family-friendly atlantic city

Atlantic City might not come to mind as a family destination vacation for everyone (you know, with all the gambling & smoke-filled casinos & drunken Boardwalk gallavanting), but I thought I’d put out a little pitch in the Jersey Shore’s favor while our vacation is still fresh in my mind.  We?  Had a great time as a family in Atlantic City.  Sure, slots & black jack were played.  Yes, drinks were consumed.  Of course, second-hand smoke was everywhere.
But all that aside, Atlantic City really is a great place for a family with small children to go on vacation.  There is no shortage of stuff to see and do, and by staying in a hotel on the Boardwalk you never have to leave the safety of a well-lit, vehicle-free place for your kid to run around.  We didn’t hit up every possible family attraction, but a few that I’d recommend include the following:
The water show at the Pier Shops at Caesar’s.  A free light show in the big fountain at the end of the first floor of the mall, every hour starting at noon.  We went on our last full day of vacation, and I ended up wishing we had gone earlier because I think Natalie would have been happy to go back and see the show again and again throughout our trip.  I got these (and tons more) shots of the water from the two shows I saw:

Other stuff to check out of course includes the beach–a wide open expanse of soft white sand, full of shells and rocks.  The water was still way too cold for more than just toe-dipping, but I’m sure in the summer it is a great spot for real ocean swimming. 
Walking the Boardwalk & riding in the little push-cart taxis filled a lot of our time, too.  Natalie loved running from bench to bench and dancing her way by all of the shops and restaurants. 
Some other fun attractions for kids that we checked out and loved included one of the Boardwalk arcades (go-karts, skee-ball, claw machine games, and more), Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum, and the Rainforest Cafe.  We didn’t have a chance to visit the Aquarium or Storybook Land, both of which I think Natalie will love on a future visit.
I don’t mean to be writing an advertisement for Atlantic City, but I just had to share all the family-friendly options that are there.  I think we got more than a few raised eyebrows over our choice to vacation there, but it really seemed like a great mix of adult-fun and activities catered to kids.  We’ll definitely be going back! 
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