Waters water park so you can see their devices there. Then just south/west of them on the map is the last pier, Adventure Pier (you can see the big roller coaster, the Great White, pictured there going out into the beach!)
Let’s travel from south to north, and talk about the first pier you arrive at, Adventure Pier. There’s not much food offered here other than the The Aloha Smoothie Company(<–click to see my awesome breakfast), where they make healthy and awesome acai bowls. I should note, that’s about the only healthy food I found for most of the trip so if you’re trying to eat healthy, hit this place up a few times. The only other food I saw on this pier was a Dippin’ Dots stand.
The best attraction on this Pier and probably the biggest mother of all rides at Morey’s Piers is the Great White Roller Coaster. This gigantic wooden roller coaster is a fun one for everyone in the family and it overlooks the ocean. I’m too much of a wimp to go on most rides but my boys rode it a number of times and proclaimed it the favorite!
There’s a couple of extreme thrill rides on this pier too that aren’t included in the regular Morey’s Piers ticket but are a few bucks extra for the real extremists and crazy folks in your group.
Mariner’s Pier is next and it has a lot more going on in terms of food and ride options. There’s a water park in the back – Raging Waters – where my guys spent the better part of the morning. Here’s a few photos from that excursion:
For rides, our highlights here included:
The Ghost Ship – I went through twice! (Clinging to whomever was ahead of me each time. It’s a walkthrough scare experience.)
Sunny’s Lighthouse Lookout – just a fun ride where you pull yourself high and get a good view
The Wave Swinger – your classic swing ride, my guys did this 4-5 times.
RipTide – your classic swinging Pirate Ship
Tea Cups – the usual that you’d expect with a Tea Cup ride!
There’s also a Ferris Wheel in here that lights up at night and gives beautiful views of the beach and the Sea Serpent roller coaster for extreme thrill seekers. We also did Bumper cars a few times here too.
Surfside Pier was the farthest from our hotel but still had some awesome rides for us including:
Zoom Phloom – a log flume ride that will get you wet
Doo Wopper – a family friendly roller coaster
Kong – a flying ride that my guys enjoyed steering
Thrill seekers will also want to check out Fly – the Great Nor’Easter as this the other big thrill ride on this pier. The Ocean Oasis Water Park is also at the tip of this pier which we were bummed we didn’t have a chance to check out, but there’s only so many things you can do in 3 days!
For good eats, there are some great options here. We LOVED our meal at Joe’s Fish Co. right on the boardwalk at the start of Surfside Pier.
We also had a cocktail hour at Stubborn Brother’s Beach Bar which has fab views of the ocean, located at the end of the pier along with the water park.
My guys are ages 13 and 10 so I’m highlighting what we did but know that there is PLENTY for folks of all ages at Morey’s Piers. The under-7 crowd has several rides at both Surfside and Mariner’s that would keep them busy for days.
Also, on Saturday, I took a Behind-the-Scenes VIP Tour of how everything gets done at Morey’s Piers. It’s A LOT, guys. It’s a family run business with thousands of people employed in the summer. There’s literally people assigned to dealing with specific nuts and bolts on various rides and they clearly take a lot of pride in not only extreme safety for all the rides but making the place run as a top notch family destination. But it’s also a year-round business. The summer employees (most of whom are from overseas) may leave but there are folks working all winter long to work in Marketing/PR, ride maintenance and more.
One of the things that impressed me the most with the experience on the trip was the safety on the rides. The load time seemed a second or two slower than usual but somehow the lines weren’t there – they just take their time making sure your child (or you) is totally safe on every ride at all times and somehow it all works smoothly. I’ve never really noticed that at other amusement parks but they sure do seem to take it seriously at Morey’s Piers and as a Mom with two nutty kids, it’s much appreciated.
Disclaimer: We visited Morey’s Piers as a part of a press event that was taking place over the weekend. We we received a free hotel, park tickets and other non-monetary goodies that helped us enjoy all Morey’s had to offer. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.