Jersey Shore arcades with all the bells and whistles

·3 min read

When you imagine a Jersey Shore boardwalk, you probably hear the sounds of an arcade: Skee-Balls rolling, electronic games beeping, coin winnings clanking.

There are lots of classic arcades at the Shore, and each has its own unique personality. Here are six you shouldn't miss.

Fantasy Island Amusement Park, Beach Haven

The arcade at Fantasy Island Amusement Park in Beach Haven has more than 12,000 square feet of games like Skee-Ball and Lane Master Bowling.
The arcade at Fantasy Island Amusement Park in Beach Haven has more than 12,000 square feet of games like Skee-Ball and Lane Master Bowling.

To paraphrase the late Ricardo Montalbán, welcome to the arcade at Fantasy Island Amusement Park. It's more than 12,000 square feet of games, prizes and more, including Skee-Ball, crane games, and newbies like Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka and Lane Master Bowling.

The arcade is on a digital card system: Points are automatically loaded onto your card after you play.

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Go: 320 7th St.; Beach Haven; 609-492-4000, fantasyislandlbi.com.

Go Play Arcade, Belmar

Fun times await for kids and grownups, too, at Go Play Arcade, thanks to old-school games like air hockey, Star Wars Battle Pod, Skee-Ball and pinball, along with the newer stuff.

There's lots of food options nearby, too, across Ocean Avenue on the boardwalk.

Go: 1102 Main St., Belmar; 732-681-7529, belmargoplay.com. 

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Jenkinson's Arcades, Point Pleasant Beach

In the mood for variety? Jenkinson's Boardwalk has four arcades: the South Arcade, the Pavilion Arcade, Frank's Fun Center and the South Beach Arcade. There are video games, slot machines, Skee-Ball, basketball, cranes and more.

Go: 300 Ocean Ave., Point Pleasant Beach; 732-892-0600, jenkinsons.com.  

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Lucky Leo's, Seaside Heights

Yes, Lucky Leo was a real person. Pete “Leo” Whalen opened his arcade, then a single stand with a handspun wheel, in 1953. It grew into the legendary arcade that it is today in Seaside Heights.

Leo is no longer with us – he passed away in 2020 at the age of 94 – but his family's arcade remains one of the most popular on the boardwalk.

Go: 315 Boardwalk, Seaside Heights; 732-793-1323, luckyleos.com.  

Mariner's Arcade, Wildwood

Mariner's Arcade is where the winners play in Wildwood. It’s located on Mariner's Amusement Pier, close to the rides, and the spot is heated, air-conditioned and home to the biggest and easiest progressive jackpots for poker and Skee-Ball in South Jersey, they say.

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Go: 3501 Boardwalk, Wildwood; 609-522-5563, marinersarcade.com.

Silverball Retro Arcade, Asbury Park

The Silverball Retro Arcade is the place for pinball connoisseurs and fans of retro arcade games, too. We're partial to the Bubble Boy table hockey, but we've never figured out why the right winger has a bigger stick than everyone else.

To play, purchase a pass from $10 for a half hour to $20 for the whole day.

Go: 1000 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park; 732-774-4994, silverballmuseum.com.

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Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for The USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan or cjordan@app.com.  

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Can't miss Jersey Shore arcades