GETTING THERE: The Camden, N.J., waterfront is a little more than two hours by car from D.C. From I-95 north, take Exit 19 to the Walt Whitman Bridge. Cross the bridge and take I-676 north to Exit 5A (Mickle Boulevard). Follow the blue waterfront signs to the aquarium parking lot. From downtown Philly, you can take the Delaware River Port Authority's Speedline train for $1.15 (877-567-3772, www.drpa.org/patco) to Camden's City Hall, a few minutes' walk from the aquarium.

ADVENTURE AQUARIUM: Located at 1 Aquarium Dr., it is open daily, including holidays, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 pm. Tickets must be purchased for a particular time and can be reserved in advance (866-451-2782, www.adventureaquarium.com). They cost $16.95 for adults, $13.95 for children ages 2 to 12. Admission to the 4-D Theater is $3 more. Viewers must be at least three feet tall. Parking is an additional $7. Swimming with the sharks is $115 and includes museum admission, a commemorative photo and a T-shirt; call 800-616-5297 to reserve. The program is available on Saturdays and Sundays until May, then daily through August. The aquarium's Feeding Frenzy Cafe is one of the few Camden-side eating options, featuring grill fare, pizza and salads.

BEING THERE: At the Camden waterfront, younger children will enjoy the four-acre Camden Children's Garden (856-365-8733, www.camdenchildrensgarden.org). Admission is $5 per adult and $3 for kids, ages 3 to 11. The train and carousel rides are $1.50 extra. Tour the Battleship New Jersey (866-877-6262, www.battleshipnewjersey.org) along with the aquarium by buying a "Fish and Ship" ticket: $23.50 for adults, $17 for kids ages 2 to 12; add $5 for the simulator ride. You can also spend the night aboard the ship and tour the aquarium the next morning (see "Staying There"). Penn's Landing (215-928-8801, www.pennslandingcorp.com) on the Philly side offers seasonal concerts and events, including an ice skating rink (215-925-7465, www.riverrink.com) from late November to late February.

STAYING THERE: There are no hotels at the Camden waterfront. We stayed across the river at the Comfort Inn Downtown/Historic Area (100 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd., 877-424-6423, www.choicehotels.com) near Penn's Landing, which has doubles starting at $100 per night on weekends, with a decent continental breakfast and a good view of the river. For $59, the Battleship New Jersey (see above) offers a one-night weekend encampment from 6 p.m. to noon, including dinner, breakfast, a 11/2-hour guided tour, a trip in the flight simulator, your own bunk, and aquarium admission. Minimum age is 7, and your group must include children.

INFO: Camden Waterfront Marketing Bureau, 856-757-9400, www.camdenwaterfront.com.