Believe it or not, there’s more to New Jersey’s Southern Shore than beaches, bays, boardwalks, and dining. There are plenty of rainy day indoor activities for those rare occasions when outdoor activities are nearly impossible, but what about outdoor attractions for those who want to go beyond the salt life during the day? We’ve got the ticket!
Two of the newer unique attractions in the area are in the Jersey Cape. Opened in 2020, Revolution Rail, which leaves from the site of Cape May Seashore Lines on Lafayette Street in Cape May, is a guided railbiking tour that takes rail bikers four miles around the Garrett Family Reserve, which is part of the Cape May Nature Conservancy. During the two-hour tour, pedalers witness some spectacular landscapes and encounter songbirds, raptors, butterflies, and other wildlife over wooded areas and wildflower meadows.
Revolution Rail rides leave every two hours during the day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and during the height of the tourism season there are additional tours at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. At 8:30 p.m., there is a Full Moon Ride. Revolution Rail lights up the rail bikes and takes riders to a picnic area near the Cape May Canal, where participants are encouraged to bring snacks (and drinks), and swap stories about ghosts, pirates and the Jersey Devil. The cost to use Revolution Rail is $80 for a two-seat rail bike, and $140 for a quad (four-seater).
While Revolution Rail is certainly a lower-body workout, an activity that uses the entire body is Tree to Tree, on the campus of the Cape May County Zoo in Cape May Court House. As the name suggests, participants go from tree to tree via zipline, Tarzan swings, moving bridges, ladders, and monkey bars. Tree to Tree’s color-coded courses are geared for adventurers ages seven and older. The cost to participate in the adult course (ages 11 and older) is $50. The juniors course, ages 10 to 13, is $40, and the kids’ course (ages seven to 13) is $30. A zipline only adventure, for ages 11 and older, is one course that includes five ziplines (which can be done twice) for $35. Tree to Tree is also a great team-building activity that helps build communication, trust, and teamwork among participants. Reservations may be made online and it is open from April through November. Visit www.treetotreecapemay.com to book all events.
Since Tree to Tree is located in the Cape May County Park and Zoo, it would be a mistake not to visit the Cape May County Zoo. This local gem opened in 1978 and has grown immensely since its opening with one African lion, some spider monkeys, and some barnyard animals. Today, the Cape May County Zoo covers about 200 wooded acres and is home to more than 500 animals and more than 250 species. The walk through the zoo covers about two miles along mostly shaded walkways, and visitors will delight at seeing the large array of animals, including camels, giraffes, lions, bison, alpacas, bears, tamarin, cheetahs, otters, zebras, pandas, and more. There’s a building dedicated to reptiles, another to birds, and an African Savanna to delight visitors. There is no admission fee and the zoo is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. throughout the year.
About an hour north, at Bridgeton City Park (just off Route 55), is the Cohanzick Zoo. This free zoo, which opened in 1934 and bills itself as “New Jersey’s first zoo,” is a delightful way to spend an afternoon. Pack a lunch, enjoy a beautiful setting and then wander the zoo grounds that are home to more than 45 species of animals, including birds, fox, a Bengal tiger, cougar, pig, porcupine, marmoset, an Asian black bear, and min-donkey. This free attraction is open every day from 9 a.m until 5 p.m.
If you get the opportunity, take advantage of one of these attractions and explore more of New Jersey’s Southern Shore!