14 Fun Finds To Keep You Busy This Winter

Spa days, sparring, stars and more await you at these fun finds.

CoCo Key Water Resort at the Hotel ML
915 Route 73, Mount Laurel
This three-story indoor water park brings the illusion of summer to the crossroads of the New Jersey Turnpike and busy Route 73 at Exit 4. The largest of the water slides has a covered outdoor switchback from the top floor to the ground. Attractions include a lazy tubing river, a rope swing, set of lily pads and a 300-gallon water bucket that dumps onto the pools below. For adults, there’s an indoor-outdoor hot tub; toddlers have their own area of mini-slides and pools. The adjacent Hotel ML offers overnight packages.—RS

Drone Academy
99 Route 202 South, Ringoes
Three years ago, this 15-acre facility became the state’s first training school focusing on unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. Adults and children ages 10 and up are invited to take classes on how to build, control and program drones, as well as learn basic flight control on a simulator. Classes are two hours per week for four weeks at $250-$300.—SV

Edelman Planetarium
Rowan University, Glassboro

Illustration by Katy Docktrill

Go celestial at the Jean and Ric Edelman Planetarium at Rowan University, located in the center of campus in Science Hall. Stargazers can observe the night sky through telescopes during the free, bimonthly open houses, learn about astronomy at educational presentations, or enjoy a laser show with music and abstract imagery. The planetarium also hosts movie screenings and themed events throughout the year. Admission $3–5.—JK

Field Station Dinosaurs
40 Fort Lee Road, Leonia

Photo courtesy of Field Station Dinosaurs

More than 30 life-size dinosaurs, including the velociraptor, triceratops and New Jersey’s own Hadrosaurus, turn Overpeck County Park into a virtual Jurassic Park. A team of paleontologists, engineers and roboticists has ensured that the animated creatures look as realistic as possible, transporting you roughly 90 million years into the past. Open May 26-November 11; general admission $15-$21.50.—AE

Lily Yip Table Tennis Center
370 North Avenue, Dunellen
Everyone from kids to world champs plays at this table-tennis hot spot run by two-time Olympian Lily Yip. The center clicks with activity at 24 tables on two floors. Offerings include ping-pong robots, open-play hours, leagues, tournaments, camps, weekly clinics, lessons and private parties. Arrive without a partner, and the friendly staff will pair you with someone at a similar level. Open daily; check website for hours and activities.—MG

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
149 Polito Avenue, Lyndhurst

Photo courtesy of Medieval Times

Medieval Spain comes to life inside the walls of an ersatz 11th-century castle. During a two-hour jousting tournament, six knights sheathed in armor wield swords, lances and shields in mock battle. Spectators sup on a four-course meal of tomato bisque, roasted chicken, corn, potatoes and a pastry. Sorry, there was no silverware in the Middle Ages. You’ll have to eat with your hands. General admission $62.95 for adults; $36.95 for children 12 and under.—JK

Montclair Film
505 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair
The local film festival­, entering its sixth year, now has a physical home for year-round programming in a former Investors Bank building in the heart of downtown. Classic and independent films and documentaries are shown in the comfortable, 68-seat screening room. A new program, titled 505 Films + Friends, targets special-needs teens and young adults. Film-related classes are geared for teens and adults, and kid-friendly movies are featured on weekend afternoons. Regular screening tickets: $12 for members; $14 general public. —KS

New York Red Bulls
Cape May Street, Harrison
From the home opener in March through the end of the regular season in October, soccer fans in crimson garb flood the 25,000-seat Red Bulls Arena. Got kids? For three hours before each home match in the BULLevard, a children’s activity center, you can watch freestyle ball-trick performances, play three-on-three games or try to beat the best times of the Red Bulls players in a dribbling course. During the game, look to the South Ward for the Viking Army, a group of boisterous fans who chant the entire 90 minutes. Parking in nearby lots costs $10-$20. The Harrison PATH station is one block from the arena.—JK

495 US 202, Flemington
You can’t climb aboard the world’s largest miniature railroad, with more than eight miles of track and 40-plus bridges, but you can walk through its 16-plus acres. Wear comfortable shoes and bring binoculars to check out the details in the villages, landscapes and bridges (the stars of the show). It’s all the work of one man, Bruce Williams, an award-winning computer game designer and concert musician (you can catch him playing the pipe organ that’s also part of this eclectic museum). Northlandz also houses a collection of more than 200 dolls, a 94-room dollhouse and an outdoor train ride. This 35-year labor of love is an amazing place, but it’s starting to show its age. —JS

Pequest Trout Hatchery
605 Pequest Road, Oxford
Learn about trout and see how they’re raised during a self-guided tour at this state-owned and -operated hatchery, which has been producing trout to stock New Jersey’s public lakes and waters for more than 35 years. Up to 700,000 trout are hatched here each year. The Natural Resource Education Center is open for visits year-round, but the best time to see the hatchery in action is October through May.—SV

Rizzo’s Wildlife World
1 Gold Mine Road, Flanders
Rizzo’s has presented reptile shows at birthday parties, libraries and various events since 2003. In the fall of 2016, the operation expanded with the opening of an education center, Rizzo’s Wildlife World, where more than 150 animals are housed. Here visitors can enjoy hands-on wildlife experiences and educational demonstrations with turtles and caimans, snakes and lizards, frogs and toads, chinchillas and more.—SV

SoJo Spa Club
660 River Road, Edgewater

Photo courtesy of Sojo Spa Club

With eight floors of pampering, including saunas, a therapy pool, a foot-massage walk, a water slide, and an open-air, heated rooftop infinity pool, it’s easy to spend all day at this indoor/outdoor oasis. The facility is open daily from 9 am to midnight. All-day admission is $50 on weekdays and $60 on weekends and holidays now through March 19. Children under 13 are not permitted. Spa treatments, such as deep-muscle, heated-stone and couples massages, can be added. Facials, manicures, pedicures and full-body waxing are also available. Coming soon is the volcanic sand bath, thought to improve circulation and rid the body of impurities. Guests are buried up to their necks in open-air pits filled with warm, black sand heated by underground hot springs. Want to make it an overnight getaway? No problem; SoJo has a 30-room hotel. —JK

The Vault
150 S. White Horse Pike, Berlin
This 100-seat performance space is the home of Haddonfield resident Graham Alexander’s collection of memorabilia documenting the legacy of the Victor Co., a recording label and studio, which once flourished in Camden. Concerts are staged most Fridays and Saturdays. Before the shows, Alexander shows off the collection, which includes 10,000 master recordings and acetates by legendary artists such as Enrico Caruso, Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra. “We want people to know the history of recording in Camden,” says Alexander’s partner, Keith Hohing.—RS

Visual Arts Center of New Jersey
68 Elm Street, Summit
Explore your creative side at this 80-year-old cultural treasure. The center hosts diverse art exhibits and offers hands-on classes, one- and two-day workshops, studio time and a mentorship program for artists. Winter classes for kids and adults at various skill levels include ceramics, digital media, fiber and painting.—DPC

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