Still Plenty of Family Fun in Cape May this Summer

Physick Estate Children’s Tours. By Susan Krysiak, courtesy of MAC.

CAPE MAY – There’s still plenty of time to discover creepy, crawly crustaceans in Cape May, board a jolly red MAC trolley for a ride around the city, climb to the top of the Cape May Lighthouse or go on a scavenger hunt, all courtesy of the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). Since 1970, MAC has been presenting tours, activities and events for families to enjoy together at America’s First Seaside Resort. Join us in Cape May for the rest of summer’s lineup of tours, activities and events, through Sept. 7.

Families enjoy climbing the 199 steps of the 1859 Cape May Lighthouse to the watch gallery for a panoramic view of the Jersey Cape and Atlantic Ocean. For those who choose not to climb, the Oil House contains a fully-accessible Visitors’ Orientation Center and a Museum Shop stocked with maritime accessories and lighthouse memorabilia. The Cape May Lighthouse is open daily through Sept. 3 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and open Sept. 4 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sept. 5-7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. for full moon climbs on Sept. 6), and is located in Cape May Point State Park, Lower Township. Admission to the Visitors’ Orientation Center and the ground floor of the Lighthouse is free. Tower admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children (ages 3-12).

Children can learn about Cape May history and its role in defending the coastline with a visit to the World War II Lookout Tower (Fire Control Tower No. 23) on Sunset Boulevard, New Jersey’s last freestanding World War II tower and part of the immense Harbor Defense of the Delaware system known as Fort Miles. Admission is $6 for adults; $3 each child (ages 3-12) (first child admitted free with each paying adult). Visitors can climb to the 6th floor spotting gallery while reliving the homeland defense efforts during World War II. The ground floor and the entrance boardwalk are fully accessible. The Tower is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Go on a clues hunt and discover answers to questions as you search the grounds of the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., during the Physick Estate Scavenger Hunt. Purchase a packet for $5 that includes a clues sheet and ponder the answers as you explore the estate grounds as a family. Learn together about Cape May’s only Victorian House Museum – one of the best examples of Victorian Stick Style architecture in the country. Available daily, year-round and costs $5 per packet (only one packet is needed per family).

Take children back in time during Physick Estate Children’s Tours and discover life as it was more than 125 years ago. These guided tours of the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washigton St., are especially suitable for children. Admission $8. Tours are offered Mondays through Aug. 28 at 11:15 a.m.

Board the trolley that says “Cape May” to so many, for a unique and entertaining way to see the town. The Children’s Trolley Ride takes you through Cape May’s Historic District and is a guided tour especially geared toward children. Tours are offered Sundays through Thursdays through Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. (trolleys depart from the Washington Street Mall Info Booth). $8 all seats.

Children love these programs about the Cape May Lighthouse and parents love that they are free. Before climbing up the 199 spiraling stairs of the Cape May Lighthouse, youngsters and their parents can learn the historic beacon’s story, as told by one of the current Keepers, at the Education Center in Cape May Point State Park (adjacent to the Cape May Lighthouse). The Keeper’s on Duty programs are free every Saturday at 1:15 p.m. during the summer. For youngsters and their parents who love a good story read out loud, don’t miss the Lighthouse Storytime programs every Saturday at 12:30 p.m. during the summer, also in the Education Center. The stories feature nautical tales and lighthouse adventure stories especially for young children. Admission is free.

From creepy, crawly crustaceans in the sea to beautiful birds in the sky, Cape May’s eco-system is thriving and just waiting to be discovered. In co-sponsorship with the Nature Center of Cape May, MAC offers Beachcombing at the Cove at the 2nd Street Pavilion on The Promenade, on Wednesdays through Aug. 30 at 8:30 a.m. A naturalist from the Nature Center of Cape May helps you explore the ocean beach and dunes of Cape May’s Cove. $10 for adults, $5 for children (ages 3-12). Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth.

A marine biologist from the Nature Center of Cape May leads tourgoers through Cape May’s beach and marsh habitats on the Harbor Safari. Tours are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 31 at 10:30 a.m., at the Nature Center of Cape May, 1600 Delaware Ave. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children (ages 3-12). Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth.

Board the Cape May Whale Watcher for the Around Cape Island Cruise, a sightseeing cruise around the island of Cape May. You’ll be immersed in Cape May’s environment, view various bird species, the majestic Victorian architecture and perhaps a dolphin or two as you listen to tales of local heroes, legends and history. Tours are offered at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. daily through Aug. 31. On Thursday, Sept. 1 through Thursday, Sept. 7 tours are offered at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Admission is $30 for adults, $20 for children (ages 7-12). Purchase tickets in advance at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth or at the Hill House office at the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St.

Another offering from the Cape May Whale Watcher is the Cape May Whale & Dolphin Cruise offered daily at 1 p.m. Board the 110-foot Cape May Whale Watcher for a three-hour cruise and the chance to see humpback whales, dozens of bottlenose dolphins, unusual sea birds or rare sea turtles. Admission is $40 for adults, $25 for children (ages 7-12). Purchase tickets in advance at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth, Washington and Ocean streets.

Discover the fun of exploring area history on the Cape May Family Treasure Hunt. Uncover the city’s architectural elements from a kid’s perspective. The packet includes clues sheet and a map that will take you on a self-guided discovery tour, set to your own pace (answer sheet also included). The Cape May Family Treasure Hunt is available daily, year-round and costs $5 per packet (only one packet is needed per family). Co-sponsored by MAC and Preservation New Jersey.

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