Parents, how much money will you spend at the Jersey Shore this season? If you’re like me, you will at least once be shelling out the dough this summer for ice cream, mini-golf, boardwalk games, rides, salt water taffy, waffle cones, souvenirs and not to mention the fees for just getting on the beach. Dollar signs are adding up in my head! Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that may make you feel good about your inevitable summer spending…
I found a special gift shop on the Jersey Shore, where I make it a point to bring my kids, especially for souvenirs. Before you think this staggering heat has gotten to my head already this season, let me explain…
For the past two years, our family has been visiting the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, NJ (just 5 mins from Atlantic City). The center has responded to over 3900 hundred strandings of whales, dolphins, seals and sea turtles that have washed ashore since the non-profit organization was founded in 1978. My small kids love going there to see the outdoor tank brimming with local underwater life. There is even a window into the tank that is perfect height for my one-year-old. And, during certain time periods, we have been lucky enough to tour the area where they house recovering stranded seals. My 5 year old daughter loved that part!
As a beach girl who grew up riding her bike to New Jersey’s sandy shores, I care about the ocean and the amazing plants and animals thriving beneath it. Today, as a mom, it’s important for me to raise my daughters with that same sense of awe and care for nature.
The Marine Mammal Stranding Center is, yet, another way to teach kids the importance of a clean ocean and to be in touch with the natural wildlife around them. The center is small, and it won’t take you much time to stop in. To learn more, you can question their informative staff. But, our favorite part is the quaint little gift shop, which is one of their primary sources of funding.
Knowing the proceeds from the gift shop sales go toward increasing the chances of saving and extending the life of a sea animal, make it a very feel-good source of our beach vacation’s inevitable spending.
From ocean-inspired stuffed animal toys, sea life play figures, shark’s teeth and ocean-inspired jewelry, my girls have no problem picking out something educational or cuddly to remember their beach get away. T-shirts and pullovers with the center’s logo, make a unique NJ gift for your friends visiting from afar, or, hey, just for yourself!
Can’t get to Brigantine, and still want to help? You can adopt a seal for yourself or a loved one for only $25. You can also invite a representative to come to your school or organization to give a presentation on sea mammal life, order some gift shop items online, or simply make a well-needed donation.
Do you live 15 minutes from the ocean anywhere along New Jersey’s coast? You can even volunteer to help when a mammal washes ashore near you. Cool, huh?
We love our fellow mammals of the sea. And I just can’t help to think that if more people just knew about this place and what it does for the Jersey Shore, then maybe together we can help maintain the support they give the animals that have come ashore and need a helping human hand back home.