While Jersey gets a bad rap for being tacky and over the top, it actually is a great place to take the kids. With endless shore towns, the world’s largest theme park and boardwalks galore, here are some of the not to miss family attractions in New Jersey.

"Liberty Science Center" by Joshua Bousel via Flickr Creative Commons

A Museum, Zoo, Aquarium, and Hanging Gym in One

Located just on the other side of Ellis Island, the Liberty Science Center is your one stop shop for family fun. Full of interactive, hands-on exhibits, main attractions include the Rubik’s Cube's 40th anniversary celebrate, “Eat and Be Eaten” an examination of the predator/prey relationship, and a wildlife rope challenge course where you can live out all your animal inclinations.

"Pirates of Wildwood at Morey's Pier" by Martin Lewison via Flickr Creative Commons

A Real-Live Treasure Hunt on the High Seas

Ahoy, matey. Climb aboard with the Sea Gypsy, New Jersey’s #1 daytrip. Complete with water cannons, sunken treasure, a message in a bottle, and pirate battles, Jersey Shore Pirates is your ticket to adventure on the Metedecon River. First mates will dress up, be debriefed on the high seas mission, and have to work together to recover the hidden loot from one of the fiercest pirates known to man.

"Humpback Whale Feeding, Monterey Bay" by Gary Denham via Flickr Creative Commons

Whale Watching in Cape May

An opportunity to see marine life like no other, Cape May is an unparalleled seafaring safari. Led by a naturalist, come face to face with the world's largest mammals surfacing and breaching as they frolic and play in the Atlantic Ocean. The chance to see one of the most endangered species up close, if you wait too long these protected creatures may be gone forever.

"Willemite" by Tjflex2 via Flickr Creative Commons

Take Pictures at the Rainbow Tunnel in Ogdensburg

Part of the Sterling Hill Mining Museum, a former iron and zinc mine famous for it’s fluorescent minerals, the mine was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. Just an hour drive from the George Washington Bridge, the underground tour features glow in the dark varietals and fossils best seen with your own eyes. Kids of all ages can become geologists for the day, mining and keeping anything they uncover.