The city has the usual tourist traps, but there are a number of places worth your time. At Gardner's Basin, at the top end of New Hampshire Avenue, is the Ocean Life Center (tel. 609/348-2880;, with the Atlantic City Aquarium (including a touch tank), shipwreck artifacts, and more marine-themed fun for the kids. You can't miss the Absecon Lighthouse, 31 S. Rhode Island Ave. (tel. 609/449-1360;, which was built in 1857 and is the tallest in New Jersey. On a clear day, it's worth climbing the 228 steps to the top to get a magnificent view of the Jersey shoreline. The free Atlantic City Historical Museum, New Jersey Avenue and the Boardwalk (tel. 609/344-1943;, offers some interesting insights into the city's history through various exhibits and artifacts (including a larger-than-life Mr. Peanut). Do check out the interesting video that plays continuously in the museum. If you can make it through the crowds on the Boardwalk, skip the tattoo parlors and head north to Steel Pier, 1000 Boardwalk (tel. 609/345-4893), a classic amusement park with a Ferris wheel, bumper cars, games galore, and, of course, classic junk food such as funnel cake. Another hard-to-miss attraction is in nearby Margate: Lucy the Elephant, 9200 Atlantic Ave. (tel. 609/823-6473;, is a 65-ton building built to look like -- yep, you guessed it -- an elephant. Built in 1881 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this is one of those curious pieces of Americana that you just don't see too much of anymore, so go ahead and take the 30-minute tour of its interior.

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