Lucy the Elephant

Watch the kids climb through this delightful six-story landmark, with tusks and trunk, and enjoy the ocean views, or a picnic in the surrounding park.

Visit Margate to meet Lucy, a local landmark in the shape of a circus elephant. Learn its history during a guided tour in summer.

When James Lafferty wanted to attract people to south Atlantic City in the late 19th century, he decided he would build a six-story hotel with a remarkable appearance, and Lucy the Elephant was the result. Lucy has stood in Margate for more than 130 years and has become a symbol of the Jersey coast.

Once made from almost a million individual pieces of wood, Lucy the Elephant was considered a feat of architecture at the time. The now predominantly steel structure has weathered many a storm and famously survived Hurricane Sandy, which came ashore at this very spot in 2012.

Lucy has had a colorful life, being used as a hotel, a bar and a restaurant. The bar was closed during the prohibition years and bootleggers used it for signaling to smuggle alcohol ashore.

Every half hour during summer you can join a guided tour. Learn about the architecture of the structure and climb the spiral staircase inside Lucy’s hind leg to reach the howdah at the top. From there, enjoy 360-degree views across Margate and the Jersey Shore. See Atlantic City in the distance on a clear day. The howdah is child-friendly and the stairs can be climbed by people of varying heights and fitness.

The Josephine Harron Park, where Lucy stands, is a stunning coastal park, which is fenced off to ensure that your kids are safe while you relax. Enjoy a family picnic at the tables provided here.

Lucy the Elephant is located in Margate, about 6 miles (20 kilometers) south of Atlantic City, and can be reached by car or bus from downtown. There is free parking for visitors; however, a 30-minute limit is enforced in the small car park.

Lucy the Elephant is open daily throughout the summer months, but hours vary during the off-season, so check the website before visiting.