Whether visiting for the day or on vacation, Atlantic City has more to offer than casinos. Much of the action takes place around or at the area of the boardwalk and beach.
I gathered a list of nine things to do in Atlantic City other than gamble when visiting.
The Atlantic City Boardwalk was first built in 1870 is the first and longest boardwalk in the world. Developed by Alexander Boardman, its purpose was to keep sand out of shoreline trains and resort hotels but now the four-mile long stretch hosts a multitude of things to see and do.
On a nice day, some visitors delight in taking a long walk on the boardwalk and taking in the views of the ocean, while others appreciate the variety of food vendors and shops lining the walkway. You can stop to play carnival-type games, eat salt water taffy or funnel cakes, have a drink at a pub, and browse gift shops.
Most beaches in New Jersey require an admission fee, but Atlantic City's is free. This alone makes the beach an ideal choice for visitors.
The Atlantic City beach is known for its cleanliness and has plenty of space allowing you to spread out to relax, sunbathe, or read a book. Or hit the waves and enjoy boogie boarding, wind surfing, kayaking, body boarding, or surfing.
The beach has facilities which include changing rooms as well as showers on-site. Summer hours for lifeguard duty are 10am to 6pm daily.
If you decide to stop at the beach without prior planning, you can grab a bathing suit and all the water sports gear you could need in one of the shops on the boardwalk.
YYou can also take a walk along the seashore to find seashells or try your hand at fishing.
If you're visiting Atlantic City during the operating season, spend some time at the Steel Pier Amusement Park. They're open weekends beginning Memorial Day and all week starting in June.
In the past thousands of people would visit daily to see famous performers such as Frank Sinatra and the Beatles.
But in 1970's it was destroyed by a fire and had to be rebuilt.
Steel Pier Amusement Park has a midway-style, where visitors find both rides and carnival games and adults can recapture their youth by playing and riding their childhood favorites.
Some popular rides include the Ferris wheel, Slingshot, the Mix, the Drop, and the Rock-n-Roll. While taking a turn on these rides, visitors can capture great views of the Ocean and shoreline or you can catch a helicopter ride to get the most of the surrounding scenery.
YYou can purchase tickets by the book or by the single to use the rides. Books range from $40-$60 and single are only $1. Wristbands are available for $30-$40 and include unlimited rides, but helicopter rides and special attractions cost extra.
Not far from the boardwalk, Absecon Lighthouse stands at 171 feet. It's the third tallest lighthouse in the U.S. and the tallest in New Jersey. They offer free admission to military personnel and leashed dogs are welcomed in the museum and on the grounds.
The lighthouse was built back in 1857 and visitors can see the tall black-and-white sculpture of the lighthouse from much of the strip.
Climb the 228 steps of Absecon Lighthouse to for a view of the ocean and city. If you don't like heights or stairs, viewing the structure alone is worth the visit.
Visitors enjoy frequent shows and art exhibits while here.
HHours of operation are known to vary but are normally Thursday through Monday from 11am to 4pm. Fees for adults are $7, children aged 4-12 years is $4, and children under the age of 4 is free.
While in Atlantic City, discover and explore Gardner's Basin, home to boating, fishing, dolphin watching cruises, unique shops, waterfront dining, and crafters village. Visitors also enjoy sightseeing when at Gardner's Basin.
The Atlantic City Aquarium sits at the north end of the boardwalk, at Gardner's Basin. Their hours of operation are 10am to 5pm daily. They're closed for the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. The cost for an adult admission is eight dollars and children are four dollars.
Adults and children take pleasure in spending the day here with interactive exhibits such as touching coral and creatures such as stingrays and sharks. You can also relax while taking in the sights of the moon jellies, piranhas, iguanas, and terrapins.
Between the hours of 11am to 2pm there's a twenty-minute exotic animal presentation. Some animals they display include a bearded dragon lizard, tarantula, or 6-foot boa.
The animal handlers will then discuss the creature's sustainability as a pet, native behavior, predatory instinct, natural defenses, and more. Visitors of the show have a chance to ask questions throughout the show.
AAnother show visitors can attend is a stingray feeding. This show is presented at from 12pm and 3pm daily. Visitors may purchase special food at the front desk of the Aquarium.
Atlantic City is home to a number of museums including Ripley's Believe It or Not, Atlantic City Historical Museum, New Jersey Korean War Memorial, and African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey.
Admission is free at the Atlantic City Historical Museum and while there you research the history of Atlantic City.
Several exhibits are offered for visitors to enjoy viewing online while at this museum. Some of which include March 1962 Storm, Nucky's Empire: The Prohibition Years, Atlantic City Experience: 100 Years in the Garden Pier, The Magic of Kentucky Avenue, and Atlantic City Historical Markers Map.
At the Atlantic City Free Public Library some materials and artifacts are unique which is why they're available in the Alfred M. Heston Room and only by advance appointment. The library also has information and exhibits on the history of Atlantic City that don't require an appointment and is free to the public.
RRipley's Believe It or Not houses two unique attractions for visitors, The Odditorium and The Vault Laser Maze Challenge. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 11am to 8pm, Saturday from 10am to 9pm, and Sunday from 10am to 8pm. Ticket prices are $10.99 for a child and $16.99 for an adult for the Odditorium. The Vault Laser Race is $3 to play once or for two plays its $5.
"The Quarter" at the Tropicana gives visitors a trip back in time to the Old Havana and is the largest expansion for nongaming in Atlantic City.
During the day, visitors enjoy a unique experience. The Tropicana provides a themed entertainment venue and you can dine at top-rated restaurants which include Cuba Libre, P.F. Changs, and The Palm Restaurant.
With more than thirty Atlantic City shops available, almost anything you want can be found. Some shops include Zephyr Gallery, Swarovski, Step Up, A Time for Wine, and Marshall Rousso.
But by night, "The Quarter" becomes a place where visitors are in paradise.
Evenings are romantic and tropical with streets of cobblestone and a blue-sky view.
AAlso, the Tropicana Quarter houses Atlantic City's most lavish spa. Stop at Bluemercury Spa Atlantic City for a day pampering and relaxation. They offer therapeutic massages for singles and couples, oxygen facials, luxury body treatments, and more. Hours of operation are 9am to 8pm daily.
On rainy or chilly days stay inside for a blockbuster movie at Tropicana's IMAX Theatre. The IMAX is able to host up to 280 guests.
Images are crystal clear and can go as large as 5 1/2 stories high. The images combined with digital surround sound makes you feel like you're standing right in the middle of the action.
The 3D at the IMAX uses the most sophisticated 3D film technology available today and 3D images come to life with the polarized glasses provided to each viewer.
This IMAX Theater is the only movie theater available in the Atlantic City area. Also, they're Southern New Jersey's only Giant Screen Certified IMAX.
The Tropicana IMAX Theatre is well known for cleanliness and friendly staff. Their seating is comfortable and relaxing for viewing a blockbuster Hollywood movie.
TTickets are available for purchase in-person or online. IMAX Theatre customers pay only five dollars parking fee. Check with the Tropicana IMAX Theater for current shows and times as well as ticket prices.
Whatever the reason for your trip to Atlantic City, there's no lack of interesting things to do while visiting AC. No matter the weather, there's always something going on inside and out.
Of course, no trip to Atlantic City is complete without stopping and eating some salt water taffy from Fralinger's. These two-inch candies are available in sixteen different flavors.
You can find more things to do at Atlantic City's visitor information site.