I’m sure you’ve heard that thing about how many native New Yorkers have never been to the Empire State Building. Sometimes I think about a Jersey equivalent and wonder how many New Jerseyans have never been to the Jersey Shore.

You’d think it couldn’t be many. Yet whatever the number I shouldn’t judge. I started taking note of well-known places around the Garden State that I never visited and I came up with a list.

New Jersey beach sand vacation getaway

I was born and raised in Union County, but I have lived all over the state and was near enough to the seven things that made my list. Cape May County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Somerset County and Hunterdon County have all been my home at one point or another.

So shame on me for never having taken the time to see one of the following places.

Lucy The Elephant

Dennis Malloy/Townsquare Media
Dennis Malloy/Townsquare Media

The iconic structure made to look like an elephant and standing six stories tall has only been around since 1882. I mean don’t rush me on this! And when I worked at a radio station in Atlantic City in my 20’s one of the first things I was asked several times was, “Have you seen Lucy The Elephant yet!?”

Like it was some rite of passage before being allowed in some secret society. I never had any desire, and I was living right there.

Pine barrens

Sunlight in spruce forest in the fog on the background of mountains, at sunset

After all the folklore on the Jersey Devil and all the rude jokes about how Pineys live I never once ventured into the deep of it. It certainly wasn’t fear. I probably would have found it fascinating.

And I kind of like the thought of going off the grid. It just never occurred to me to go. However, had “The Sopranos” Pine barrens episode happened when I lived closer to it in Cape May County I think I would have been lured in.

Action Park

Little child with the broken hand isolated on white background

This one is truly bewildering. I’ve done some dangerous things for fun in my life but the infamous flesh-eating alpine slide wasn’t one of them. I was the right age.

Yet I don’t remember a single person in my school talking about Class Action Park or Traction Park (pick your nickname). It was only an hour and twenty minutes away from where I lived but maybe it just seemed a lot farther than it was?

Anyway, I never experienced it.

Battleship New Jersey

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

It was launched one year to the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Iowa class battleship saw combat in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and served in the Lebanese Civil War and the Persian Gulf.

It has served as a museum ship in Camden for more than 20 years. And how I’ve never visited her with how many times I’ve been right in Camden for Adventure Aquarium I just don’t know.

Shame on me.

Liberty Science Center

Re-opening Continues Across Densely Populated New York And New Jersey Areas
Getty Images

It opened in Jersey City in January of 1993. To say I haven’t had the chance would be a lie. When it was first around I had no children, not that you necessarily need to for enjoying a place like this Jersey gem.

But once I moved back to New Jersey in 2011 I was a single father raising a six-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl. How did I not go here?

Any lighthouse

Photo by Andre Frueh on Unsplash
Photo by Andre Frueh on Unsplash

Cape May Lighthouse is possibly the most famous lighthouse in New Jersey. It stands 157 feet tall with hiking trails all over and picnic areas welcoming people.

It was built in 1859 and I’ve never set foot in it, let alone any of the many lighthouses New Jersey is known for.

Delsea Drive-In

Drive in Theater NJ
Benjamin Clapp via Canva

It’s not that I have never been to a drive-in movie. It’s just that I haven’t been to one in New Jersey since I was a kid and they all went away (but one) so I never had the teenage experience of taking a date. I feel like I missed out.

So you would think with Vineland’s Delsea Drive-In being the last one in the state I would have made a point over all these years to go there. I often thought about it, would still like to, but never have.

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