Of all the many times we have been to Wildwood and the surrounding area, we have yet to visit the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum, also known as the Cape May Airport Aviation Museum. (Even I find this odd because I am interested in old planes -- my favorite is North American Aviation's P-51 Mustang which saw service during WWII and the Korean Wars.)
This not-for-profit museum is located in the restored Hangar #1 where 26 vintage aircraft share 92,000 square feet of space with interactive exhibits and displays. Some of those planes include a MiG-15, a T-33 thunderbid BT-13 Valiant & F-5 Tiger -- helicopters included AH-1 Cobra and UH-1M Huey. In addition, there is a climbable air traffic control tower, a section devoted to Coast Guard and the servicemen who were charged with defending the American coastline and even a WWII 'flying' Ace Wii exhibit to have fun with. You can even sit in several of the aircrafts' cockpit and pose for a great photo!
This museum would appeal to children and adults of any age. NAS Wildwood was commissioned in the Spring of 1943 during WW II so the museum may definitely appeal to veterans of that era, but also those of more recent service. The museum also identifies part of its mission as being a memorial to 42 airmen who perished while training at this base during WWII.
The website does a marvelous job of laying out in great specifics all there is to do and see at this museum which is quite extensive. I hope to add personal photos of my own forthcoming visit there soon.
The museum's website lists the following planning information for your visit:
Hours and Fees:
April 1st thru Columbus Day
Open Daily 9 AM to 5 PM
Columbus Day thru December 1st
Open Daily 9 AM to 4 PM
December 2nd thru March 31st
Monday – Friday 9 AM to 4 PM
Saturday – Sunday Closed
Thankgiving Day – CLOSED
Christmas Eve – CLOSED
Christmas Day – CLOSED
New Year’s Eve – CLOSED
New Year’s Day – CLOSED
Adults & Seniors: $10.00
Children: 3 thru 12 $8.00
Children under 3: FREE!
Active Duty Military w/ ID: FREE!
*Military dependents must pay regular admission.
There is no fee for parking.
Address: 500 Forrestal Road, Cape May Airport, Rio Grande, NJ
AC is only 45 minutes from Wildwood. It is a nice day trip for gamblers and non-gamblers too. Their boardwalk is different than Wildwood's, not as many rides but there's the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum, the Rainforest Cafe on the Boardwalk at Trump Plaza, the Hard Rock Cafe, miniature golf, Convention Hall, and numerous places to eat. The Tropicana Casino has an IMAX theater. There are so many different all you can eat buffets at the casinos. Historic Gardner's Basin is a nice area to walk around in; the AC Aquarium is the most popular attraction there. It is a small but very nice aquarium, admission is minimal. The beaches are nice, and there are plenty of public bathrooms along the boardwalk. The annual Thunder Over the Boardwalk Airshow in August is an incredible sight over the ocean. AC keeps getting better and better.
The Wetlands Institute is a non-profit educational and research facility focused on sustaining healthy wetlands and coastal ecosystems. They offer summer nature classes and lectures, crabbing and fishing lessons, kayaking tours, aquarium feedings, seashell identification, family nights and other special events. A calendar of monthly events is available on their website. Each year they hold a 3 day Wings 'n Water Festival that highlights the educational and arts component of the Institute and also raises funds through a silent auction, turtle adoption and sales of souveniers and food items. Their aquarium, while small, features all local sea life. The black wire baskets on the ground throughout the Institute's are protecting terrapin eggs. Herons, red wingeded black birds, seagulls, and other birds are all close by, as the Institute has numerous bird houses and perches placed outside. Admission is minimal.
Cape May County Park & Zoo is located a short drive from Wildwood. It is a wonderful zoo, very nice, offers a wide range of animals, snow leopards, giraffes, an aviary, and a reptile and amphibian house. Admission is free (donation boxes are placed throughout the zoo). It has a small outdoor restaurant for lunch or just a snack, a gift shop and a large playground. There is a carousel and a train ride for younger children. You can pack a lunch and eat at the many pavillions or picnic tables that are stationed before you enter the zoo. We go a few times a year, and they are constantly upgrading the facility. If you need a day away from the beach, or even a few hours, it is a nice place to visit. It is located on Route 9 and Crest Haven Road, easily accessed from the Garden State Parkway (exit 11). Open daily 10 am - 4:45 pm in the summer.
Lots of great fishing off of the New Jersey coast all summer long. You can rent a boat or go out on one of the numerous charter boats. Flounder, sea bass, striper, sea robins, tuna, dolphin, drumfish, just to name some.
The Cape May Lighthouse was built in 1859 the tower stands157 1/2 feet tall. Open for tours daily and is a fun day out, a good way to wear out the young ones and gettem tired too.
open daily 8-4pm May-Nov
Lighthouse Ave, Cape May Point, NJ 08212
Adults $5.00 children 3-12 $1.00
Wildwood has been attracting Irish University students for decades now. Over the years I've gotten to know my share and besides a well deserved reputation as hearty partiers, they also enjoy one as hard workers who never miss a shift now matter how late they may have been out the night before. Having to save money for school, they live as cheaply as possible and cheap accomodation is never the best in this resort town. The sections of town that they tend to live in can be run down and not quite up to snuff with what they may be used to at home. They often jokingly refer to the neighborhood as 'the Irish ghetto.' Here's a typical place which even features the Ulster Fry, a typical breakfast in Northern Ireland.
A pirate themed cruise around Sunset Lake, great for kids ages up to about 10 years old. We enjoyed it, the kids loved it. Be prepared to battle!
Wildwood has one of the widest and firmest beaches I've ever encountered, just perfect for some jamming. For more jams, check out the travelogues.