My family loves Jenkinson’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. The aquarium is a small, privately owned aquarium right off the boardwalk. During peak season (summer months) we visit once or twice, but during the off-season we are regulars. We are, in fact, so regular that my kids can tell the animals apart by given name at a glance; and the marmoset monkeys are the proud owners of our old baby toys!
At first glance the aquarium is small, but upon a deeper look it is just big enough for a family with varied ages to spend a few hours. It is just enough to keep my preschooler and toddler spell-bound without becoming overwhelming. On an average day there is little to no crowding. It is stroller friendly, however it does have two floors and no elevator, per se. Instead it has a wheelchair lift right next to the stairs. If you are bringing a stroller you either have to park and leave it on the first floor (to date I do this without hesitation even during peak season) or fold it and carry it upstairs.
Jenkinson’s staff is highly knowledgeable and always willing to share their knowledge if asked. As a mom whose priority is education, Jenkinson’s website is always a great springboard for our trips. Prior to our visits we try to go online and visit the penguin camera and print off the age-appropriate educational activities.
Despite it’s small size, it is packed with creatures of fascination. Some of the animals that you will find are penguins, seals, Atlantic and Pacific sharks, Alligators, coral reef fish, turtles and more.
Feeding schedules are posted on the way into the facility and on the website. We try to plan our visits around who is eating and what time during the day. The seal and penguin feedings are regular favorites in our household.
The Touch Tank is another place children love to visit. There is always a staff member present who is willing to help even the shyest of children (or adults) brave the tank. Recently we saw a horseshoe crab swimming upside down while in the tank. This odd behavior fascinated my preschooler. When you visit be sure to look into the tank and ask the staff why the horseshoe crab does this. The answer was surprising.