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Family Weekend at Morey’s Piers in Wildwood, New Jersey

Where to sleep, play and eat - in Doo Wop style!

By Holly Rosen Fink, GoGirlfriend contributor

Ever since Hurricane Sandy, I've been following Governor Chris Christie's revitalization efforts in Wildwood, New Jersey and I recognize the importance of tourism to the area this summer. My husband and I have been looking for a unique place to take our kids and looked like a good fit - good family fun and a way to give back to a struggling community.

I knew without hesitation that my kids would love the experience as well. Two full days of old-fashioned rides offering repeated thrills, over and over and over again - what kid wouldn't love that?

retro themed fun at Morey's Piersretro themed fun at Morey's PiersAs a lover of pop culture and nostalgia, I knew Wildwood would feed my obsession of retro nostalgia (beginning in the 1950's when leisure time blossomed for many families).This new-found vitality changed Wildwood's landscape, bringing innovative architecture, tropical themes, colors and spaceship imagery to the area. This retro movement was coined "Doo Wop" and has been maintained - there's even a preservation league founded to highlight the era. The rides and boardwalk leading to Morey's Piers still maintain the same retro feel they did 40 years ago, from the moment you arrive in town - from the signs to the music playing in the shops. We heard everything from Frank Sinatra to the Beach Boys.

Getting doo-wop inspired

As soon as we pulled up to our hotel, the Starlux Boutique Hotel, I knew the weekend was going to meet my expectations. This Doo Wop (mid-century) inspired, boutique hotel is within walking distance to restaurants, beach and the famous Boardwalk. It's part of the official 2-mile Doo Wop strip of 50 retro hotels and motels in Wildwood (many owned by Morey's Piers). You can book rooms/suites or Airstreams, mini trailers, all equipped with a mini-fridge, microwave, coffee maker, cable TV, free Wi-Fi and a lava lamp. 

where to stay in New Jerseywhere to stay in New JerseyThe Starlux isn't fancy, but it's clean and suitable for families or vacationing couples, for short or long-term visits. Amenities include continental breakfast, arcade, swimming pool (under pseudo palm trees), hot tub and it's within walking distance to a retro-themed diner called Marvis (where we enjoyed a hearty breakfast) and an ice-cream shop across the road. Best of all, it's just one block away from the boardwalk and is quiet and relatively inexpensive. Located at 305 East Rio Grande Avenue, contact them at 609-522-7412 or check them out on Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor.

More than just an amusement park

Morey's Piers & Beachfront Waterparks has been around since 1969 and is operated by second generation Morey Brothers, Will and Jack. It's clearly a passion as each of the three piers embodies a bit of the past and present. It has over 100 rides and attractions and includes three amusement piers and two beachfront water parks. A $3 tramcar ride connects everything. Between the three piers you'll find touristy shops, tattoo parlors, arcades and a smorgasbord of junk food joints (everything from pizza to french fries to ice-cream and more).

things to do in Wildwood, NJthings to do in Wildwood, NJThe boardwalk overlooking the Atlantic Ocean (remarkably) wasn't damaged during Sandy so they were ready to open this summer in full gusto. As we wandered from pier to pier, from ride to ride, my kids glowed. There was nothing but pure excitement in their quest for the best rides. From Surfside Pier, Mariner's Landing, Adventure Pier, and the Ocean Oasis Waterpark and Beach Club, and Raging Waters water parks, we rode roller coasters, hopped on their famous Ferris Wheel (the Shore's biggest), braved a haunted house, spun around in tea cups, shot down water slides and more. It was a weekend created for my kids, who happen to be little thrill-seekers. Visit Mariner's Landing Pier, read their reviews on TripAdvisor or connect with them on Facebook or Twitter.

The lowdown on Morey's Piers

Need an excuse for a family vacation? Here are all the reasons you should head to Morey's Piers:

welcome to Wildwoodswelcome to WildwoodsSafety - Before each ride employees test each ride before the park opens each morning and take extra pre-caution to make sure everyone's buckled in. Lifeguards in the water parks were all eyes and ears, bobbing their heads in a robotic motion to check everything out (you must see this to believe it).

Cleanliness - The boardwalk and piers are spotless. The Morey's employ enough staff members to not only look after its patrons but to ensure clean conditions at all times.

Food - I won't lie, the food here is standard amusement park greasy BUT there are other options. Joe's Fish Co. serves excellent fish and seafood, grilled or fried, and the just opened Soggy Dollar Beach Bar in the Ocean Oasis Waterpark features healthy food options and open-air ocean views. You can even eat breakfast 15 stories in the air as part of Morey's Piers' Breakfast in the Sky program or hit Cap'n Jack's Island Grill, where you can enjoy beer and wine on the boardwalk.

water parks at Morey's Pierswater parks at Morey's PiersartBOX - Even this culture-loving mom found culture in Wildwood with Morey's Piers' new artistic venture. artBOX, the first-of-its kind, is a 10,000 square foot interactive artist's village crafted from re-purposed shipping containers. Located on Adventure Pier, artBOX features handpicked local and regional artists showcasing paintings, handmade crafts and live demonstrations that include surf art, glass blowing, artisanal jewelry and speed painting. The shipping container colony also features an Exit Zero Museum Shop, carrying a collection of merchandise and nostalgic Wildwood and Jersey Cape memorabilia and Café 4B that serves fresh sushi. My kids were mesmerized by a glass blowing demonstration and we even caught a real artist showcasing his art (pictured above).

Tech - I've never visited an amusement park with Wifi everywhere we went. In addition, Morey's is featuring new interactive benches with QR codes unveiling Morey's Piers history when guests scan codes using their smartphone and the launch of a new ride app.

amusement park rides in New Jerseyamusement park rides in New JerseyCost effective tickets - Day passes $52 for those over 54 inches tall, $50 for guests 48 to 54 inches tall and $42 for guests under 48 inches. Season passes are $450 for those over 42 inches and $325 for those under.

International feel - Morey's brings in students from more 30 countries to work in the parks and it's typical to be served by someone from India, Singapore or Brazil all in the same day. The guy who made our funnel cake was from India and I suspect was introduced to the land of greasy food only after arriving here.

A visit to Wildwood was more than a treat for all of us. I won't soon forget the priceless looks on my kid's faces, and more importantly, I know that our visit to Wildwood was good for the Jersey Shore.

Holly's stay was hosted by Morey's Piers. Commentary and perspectives are her own.  

Have you ever visited Morey's Pier? Find us on Twitter or Facebook and let's start talking!

About Holly Rosen Fink

Holly Rosen Fink ~ @theCultureMomHolly Rosen Fink ~ @theCultureMomHolly Rosen Fink is a Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, Branding and Social Media expert with over 15 years experience increasing brand awareness and sales at leading publishing houses and media companies.  She is the founder of TheCultureMom.com and has been a contributor to is a current  contributor to This Girl Travels, Ciao Bambino, Family Vacation Critic, The Broad Side and Women & Hollywood.

Last year she edited Come Closer: How Tourism is Shaping the Future of Nations and associate produced the off-off-Broadway hit The Best of Everything and the NYC production of Listen to Your Mother.

Catch up with Holly online:

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