There are many year-round game centers that are ideal for teens. Rebounderz Indoor Trampoline Arena in Edison has wall-to-wall trampolines for open jump times and dodgeball games. iPlay America in Freehold is an indoor amusement park with numerous attractions. There are fast-paced rides, go-karts, mini golf, boardwalk games, laser tag arenas, and more than 200 arcade games both modern and nostalgic. In Fairfield, you can take your teen to Monster Mini Golf. It has neon glowing effects along the 18-hole course, as well as an arcade.
Indoor Water Parks
Even if it is frigidly cold outside, as it will likely be on New Year's Day, you can still have some fun at a water park. At Sahara Sam's Oasis in West Berlin, teens will enjoy the surfing simulator, giant tube slides, water basketball, the cargo obstacle course, group rides and the relaxing lazy river. If you are looking for something up north, The Big Splash Indoor Water Park at The Rocking Horse Ranch is located in Highland, New York, approximately an hour's drive from New Jersey. Your teens can ride the 250-foot-long flume slide and enjoy the many other water attractions.
Take advantage of the day off by visiting a museum with your teen. Ripley's Believe It or Not in Atlantic City is an excellent option. The museum is filled with weird and unbelievable relics and artifacts, such as the world's smallest production car, a chicken wire Jimi Hendrix statue, optical illusions and several interactive exhibits. The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City features science displays, including a surgical robot exhibit, an energy education station, a skyscraper construction display and a solar race car activity.
New York City Activities
The big party at Times Square may be over, but there are plenty of New York City attractions you could visit. On New Year's Day there is a special Historic Times Square Tour put on by Big Onion Walking Tours. You and your teen will get a lesson in the history of the area, including how Times Square went from horse stables and harness shops to "the crossroads of the world." You could also take a ferry across the Hudson and visit the Statue of Liberty. Be sure to make reservations in advance for tickets to the top of the crown. The Rockefeller Center is another great option. You and your teen can take a ride to the top -- 70 stories high -- tour behind the scenes of NBC studios and go ice skating on the outdoor rink.
Adventure Aquarium in Camden gives families a chance to visit hippos, penguins, sharks and a wide variety of fish up close. Its Kids Zone allows children to pet stingrays and play in an "under the sea" themed playground. Admission is $23.95 for adults and $17.95 for kids age 2-12. (reference 1) The Atlantic City Aquarium features a stingray touch tank, clownfish and an exotic animal show and live diver feeding show. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children 4-12. (reference 2)
Liberty Science Center
Liberty Science Center is located in State Park on the Jersey City bank of the Hudson River. It features 12 museum exhibition halls, a live animal collection with more than 100 different species, giant aquariums, a 3D IMAX Dome Theater, live simulcast surgeries and tornado and hurricane-force wind simulators. Kids can also operate a surgical robot, learn what it takes to design and build skyscrapers, make a 6-foot bubble and climb a rock wall. Tickets are $16.75 for adults and $12.50 for kids age 2 to 12. (reference 3)
iPlay America, located in Freehold, offers go-karts, laser tag, amusement rides, bumper cars and mini bowling in a 115,000-square-foot facility. Pay as you go, or buy a band for $22.95 or $29.95 for unlimited rides on certain attractions. (reference 4) Kids Towne USA in Hamilton has an arcade, jungle gym, maze and laser tag. Attractions are individually priced. (reference 5)
It may be cold outside, but you can still have fun in the water. The indoor CoCo Key Water Resort in Mt. Laurel offers large pools with slides, a lazy river and a water basketball court. Prices range from $17.99 to $27.99. (reference 6) At the indoor-outdoor Sahara Sam's in West Berlin, attractions include a body slide, a lazy river, a surfing simulator and a cargo obstacle course. Tickets are between $20.95 and $32.95. (reference 7)
Appel Farms Arts Camp
Appel Farms Arts Camp (appelfarmartscamp) in Elmer, New Jersey, offers a variety of art majors including theater, music, dance, photography, video, creative writing and sports. This is a structured, overnight camp. Older teenagers going into the 11th or 12th grades can also participate in the counselor in training program, where the will still participate but also assume additional responsibilities and benefits. This summer camp includes food, comfortable bunks and modern amenities.
Rambling Pines Teen Camp (ramblingpines.com) is a day camp in Hopewell, New Jersey. The camp, for seventh- to 10th-graders, features two day trips per week. Day-trip destinations include Dutch Springs Water Park, Belmar Beach and a baseball game. The other three days of the week will be spent on the scenic 225-acre campus, where swimming and sports await all campers.
Lawrenceville School Nike Tennis Camp
Lawrenceville School Nike Tennis Camp (ussportscamps.com), in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, offers a choice of overnight, extended day, or day camp for teens up to age 18. Your budding Serena Williams will get five to six hours of daily tennis instruction from top teaching pros and players. The school also has baseball and soccer fields, and a six-lane swimming pool. Campers will be provided with a camp shirt and meals.
Jewish Community Center of Central New Jersey Teen Programs
The Jewish Community Center of Central New Jersey (jccnj.org) has teen programs that foster leadership skills for teens in grades nine through 12. Program mentors include executives, life coaches and other community leaders. Programs, including Teen Action Service Corps and Teen Leadership Fellows, focus on volunteering, speaker workshops and fun overnight trips. All faiths are welcome at these confidence-boosting camps.