As we all know, the Jersey Shore is widely known for its beaches. As much as we love to walk out on the sand and listen to the crashing waves throughout the year, there are simply some days that aren't beach days. Whether it's a blustery, bitter winter's afternoon or a wet and soggy summer day, sometimes we need to seek out a different activity. The good news is the Jersey Shore is also home to fantastic indoor venues as well.

In this blog series, we will be providing suggestions of fun, family-friendly activities to do throughout our beautiful state. This edition focuses on Monmouth and Ocean Counties, but be on the lookout for installments in other counties as well!

In Ocean County

Insectopolis This unique venue offers kids of all ages an opportunity to view bugs in a new way. From butterflies to tarantulas and a wide range of insects in between, you'll need about an hour to meet and admire the bugseum's residents. The venue is located on Route 9 in Toms River.

Jenkinson's Aquarium From local aquatic life to critters from other waters, you'll enjoy your visit to this Point Pleasant-based aquarium. Check their web site for information on feeding times and special events. Before you head home, don't forget that Jenks' arcades are also open year-round! Stop in for a rousing game of Skee-Ball.

Tuckerton Seaport Offering a mix of past and present, Tuckerton Seaport gives you a closer look at New Jersey's maritime traditions. If you opt for the full experience, you will be moving around outdoors from building to building, so dress accordingly. Don't forget to check their web site for special events and classes!

In Monmouth County

Pinball Hall of Fame: Silverball Museum Today's gaming systems have nothing on ringing, flashing pinball machines, and the good news is that this Asbury Park gem gives you a chance to play again! When you've tilted one too many times and you're ready to try something new, the museum also has a couple dozen classic arcade games ranging from PacMan to Donkey Kong.

Monmouth Museum With a rotating exhibit list spanning art, history and science, this Lincroft-based, family-friendly museum is one you can visit again and again. The Becker Children's Wing is offers a hands-on learning experience for children 7-12, while younger children will find plenty to explore in the Wonder Wing. The main gallery features changing exhibitions of art and cultural history. The museum is located on the campus of Brookdale Community College.

iPlay America Of course, if you want to burn off some of that energy your kids have been storing up, a trip to Freehold's iPlay America may be in order. From laser tag to rides to games to shows, there's no shortage of things to do here!

Beyond the Shore

And if you're up for a day trip, there's plenty to do within New Jersey just a short drive away. Consider some of these:

Liberty Science Center, Jersey City Garden State Discovery Museum, Cherry Hill CoCo Key Water Resort, Mt. Laurel New Jersey State Museum, Trenton Adventure Aquarium, Camden Ripley's Believe it or Not, Atlantic City