Doo Wop, Rides, and Curley Fries: A Weekend at Morey’s Piers, NJ
The water slide was five stories tall and just looking up at it, I felt a loss of breath. But my little ones only felt excitement and before I could grasp their hands and say no, they were gone, up the stairs, eager to take it on. I resisted the urge to stop them and watched as they climbed the stairs to the top. I sat on one of the lounge chairs, pretending to not be worried, anxiously waiting as they came down. Swoosh! Down came the 6-year-old. Swoosh!, down came his 7-year-old brother shortly after. I watched as they effortlessly swam out of the pool, paused, looked at each other, and then simultaneously laughed out loud. “That was the coolest ever! Let’s go again!” And just like that, I was hit with the realization that my children had grown bigger and more adventurous, since the last time I had the opportunity to stop and absorb it all.
We were spending the weekend at Wildwood, NJ as guests of Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Waterparks and my family and I had just joined in on the exciting Wipe-Out Race. I thought throwing myself, face first, down a water slide which sped me so fast I was down and done in just seconds, would be a great bonding experience with my boys, but what is also great about getaways with the family, and I have said this many times before, is that you learn something new about them that you might have missed when caught up in the busy schedules of daily life.
As far as family getaways go, Morey’s Piers is up there, but not just for the boardwalk, amusement park and carnival fun it offers, but also because of how it is done. Let’s be honest, a weekend of fun at Morey’s Piers is not cheap for a family a five. The 3-day passes are $156.00 per person and for those over 48″, but you get a lot for it as well, such as access to all three piers, unlimited rides, and the two waterparks. You also get a bit more of an upscale boardwalk amusement park experience. Day passes are less expensive, and season passes are the best deal for frequent visitors.
We toured the piers practically on our own the entire time we were there. The service we received from ride operators, to carnival game hosts, to managers (at one point I had a question that required the assistance of a manager), was friendly, immediate, and professional. Professional service. At a boardwalk carnival. It’s not something you can easily overlook.
I am a bit neurotic when it comes to cleanliness, especially at waterparks. I have seen a few favorites really falter lately which has led to us not visiting again. But Morey Pier’s waterparks are on it and I was able to really let go of my apprehensions, enjoy the experience and relax…though I doubt anyone relaxed more than my husband.
The newest addition to the park is the [artbOX], where re-purposed shipping containers were put together to form a 10,000 square foot interactive artists’ colony. The space houses a collection of art work by local artists, shops, as well as a performance space for the School of Rock, a performance program featuring bands of regional young musicians (and after which the movie was based). It is probably one of the coolest thing I have ever seen on a pier. When you visit make sure to connect with the artists. They are really friendly and really talented.
Where We Ate
When it comes to food, you have your standard boardwalk selection all along the Wildwood’s boardwalk. But Morey’s Piers offers some different, more upscale dining (but still casual and always family-friendly) experiences as well, without breaking the bank.
The Soggy Dollar Beach Bar over looking the waterpark and the beach is a beautiful setting, especially during the sunset hours. We enjoyed a few cocktails, while the kids savored their lemonades (note that the lemonades are HUGE and can probably be split up among the little ones). I had a great meal and service experience here, but really relaxing while overlooking the beach is pretty spectacular. You almost forget you are in an amusement park.
We had another great dining experience at Joe’s Fish Co. Go up to the balcony area and get a nice view of the park while you enjoy daily seafood meals and appetizers. Also a nice place to grab a drink and take a break from the fun for a bit.
We also enjoyed meals about town at diners like Marvis and Pink Cadillac (same owners), as well as some crazy delicious pancakes at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House (get there early cause it fills up quickly).
The Wildwood Experience
Though Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Waterparks, the Wildwood boardwalk, and Wildwood beach are the main attractions in the area and one of the biggest reasons so many families come back year after year, the town of Wildwood itself is fun to walk through. It has a retro feel to it, with many antique building signs and architecture throughout town. I loved walking around and taking pictures of the old-style neon signs, and compared it the set from Disney’s Cars.
Truth is, the conservation of Wildwood’s retro look is a conscious one with groups like the Doo Wop Preservation League doing what it can to instill an appreciation and education about this great beach town. According to their mission statement, Wildwood, NJ is “the largest collection of mid-20th century resort architecture (known as “Doo Wop” architecture) found in America today”. I encourage visitors to download the walking tour map from the their site and take a day to explore. It is truly like stepping back in time.
Where We Stayed
Needless to say, the town has tons of motels, hotels, and rental lodging to choose from, and Morey’s Piers owns six resorts. We stayed at the Starlux, which is definitely Doo Wop inspired. Its colorful, antique vibe is charming and happy, and the hotel itself is centrally located with the beach a short walk away, as well as eateries and shops. Starlux offers its guests complimentary use of beach cruisers, a nice option in the early mornings, when cruising the boardwalk (till 11am) is allowed.
You could walk to the piers, but on a hot day (or after a long day at the parks) the walk can feel a bit long. That’s when the boardwalk tramcar, which starts operations around 11am and shuts downs around 1am, comes in handy. It’s $3.00 per person (cash only, small bills preferred), per ride, and it takes about 30 minutes to ride the boardwalk from one end to another. “Watch the tramcar, please!” will be a common sound you will hear during your visit, avoiding their path as you walk is a beloved sport from those who have grown up visiting Wildwood.
We had a great time, and it was a wonderful first experience for my family: our first time at Morey’s Piers and my husband’s first time to the Jersey Shore! We played and swam to our heart’s content. We enjoyed the fabulous sit down dining, as well as the boardwalk treats of funnel cakes and ice cream – my husband and teen even participated in the Curley Fries Eating Contest! They lost to a man that ate 4.5 pounds of these (my teen and son both ate about 1.15 each!!), but I love them for trying!
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