Drive-Through + Drive-In Activities for Families in New Jersey

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Currently, New Jersey is slowly reopening following COVID-19, thanks to the measures we have collectively taken to practice safe social distancing and to keep ourselves and others healthy. But after months inside, who can blame us for wanting some safe but fun opportunities to get out of the apartment and enjoy!

Luckily, there are some awesome drive-through and drive-in experiences right here in the Garden State that are excellent options for those looking for a bit {or a lot} of responsible fun for the family, with mitigated risk. From a throwback car-hop dining experience to a drive-through safari — here are some summer options to experience in the car.

Six Flags Great Adventure Drive-Through Safari {1 Six Flags Boulevard, Jackson Township}

{Photo credit: @sfgradventure}

The well-known drive-through safari at Six Flags is back. Originally closed a few years ago, it is now back to operating as a drive-through for all to enjoy. First, you’ll need to purchase your tickets {$19.99/person} and then make a reservation. Then, your adventure begins! Giraffes, monkeys, lions, zebras, elephants, bears, and kangaroos are only some of the animals you’ll see on your wild journey through the continents. 

HG Insider Tip: The drive-through experience took us over an hour, so it was well worth the cost. The attraction also had porta-potties set up with attendants and ample hand sanitizer, in case nature called! 

See More: 10 Fun, Socially Distant Staycation Ideas in Hoboken + Jersey City

Space Farms Zoo + Museum  {218 County Road 519, Sussex}

Now open for walk-throughs as well as drive-throughs on select days, Space Farms Zoo and Museum in Sussex, NJ features more than 500 animals of 100 different species, boasting the largest private collection of North American animals in their natural surroundings in the U.S., according to the website. 

The museum also features antique and classic American History artifacts, farming tools, over 500 antique dolls, and Native American artifacts from the local area. In fact, the museum is located on a former Native American campsite at the base of the Blue Ridge, Kittany Mountain range.

HG Insider Tip: This took a while to get to from Hoboken {over an hour}, but the scenery on the drive up is beautiful.

Brookhollow’s Barnyard {301 Rockaway Valley Road, Boonton}

{Photo credit: @brookhollowsbarnyard}

Located in Boonton, this traditional barn setting is open for both drive and walk-throughs on select days. Tickets go on sale at 10:00AM the day prior, so be sure to track the website or Facebook page to try for tickets the day before you’d like to go. You can bring carrots to feed the animals, and will see lots of roosters, goats, miniature horses, pigs, peacocks, and more.

HG Insider Tip: We experienced the drive-through and it was organized and fun! We did two trips through the barn and everyone drove slowly and carefully, allowing you to stop for a few minutes when something caught your interest. Don’t forget your carrots — they are not sold there —  and be sure to use the bathroom before you go.

Drive-In Movies {Multiple Locations}

With pop-up drive-in movie attractions opening across the state, it’s an excellent option for socially-distanced date nights or family movie nights. 

New Jersey’s only permanent drive-in movie theater, the Delsea Drive-In, lists upcoming showings on the website including Zootopia, Avengers, and Knives Out.

Other locations with pop-ups that are open to non-residents include Brick Township and Demarest Farms, in Hillsdale. The farm, according to its website, will offer recurring showings at least through August and possibly through October, plus a full concession stand and bathroom. Tickets are $25 per car, and movies are listed here

CarHop Service at the Brownstone Pancake Factory {717 East Palisade Avenue, Englewood Cliffs}

For some traditional fun and yummy food, visit the Brownstone Pancake Factory’s Englewood Cliffs location for throwback car-hop service.This retro experience will leave you feeling like you’re back in the ‘50s — just make a reservation before you go to make sure your visit is all set {most days are sold out.}  The restaurant is currently offering 10:00AM-7:00PM slots on Monday through Saturday (available every hour on the hour} and 10:00AM-2:00PM slots on Sundays {available every hour on the hour}. Cars are kept at a safe social distance so families can enjoy milkshakes, burgers, music, and more! 

Read More: A Guide to Drive-In Movie Theaters in New Jersey + Beyond

Drive-In Live at Monmouth Park Presented by The Basie {75 Oceanport Avenue, Oceanport}

{Photo credit: @basiecenter}

This summer, Count Basie Theater is hosting a Drive-In Live Series of musicians and comedy acts at Monmouth Park racetrack. Acts include Southside Johnny and the Asbury Dukes on July 11th, and comedian Jim Gaffigan on July 12th followed by Queen cover band Almost Queen on July 29th  and Iliza – The Forever Tour on July 30th. 

Some shows are sold out on Ticketmaster, but currently available through third-party sites. According to The Basie’s website, cars will be spaced approximately 9 feet apart to allow windows to be open and will be parked in a staggered fashion for spacing and best visibility. You must remain in your vehicle at all times except to use the portable restrooms and must wear a mask and social distance while doing so.

Have you tried any of these socially distant drive-in activities? Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by:

Erin is a freelance writer and lives in Hoboken with her husband and daughter. A proud Jersey Girl, she grew up in Central New Jersey but always had a love for Hudson County, with her father having grown up in Jersey City, and her grandfather proudly worked at Maxwell House for decades. Her words have been featured across many outlets including BRIDES, Allure, TeenVogue, The Today Show, Byrdie, and more. Erin also owns local Etsy shop GrandeGifts, and in her spare time can be found binging on all things Bravo.


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