an overnighter in family friendly AC

28 Jun

My daughter just turned 12 and it’s so bittersweet. My baby is an amazing young lady and I love watching her grown and learn and grow. She drives me crazy….mainly because she is at that ditzy pre-teen phase but also because we are so dang alike.

I am gearing up for the wonderful teen years ahead!! I wonder what we will both be like at the end of that process.

So, when Jenn and Karen invited me for a “family friendly” overnighter-blogger event at Harrah’s Casino & Hotel, I sort of jumped at the chance.  I must admit, I was sort of skeptical about AC being a family friendly town.

YES, I live right outside of AC but I have never really thought of it as a spot for a family vacation.  I also have never spent the night in any of the casinos so this was a treat.


FRIDAY NIGHT’: arrival and tour


My husband had to work so it was just me and my girl and her girlfriend. I won some serious mom points for this overnighter.  We arrived in AC after dinner (we still had school and as a teacher, I really could not take a Friday off that close to the end of the year) and the parking garage was packed. We parked way up on the roof….the perfect photo op!!

Yes, we packed like we were going to be away from home for weeks!

IMG00795-20110610-2041 IMG00801-20110610-2055

The nicest ladies checked us into the hotel.  And then we found our way up to our room on the 19th floor. It was a pretty slammin’ hotel room.  We settled in, then searched out Jenn for some swag.  Let me tell you a casino is the worst place to try and work a phone a a dying battery. The casino fortress of secuirty killed my signal so therefore killed my battery. Now, try finding a person in a hotel with 5 different towers all named very similarly. Oh yeah, the elevators only go to certain floors.

But we were on an adventure!! 020  And we found Jenn! Jenn hooked us up with swag – a bucket & shovel for the beach, a basket loaded with goodies for each girl, a tote bag full of snacks like goldfish & milano cookies, and a water bottle and other games.

The girls were hooked up!! We had so much stuff we had to go back to the room to drop it all off.


And then we went on another adventure. The girls wanted to go swimming but we found out the Family Fun Center was only open until 7pm. I won’t lie, the girls were a little bummed, they wanted to play some arcades and swim.

We settled for a trip to the lower level of some people watching and …


A Ben & Jerry’s in the hotel lobby was a big winner. We sat at the counter facing out to the main “hallway” and watched the grown up people head for the  Harrah’s Pool – a totally adult only club with a pool in the middle.  The girls (ok, me too) were fascinated with the clothing (or lack of) worn by clubgoers.  There wasn’t much else for us to – it was a Friday night. But my girls are 12 and not ready for bed.

We wandered and checked out the casino and the club – the girls were so annoyed…here was this awesome looking pool for adults only and there were NO adults in the pool…they simply could not understand what the heck is wrong with grown ups.

We went up to the room. I needed my beauty sleep. The girls, however, took complete advantage of a way cool hotel room and some swag/entertainment. I put in my earbuds and let Adele sing me to sleep. The girls played until the wee hours of the morning.

SATURDAY: exploring

IMG00807-20110611-0643I woke up at 5am to go for a run on the treadmill in the hotel’s fitness center. I was glad for the treadmill since I really did not want to run 4 miles in that neighborhood by myself so early in the morning.  It sort of was perfect fate because the 4 mile treadmill run was something I had never done and it was so hard. It was a great way to start my day in AC.  I went back to the room and found this….IMG00812-20110611-0748

Aren’t they cute!

I looked over the agenda for the day.

10 o’clock – 3Da movie at the iMax at the Tropicana

11 o’clock – a boat cruise around the inlet

12noon – lunch at Scales

1pm – AC Aquarium

I am tired just writing that out.  I knew there would be no way to leave the hotel make it across town, park at Tropicana, get to the movie theater, watch movie, get back to car, drive across town again and be at Gardner’s Basin for the boat cruise in time.

I did the democratic thing. I let the girls choose the movie or the boat ride.

The chose the boat ride!

Good thing we didn’t try to do both. The bloggers that went to the movie did not make it to the boat…I believe they went later.

IMG00818-20110611-1129The boat…oh it was not the best day for a boat ride. I love being out on the water so me and my girls were fine and enjoyed the ride but I felt bad for the visitors from Pennsylvania (they were on the first trip to the ocean).   The girls stayed up at the front of the boat the entire trip. The got wet a few times!! IMG00819-20110611-1137

*A view of the AC Lighthouse from the boat!*


After any boat ride, I am always hungry so it was a good thing lunch was right there on the next dock from where the boat launched. 

AND they were ready for us! We had pre-ordered so it didn’t take long for our lunch to arrive.  I only wish more of the bloggers at this blogger event were at the lunch.

After lunch we hit the aquarium. Atlantic City has a little aquarium in the Historic Gardner’s Basin section of town. 



The girls had a blast looking at all the fish and crabs and jellyfishes.  They liked petting the sharks and spent quite a bit of time doing just that. The tore through most of the aquarium in short time but kept coming back to the shark touch tank. They even got to see a baby shark. The baby was only 4 days old.

The girls had a fun day and by 2:30 we were headed home.



Atlantic City is a town with something for everyone. Yep, everyone. There are activities to entertain you and your children. I never thought of Atlantic City as a family vacation spot and I am still not convinced that it is. There are ways to entertain your children and if you get a nanny you can really enjoy the nightlife that Atlantic City has to offer.  AC is family friendly during the daytime and early evening hours but after it is still a party town.

Atlantic City is making great improvements in this area. There are new places and activities and entertainment always being added. A 3-day music festival is in the works. I heard rumors that AC might bring back a hockey league and maybe if the powers that be in AC are listening, they will bring back some baseball and fireworks.

I am so glad I was lucky enough to be invited to visit Atlantic City and see it in a whole new light. I see the strides Atlantic City has made to be a family friendly resort.  Beaches, boardwalk, and a boat rides….if AC remembers that the 3 B’s are just as important as the Casinos, then AC will be fine. AC can be a family friendly destination, but the visitor has to seek it out a bit because the casinos would rather you never leave their walls.


Disclosure: I was provided with a hotel room and swag and entrance to the boat cruise and aquarium (I paid for my own Ben & Jerry’s, parking, and lunch) for my participation in this blogger event. All thought and opinion are completely my own (I did get some input from the girls)


4 Responses to “an overnighter in family friendly AC”

  1. ragemichelle June 28, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    Wow..that was such a nice read! Just what I needed after a long stressful day!

  2. Nadine June 29, 2011 at 5:20 am #

    what a FUN weekend! and what a great experience for your daughter and her friend!

  3. Bari July 1, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    Super fun!

  4. Shannon {Discipline Project} July 8, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Thanks for the write-up. I live in NJ and never would think to bring my kids to AC except for a concert. I often wonder why ppl bring kids to Vegas, too. But I guess if you take the time to find family-friendly activities, they are there.

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