Meadowlands is a prime spot for birdwatching, and on Oct.1, The Meadowlands Environmental Center will host the Meadowland Birding Festival. Groups can take nature tours of the area around the center year-round.
• American Dream is a three-million-square-foot entertainment and retail complex with attractions and activities for all ages, as well as myriad venues for private group events. The iconic facility is able to host meetings, conferences, trade shows, award shows, private dinners, parties and buyouts, to name a few possibilities. Among the largest onsite attractions are DreamWorks Water Park, which is billed as the biggest indoor water park in North America, and Nickelodeon Universe, which is advertised as the largest indoor theme park in the Western Hemisphere. Groups can also enjoy sky-high views of the New York City skyline aboard the Dream Wheel, a 300-foot-tall observation wheel with six-person VIP gondolas.
Groups can take to the ice at the Rink at
American Dream, an NHL
regulation-sized ice skating rink that’s available for private event rentals.
The staff can even change the ice surface to turf or wood, depending on a
planner’s needs. The Rink is about to gain an even greater public profile, as
it hosts the World Curling Championships from January 29 to February 4, 2024.
Among the newest group-friendly attractions at American
Dream is the Skip Barber Karting Academy,
part of a network of driving and racing schools. Groups will be able to take
private driving lessons at the 40,000-square-foot facility, which can also be booked
for private events.
• Liberty State Park, the vast green space that offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, will undergo a major upgrade that will make it even more attractive for groups. The three-phase project includes a new nature park area, scenic overlooks, public outdoor amphitheater and athletis facility.
• For a relaxing, nature-filled break from hectic meeting
schedules, take an eco-cruise through the Meadowlands Marsh. Hackensack
Riverkeeper offers 2.5-hour scenic excursions on the Hackensack River. Each boat
accommodates 10 guests, and the outings — which teach participants about the
rich local ecosystem while showcasing the region’s natural beauty — can be paired
with activities on land as well.
• The legendary Hudson River provides a picturesque setting
for dinner cruises and tours. City Experiences offers a variety of options for groups, including all-inclusive events on the
water, complete with chef-prepared menus and bar service. The company’s local
fleet ranges from the 120-passenger Hornblower Manhattan and Hornblower
Lexington to the 1,000-passenger Hornblower Infinity.
• Groups can hit the lanes at Bowlero, a bowling alley in Wallington with 48 lanes, billiards and pool tables and a sports bar. All spaces are available for partial or full buyouts and catering options range from spring rolls to lamb lollipops to the Behemoth Burger, a six-pound, 14-inch burger piled high with toppings.
• The Liberty Science Center, a 300,000-square-foot museum in Jersey City, features 12 exhibition halls, large aquariums, a 3D theater, a live animal collection with 110 species and what’s described as the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. Planners can make use of venues including a glass-enclosed observation tower, fully equipped theaters and two-story gallery and lobby spaces that accommodate 1,200 guests.
• Planners can take attendees on a trip back in time at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, which is set in a structure resembling an 11th-century castle. Jousting, sword fighting and lively revelry characterize every performance, and groups of 15 or more can join the fun with a variety of packages.
• Groups can satisfy their need for speed at RPM Raceway Jersey City, which offers competitive racing excitement with Italian-made go-karts on a recently upgraded Megatrack, which run more than 2,200 feet. Up to 10 attendees can compete at one time, charging down the track to see who clocks in the fastest lap time. The facility also has racing simulators, arcade games, billiards and a restaurant that specializes in hamburgers, wood-fired pizza, salads and tacos.
• For a peaceful break from faster-paced business and activities, planners might want to treat attendees to some of the region’s natural beauty at Richard W. DeKorte Park, which is part of the Meadowlands District park system. The park has 3.5 miles of walking paths in a setting graced with waterways and wetlands. This is an especially rewarding place for bird watchers; more than 285 species of birds — including egrets, osprey, hawks and blue herons — are among the local residents.
• For a healthy dose of retail therapy, attendees can head to Westfield Garden State Plaza, located in Paramus. Opened in 1957 as the first suburban shopping mall in New Jersey, Westfield Garden State Plaza has transformed into a modern retail center in the 21st century, with an array of international brands represented and major department stores including Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.