It’s been a little quiet here on the blog, so I hope you’re at least following me on Facebook and Instagram if you like to see what we’re up to. Truthfully, we’ve been so busy most days that I end up scrolling on my phone after the kids go to bed instead of turning on my computer to write.
Anyway … last week, we spent two nights in Atlantic City for the AC Airshow. While we are lucky enough to spend a lot of time in Brigantine, NJ at my in-laws’ shore house, this was the first time we stayed at a shore hotel with the kids. It was even their first time on a boardwalk! We stayed at Showboat because they had the best deals during the airshow, and the kids LOVED the arcade. There was even an indoor mini golf, but we actually didn’t end up doing that since they played games until past bedtime. And if you’re ever looking for a kid-friendly, good meal on the boardwalk – visit Wahlburgers in Ocean Casino Resort. Henry and Charlotte loved it so much (and there were enough things Harry and I wanted to try), that we ended up eating their BOTH nights. And Henry and Charlotte have both asked multiple times since to eat there again. (Sidenote: If you haven’t tried the Wahlburgers bacon, it’s our new favorite. We get it whenever we see it at Aldi!)
The AC Airshow is a free annual event. Read my Philadelphia Inquirer article for more free things down the shore.
On the way home from Atlantic City, we stopped at Storybook Land in Egg Harbor Township. We’ve passed it on our way to the shore before, but we’ve never had a chance to visit. After seeing several of my Facebook friends AND hearing some of my relatives rave about it this summer, I really wanted to give it a try. SO glad we did!
Storybook Land opened in 1955, and as the name suggests, the overall theme is fairytales and childhood stories. In addition to the rides, there are over 30 attractions for families to walk around and look at. Mary’s Little Lamb with an actual sheep to pet and feed and a little schoolhouse with old-fashioned desks was one of our favorites. And several of them even have buttons for you to push and listen to snippets of the stories while watching a scene with animatronic characters. I will admit, after visiting Storybook Land, I feel like I need to read Henry and Charlotte some of the classics. While we read CONSTANTLY, I realized that they weren’t that familiar with a few of the fairytales!
At nearly 5 (SOB) and almost 3.5 years old, Henry and Charlotte were the perfect age for it, but I think it would be fun for any children ages 2 through 10 years old. (Possibly older if you have younger ones with you that the older ones will enjoy helping.) There are 18 rides, and I think there was only one that Charlotte wouldn’t have been tall enough to ride. (You need to be 42 inches for the Tick Tock Clock Drop.) In fact, both of them rode their very first rollercoaster while we were there! They were terrified … but they did it! (Check out my Instagram Story Highlight to see the super excited before video … and then the aftermath.) While definitely tame for real thrill seekers, it’s a fast, bumpy ride for little ones. If you’ve been to Sesame Place, I’d say it’s a step below Vapor Trail in terms of scariness. (And a lower height requirement, too.)
The rollercoaster was NOT a hit with my two, but it wasn’t anything a ride on the Zip Zap Racers couldn’t fix. And they enjoyed every other ride, so no harm done.
As usual, Henry’s favorites rides revolved around trains and cars. He got to drive the 4 of us around a track in and a Model T, and we rode the J&J Railroad around the park twice. We also rode the tram car – Candy Cane Express. (Sidenote: There’s a whole little Christmas section of the park.) He also loved the small train models display, complete with buttons to make them move.
I’d actually suggest you ride either the J&J Railroad or the Candy Cane Express early in your visit. It’s a great way to learn more about the park and get a feel on the rides your children are most interested in.
Charlotte’s favorites were the Turtle Twirl, Ferris Wheel (their first time!), and Happy Dragon (which shocked me since she doesn’t usually like flying rides). Oh, and she ALWAYS loves a carousel!
And my favorite was probably Deep Sea Divers, purely because I got to see the expressions of true JOY and surprise on their faces!
Also worth mentioning … there’s a splash pad! I had no idea, so we didn’t have bathing suits or anything. But it was hot enough that the kids enjoyed a quick run through Storybook Seaport.
My husband and I were really impressed with how clean and friendly it was. It was a hot day, and all of the ride attendants were extremely nice, joking around with everyone. The entire place had such a laidback, wholesome, stress-free feel to it. And while I didn’t actually SEE any employees walking around cleaning the park, it was really spotless. Though that might be in part due to the fact that there are truly trash cans everywhere! Not in a bad way, but I even mentioned to Harry that I’d never seen so many trash/recyclable cans around a theme park!
For a park that’s over 60 years old, everything seemed well maintained, and I appreciated the variety of rides. We go to Sesame Place often, and just about every ride there spins you around. It’s enough that I’ve actually started taking Dramamine before we go because I just can’t take so much spinning anymore! At Storybook Land, there were certainly rides that spin, but there other types too. There was even a construction site ride!
Confession … we didn’t eat anything there! This wasn’t a reflection on the park at all. We just happened to skip breakfast when leaving the hotel that morning and got in the area a little before they opened, so we stopped for McDonald’s less than 5 minutes away. There are 4 places to get food within the park though with options such as pizza, hot dogs, cheesesteaks, chicken fingers, etc.
If you prefer to pack a lunch, you can do that, too! There’s a nice picnic area with plenty of tables to enjoy your own food. The picnic area is partially under a covered pavilion and then also out near trees for shade.
Super clean! And regular toilets, not automatic flushers. (Always a topic on conversation with my kids.) I also noticed on the map that one of the bathrooms has a designated nursing area.
Masks are optional. Basically everything is outside, so I saw very few people wearing them. I saw hand sanitizer stations, but I’d bring your own (or just stop every so often in the clean bathrooms!) since I did notice a few were out. There aren’t any rides where you’d need to ride with strangers, and in most cases, there’s plenty of space to keep your distance. Reservations are not required.
At least one spot offered mobile ordering, and there’s seating both indoors and outdoors for eating.
You can buy tickets in person, but it’s easy to buy them in advance online. It’s a few dollars cheaper, and it’ll save you a little time when you’re there. No need to print if you don’t want to. They can scan from your phone.
They DO offer discounts for military, first responders, and medical professionals. Those must be purchased in person. IT works out to being $1 cheaper than buying online, $4 cheaper than the in-person prices.
Children under 2 are free.
Storybook Land is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is CLOSED on Tuesdays.
We arrived a little after 11 and left around 3:30. I think we skipped I think 4 rides, but we rode a few more than once. And we didn’t eat there. So, you could probably do the whole park in 3-4 hours. But you could also find enough to do to spend close to the entire 7 hours.
I definitely see us coming back to Storybook Land over the next few years! I had been excited to go, but I’ll admit I was a little nervous the kids might be unimpressed. We returned from Disney World just a week beforehand, and we live less than 10 minutes from Sesame Place. But they really loved it! I would highly recommend it for families with young children – whether you’re just looking for a fun day trip, or you want to fit it into your beach vacation.
TIP: Storybook Land also offers festivities for Halloween and Christmas!