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2018 Bucket List

NJ Family 2018 Bucket List

NJ Family gave an Ultimate 2018 Bucket List with must go to places in the New Jersey area.

New Jersey Family asked readers across the state to share their favorite things to do in and around N.J. Check out the must-see attractions, must-try restaurants, must-visit spots for kid-free fun and more at njfamily.com/bucketlist.

Outdoor Faves    

NJ Family listed Ocean City and Sandy Hook as two of N.J. favorite beaches. NJ Family says, “Ocean City, known for its pristine sand, 2 1/2 mile-long boardwalk and hoppin’ mini golf spots, is fun for day trips and family vacays. Sandy Hook, popular for shell collecting and calm waters, is the perfect place to go bird watching or biking with the squad.”

They also said that Essex County Sunflower Maze is one of the Prettiest Hidden Gem‘s in the New Jersey area. This maze makes people feel as if they have just walked into a field of bright yellow sunshine.

The Cape May Lighthouse was named one of the Most Picturesque Lighthouses in the N.J. area. People from all over the state travel here just to take a picture with this iconic lighthouse. NJ Family says, “It’s the third lighthouse to stand proud in that spot over the Atlantic since 1859. More than 21/2 million visitors have traveled up its 199 steps for a view of Cape May, Wildwood and Delaware.”

The Paterson Great Falls is definitely one of the most Instaworthy Photo Spots. “This National Historical Park in Paterson is one of N.J.’s most spectacular natural sites. Formerly the power source for a local mill, the falls are 77 feet high. Now, they’re part of the National Park Service, so visitors can feel the mist for themselves. The best time to visit is in the spring after the snow melts, or any time after a big rainstorm when the falls are rushing at full peak” says NJ Family.

Fun Stuff

Under the category of “Fun Stuff“, NJ Family listed Turtleback Zoo as the favorite zoo in New Jersey. It was named this for its amazing petting zoo interactions and scenery of the animals.

Liberty Science Center is the top family-friendly museum to visit in the N.J. area. On top of the countless awesome things to experience at Liberty Science Center, you don’t want to miss the massive new Planetarium.

YESTERcades is one of the coolest arcades in the area. With locations in Red Bank, Somerville and Westfield, it’s easy to get your Pac-Man on. Relive your arcade days with old-school games and beat the high score on a vintage pinball machine. You can also show the kids what Atari’s all about.

Good Eats

People from all over the state are always looking for new places to eat. One of the Top Seafood Spots is The Lobster House in Cape May. Guests can dig into lobster, oysters and clams at the raw bar. Also, they can climb aboard the Schooner American, a 130-foot boat that doubles as an outdoor cocktail lounge.

Star Tavern World Famous Pizzeria was named best pizza spot to try in New Jersey. The tavern might look like a typical bar and grill, but it’s home to thin crust pizza that they mastered over 65 years.

One of the favorite deli’s is Cosmo’s Italian Salumeria.  NJ Family says, “From homemade mozzarella and imported meats to fresh bread and a no-frills menu, this Hackensack spot is as authentic as it gets….If the food alone doesn’t kindle thoughts of your Nonna, they’re sure to come when the owner sends a regular home with spaghetti on the house.”

If you’re looking for the Sweetest Pancakes, Brownstone Pancake Factory takes the cake. Fluffy buttermilks get gussied up in every way imaginable. Toppings include peanut butter drizzle, house-made blueberry compote and sweet cinnamon apples. The kids will go wild for the deep-fried Nutella French toast sundae.

Me Time

If you’re looking for a great spa experience in the N.J. area, SoJo Spa Club is the place to be.   NJ Family says, “This reimagined Korean bathhouse in Edgewater boasts Manhattan views and internationally-influenced treatments. Take a dip in the Insta-famous rooftop infinity pool more than 100 feet above the street. Then, experience highlights like hydrotherapy, a hinoki silk bath, Korean body scrubs or a Himalayan salt sauna.”

DIY’s are on the rage these days. AR Workshop, Board and Brush, and MADE at the Park are some of the Most Fun DIY Night Out places in the N.J. area. People can embellish wooden signs, trays or frames with your favorite phrase or family name using gorgeous raw materials. People can either go on their own, or they can plan a night out with all their friends.

For more information on this Bucket List, Visit NJFamily.com


11 Zip Lines and Obstacle Courses in the Tri-State Area

Zip lines and obstacle courses are popping up all around New Jersey and beyond!

Be warned: if you’re afraid of heights, you should pick a place that allows kids to climb on their own—otherwise you may find yourself on a platform with only one way down! Here’s a list of places to go in #HipNJ, courtesy of New Jersey Family

The Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo has lions, tigers, bears and a nature trek that helps you see wildlife from a new perspective. Take the fam to new heights in a crawly, winding journey along wiggly bridges, netted walkways and wooden towers. For an adrenaline rush, swing by the Zoo’s Treetop Adventure climbing obstacle course. Designed for explorers ages 7 and up, this challenging climb takes you through a sustainably created aerial ropes course. For those who love to zipline, strap in for a 400-foot long ride across the Bronx River. Participants must be between 50 and 275 pounds and be able to reach up to five feet six inches with their feet flat on the ground. Climb and zipline packages for $59.95 per person and $39.95 per Wildlife Conservation Society member.

Camelback Mountain Adventures

Geared for older kids (ages nine and up), the Treetop Adventure Course means serious business. Integrated zip lines, cargo nets, high wire walks and super steep ladders make it a pretty big challenge. Kids ages six to 10 can navigate a mini version of this, called the Explorer Course. They can also try the Twin Zip-Flyers (ages eight and up), side-by-side racers that look like swings, and 1,000-feet-long Dual Zip Lines (ages six and up), perfect for racing their friends. There’s also the Mountain Coaster, great for parents and kids, and a FreeFall jump, where kids eight and up leap off platforms into a giant air bag. Or you can shoot down the Pocono Pipeline Mountain Slide—where kids race on carts down a 2,800-foot mountain track. Advance tickets for the obstacle courses are recommended. TreeTops Adventure Course is $50 and $40 if you get there for a 9 am start; Kids Explorer Course is $30; Twin Zip Flyer is $35; Dual Zip Line is $15; the Mountain Coaster and Slide are $12.99 each and two jumps off the FreeFall are $5.


A four-story metal structure is one of the first things you’ll see when you pull into the parking lot. It’s really high! Kids work their way through criss-crossing balance beams and bouncing bridges to see if they can make it to the top, where they’ll find the most precarious obstacles. It’s also totally cool to hang on the lower levels and take different pathways. Kids must be at least 48 inches to climb solo, or 42 inches to venture out with a parent. Entry is included in admission, which starts at $29.95 for visitors over 42 inches.

Essex County Treetop Adventure

If you’re spending a day at the ever-expanding Turtle Back Zoo, take a cue from the monkeys and spend an hour or two climbing in the trees. The aerial obstacle course is massive. Start with the junior course (for ages six and up), which is still a challenge at 10 feet off the ground. Kids will make their way through 15 obstacles, like tricky rope cargo nets and wobbly balance boards. The adult course (open to anyone over 54 inches) is double the size with 30 elements and three times as high at 35 feet. Kids will also love the zip line, which lets them soar at 40 feet high over the length of a football field. They need to be over the age of six and at least 80 pounds to give it a try. Reserve in advance (especially on busy summer weekends!). The adult course is $28; the junior course is $18 and the zip line is $13.

iPlay America

The new indoor ropes course here is the largest in NJ thanks to a huge reno last spring. The Sky Trail features zig-zag beams, cargo nets and vertical rope ladders for little adventurers (since they’re almost 20 feet off the ground!). And there’s a Sky Tykes course perfect for beginners ages two to seven that’s just under three feet high made up of rope bridges and zig-zag beams, so you can walk alongside your little ones to make sure they’re extra safe. Sky Trail is $10 and Sky Tykes is $5.

Liberty Science Center

Not quite ready to tackle an entire obstacle course? Start here, where they can scale the Walk the Steel structure in the skyscraper exhibit. It’s for kids four feet and up, so they’ll walk on a steel beam a story above the ground, just like a real construction worker. They can also make their way through the Infinity Climber, a one-of-a-kind netted jungle gym 35 feet high, where children move from platform to platform. Tickets start at $17.75 for kids ages two to 12 and $21.75 for adults.

Palisades Climb Adventure

Hanging in the middle of the enormous Palisades Mall, just over the NJ border, is this unique obstacle course. Because of how it floats, the course starts at 85 feet high on the fourth floor, making it the world’s tallest ropes challenge course. Work your way down to lower levels while shoppers watch you navigate across vertical rope ladders, a tremor bridge and onto a balance beam that sticks out in mid-air. Not ready to tackle those heights yet? Try Sky Tykes, great for children two to seven years old and under 48 inches. It’s only three feet high, so parents can guide their kids. The full climb is $16.99. Kids must be 42 inches to go with an adult or 48 inches to venture alone. Sky Tykes is $8.99.

Pocono TreeVentures & Pocono Zip Racer

This course is perfect for beginners and pros alike since you can choose-your-own adventure based on your experience. Each of the five levels boasts tree swings, swaying bridges and tightrope walks, all at varying heights. Kids over seven can tackle most courses, but children under 12 are kept off the more difficult levels. Racing zip lines are 1,000 feet long and make you feel like you’re flying. And don’t miss the new climbing “walls” where you get to shimmy up a tree like a lumberjack. Be sure to try the new night climb this summer and zip through obstacles ‘til 11 pm, a perfect treat when the kids deserve to stay up late! Two hours on the ropes course is $46 for adults (ages 12 and up) and $41 for juniors (ages seven to 11). Add $5 per zip line ride. TruClimb is $12 per 30-minute session.

TreEscape Adventure Park at Mountain Creek

Enjoy a day (or night) of climbing along rope tunnels, rickety bridges and wooden platforms perched high in the trees of Vernon. TreEscape even offers a kids ages 4-6 a climbing area, plus night climbing excursions for any night owls in your fam. Tired from a day of climbing? Stop by the park’s clubhouse for cocktails, sandwiches and burgers. Minimum height for adventurers is 36 inches. General admission is $40 for climbers over 6 years old and $25 for climbers 4-6 years old. For non-climbers who want to cheer their squad on, admission is $20.

Tree to Tree Adventure Park

Amidst the beaches and boardwalks of the Jersey Shore lies a team-building, heart racing ziplining adventure. Tree to Tree Adventure Park features zip lines, nets, Tarzan swings, rock walls and fun for explorers of every age. Enjoy a girl’s night out with their “Zip, Sip, Hooray!” package, which combines line zipping and wine sipping. If you’re going with the whole fam, the park offers different obstacle course packages based on age group and weight, including the adults course (ages 11 and up) for $50, junior course (ages 10-13) for $40 and the kids course (ages 7-13) for $30. The zipline only course, for ages 11 and up, costs $35 per participant.

Zoom Ziplines at Mountain Creek

Not into obstacles and want just zip lines? This is the place to go. Take the two-hour guided tour, which includes four circuits (that range in length from 200 to 1,500 feet) over a mountain lake. You can also walk over a suspension bridge and take a ride in an open-air truck up to the top! Guests must be over 60 pounds and 48 inches and be able to carry their trolley (the 10 pound metal device that makes you zip!). Rates start at $59.99 for adults (14 to 64) and $49.99 (13 and under).

Minette's Angels

Garden State Partners Come Together for Minette’s Angels

It truly takes a village to put together a great event, and no one knows and appreciates that fact like our staff here at #HipNJ. In anticipation of tonight’s Minette’s Angels “Celebration of Angels” gala at The Park Savoy, we want to spotlight some kind-hearted Garden State brands and organizations that helped bring the silent auction prizes and gala swag bags to the next level.

Bella Cape by Katherine Mahony Designs

#HipNJ Silent Auction Partners

  • State Theatre New Jersey & The Heldrich (New Brunswick)
  • MPAC Performing Arts Center & Mille’s Meatballs (Morristown)
  • Papermill Playhouse and Peter’s (Millburn)
  • SOPAC and The Reservior (South Orange)
  • Katherine Mahony Designs 
  • Gotham Steel
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Lisa Battaglia 
  • Virginia Wolf NYC
  • Tervis
  • Extravagonzo 
  • Hamptons Salt Company 

Goody Bags Aren’t Just for Kids

Attendees will cap off their fun night by taking home a bag full of swag, including copies of New Jersey Family Magazine and Kind Bars!

Follow tonight’s festivities on Facebook, as we go LIVE from the Minette’s Angels red carpet!