Family travel Uncategorized

Family Tradition

Since about 2015, every Memorial Day weekend my daughter and I head down to the Jersey Shore for a one day trip. We go to celebrate her birthday and the unofficial start of summer. It’s a family tradition that we have been doing for a while and only missed 2020 due to Covid.

We always go, rain or shine. It just depends if we go on a Saturday or Sunday. This year we went on Sunday and had a wonderful time. It was a nice sunny day with perfect weather and perfect traffic.

Today we didn’t have to wake up super early like most of our trips. I didn’t even need to be on the road till 8am. As you know, I am usually hitting the road no later than 6am depending on where I am heading. Since our first stop was the Cape May County Park and Zoo. We didn’t need to leave so early since the zoo doesn’t open till 10.

We had plenty of time to relax in the morning and didn’t have to rush. By 8am we were on the road and heading to Cape May. The zoo is only about an hour and a half from my location so we were gonna arrive about 30 minutes before they opened. That’s just the way I like it since it gives me some extra time to get there and I know there would be plenty of parking.

The drive was perfect with very little traffic. We didn’t hit one spot where we slowed down. We were just cruising down the highway listen to music from Amazon Music.

I just love Amazon Music by the way. I find it to be the best option when traveling a good distance away from home. No need to change stations or listen to the same 30 songs over and over.

One major thing did happen during our drive though. My car hit 100,000 miles. I’ve owned it since December 2017 when I bought it with 5 miles on it. This car has been a lot of places so far and I hope it can go to many more. I plan to add the rest of the east coast to the list of places it’s been so far (PA, NJ, DE, MD, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, TENN, KY, IL, IN, OH, WVA, NY) by the end of summer.

By 0930 we arrived at the Cape May County Park & Zoo and got ourselves ready for the day. I made sure the DSLR had a fresh battery (probably should have done this before we left), put a new battery in the GoPro, placed water in the backpack, and grabbed some quarters.

My daughter wanted to go on the huge playground before we went in. Since we had a little bit of time , I let her go wild. There is plenty to do for kids of all ages. Plus they have so many swings, I don’t think any kid would be left out.

Around 0950 we started making our way to the zoo entrance. The zoo is free to visit and they ask for a donation. They usually have a fun way to give your donation if you choose to give one. This time they had three sets of names to pick for the new Capybara’s at the zoo. I can’t remember what the different choices were but I let my daughter pick her favorite one.

Once we entered the zoo we went right to the farm area. She really wanted to feed the goats so that is what we did. I usually forget to bring in quarters with me. However, this time I remembered and she was thrilled.

The food goes really quick. You only get a small little handful for 50 cents so you have to be careful. One of the goats would make quick work of it if you let them.

After we were done feeding the goats we started heading towards the African Savanna area. Along the way we past Bald Eagle, Flamingo’s, Camel, Alpaca’s & Llama’s, Bison, and Lions. We stopped to snap some pictures and see all the different animals. Most of them were out moving around.

However, it was either too early or hot for the lion’s. Both were just laying around but the male did get up to move to a different spot. It really depends on the time of year when we see the lion’s being pretty active.

From here we made our way up the boardwalk towards the Giraffe’s but first we stopped by the owls. Now I can not remember ever seeing the owls out. Either they are always hiding or in some back stage area. Today all of the different owls were out.

The Eurasian Eagle Owl had the greatest showing. He was pretty close to the boardwalk and was eating some breakfast. I was able to get a couple of nice photos of him. I think out of all the animals today, this was my favorite encounter.

From here we finished walking around the African Savanna and headed towards the newest addition to the zoo. We wanted to see the baby Capybara. When we crossed over the pond and near their area I didn’t see any of them. I figured they were in hiding.

It wasn’t until we walked around towards the Golden Headed Lion Tamarin that I looked back and I spotted one. Then two, then all of them. They were hiding out in the shade.

My daughter thought that the bigger one looked a little unimpressed. Well, so did I.

However, the two littler ones looked like they were enjoying themselves. They were moving about and trying to soak up a little sun. I do have to say they are cute little guys. What do you think?

From here we made our way to the Reptile & Amphibian house. My daughter is a little obsessed right now with frogs and turtles, so you know we HAD to stop in here. She was loving it so it was well worth it.

Now our time at the zoo was coming to an end. We finished checking out the rest of the animal exhibits and had to decide on our next move. Usually we head right to the Cape May Lobster House for lunch than we go to the Wildwood Boardwalk. Today we decided to switch things up and hit the boardwalk up first.

I really wanted some good boardwalk pizza. I have been missing it since last summer when I visited Seaside a couple of times last year with a friend of mine. I figured pizza for lunch and Lobster House for dinner was the right way to go.

The drive from the zoo to the boardwalk was pretty quick. With traffic it took around 20 minutes and we were lucky enough to find parking right near Morey’s Pier. It was before noon so the Pier wasn’t open yet but pretty much all of the shops were.

Our first stop was to the arcade to win some tickets and blow money on the crane machines. I don’t know why my daughter thinks she can win something from one of those machines. They are not like they were when I was a kid. Those damn machines can fully have a stuffed animal and I swear the crane arm just lets it loose.

Hopefully, she learns her lesson and just plays to the games for tickets. We have more fun doing them anyway. Plus if we remember to keep track of our tickets we could get something nice by the end of summer. Today we earned a little over 6,000. No where near what we need to get for something big but it is a start.

After our time in the arcade we started heading towards the Wildwoods sign. But first we had to pass a bunch of different shops. There are so many t-shirt shops you won’t know what to do. Of course, like anywhere, some are better than others. You just got to check out a bunch of them to find the right fit for you.

We also passed plenty of games. You know the ones I’m talking about. The kind you find at a local fair. We just kept walking and didn’t bother trying to play any. The prizes are not worth the money you put out anyway.

Now one of the reasons we come this time every year is for the kite festival. It is held every year on Memorial Day weekend. It really is a site to see. All those kites flying high in the sky . Both large and small. It really is amazing. We just love it.

We must have spent at least a half hour down this way. Between watching the kites. Taking pictures of the Wildwoods Sign and dodging the tram car.

Right here is one of the reasons why we come down each year at this time. It really makes for some great moments for my daughter and I. I just wish she would smile a little more when we take photos together. But to be fair I don’t really smile either.

At this point we were starting to get really hungry and the crowds started to pick up. Our next stop was for some food. We were still up in the air with what we were going to get. The pizza wasn’t really catching my eye.

The slices looked small and not too appetizing. I must say I was a little disappointed as I was really looking forward to that. Guess I will be making my way to Seaside much sooner than I thought.

We ended up stopping at a small little corner spot called Grab a Wiener. We didn’t get the hot dogs, although, they did look good. We got a funnel cake, fried Oreos, and a potato tornado.

They were all very good it just wasn’t the slice of pizza I was looking for. We both really enjoyed the potato tornado. The potato was nice and crispy with the perfect amount of salt.

From here we continued walking the boardwalk checking out shops and looking out over to the beach. I’m not sure if you have ever been to the beach at the Wildwood Boardwalk or not but it is not close. You have a bit of a hike on your hands when trying to get to the water from the boardwalk.

I guess that is just the trade off you have to take. The beach here is free unlike many of the other beaches in New Jersey. We rarely ever go to the beach here. The walk just isn’t worth it and the entire way you are walking in sand.

Of course, most people don’t come to Wildwood for the beach. They come to walk the boardwalk and boy is it a big one. Wildwood Boardwalk is one of the best. It is huge with tons of shops, food, games, and rides.

Morey's Pier, Wildwood, New Jersey, Boardwalk

It really is a great place to go. But our time at the boardwalk was coming to a close and we were getting ready to grab dinner at one of our favorite places, the Lobster House in Cape May. The Lobster House is only 20 minutes or so from Morey’s Pier in Wildwood depending on traffic.

It took us just about 20 minutes to get there and the parking lot was packed. Normally, we arrive just after they open and can find plenty of open spaces. Today we arrived around 4 and had to look. The parking lot is big but small and is made out of nothing but stone. We managed to find a spot and made our way in to the fish market to the take out window.

There was barely anyone inside which surprised me. We ordered our food and made our way to the back dock to grab a seat. Now there wasn’t many people inside the fish market but there were tons of people out on the dock. It seems like most of the people were waiting in line at the Raw Bar.

It took us a little bit of time to find a seat but we finally found one. Sadly, it wasn’t by the water so we will just have to try again next time. Now everything here is made to order so it takes some time for you food to come out.

We ended up ordering the Fried Lobster Dinner, Crab Cake, Fried Clams, and two desserts. In about 20 minutes or so I food was ready to be picked up at the pick up window. Everything was hot and fresh.

food at the Cape May Lobster House

The shrimp, scallops, and lobster were cooked perfectly. The crab cake is stuffed with crab meat and barely any filler. Oh and the clams. They were delicious too. Everything was so good.

I should probably try to order something different next time since I always order the same things. But why should I when this is just so good.

After our dinner we headed to Sunset Beach. If you find yourself in South Jersey and looking for a great place to watch the sunset. This is the place for you. Here you can watch the sun disappear into the water.

sunset beach cape may New Jersey

Sadly, today we wouldn’t be staying long enough to watch the sunset. My daughter was worn out at this point and ready to go home. But first we had to dip our feet in the water and snap a couple of photos. Plus she ended up collect a few rocks.

Our Family tradition lasted another year and I can’t wait to do it again next year. Of course, this won’t be our only time to Wildwood this year. We have at least one or two more trips in us before the end of summer. Heck, summer hasn’t even officially begun yet so I know we will get down here again. But first I need to head to Seaside for some pizza.

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