Lucy the Elephant, a 129-year-old Margate landmark, is a good family spot on an iffy beach day. It's not every day kids get to see the inside of an elephant - especially one with as much history as Lucy has.

This elephant was built in 1881 by a Philadelphia land speculator, as a way of drawing potential customers to the then-hinterlands of Absecon Island known as South Atlantic City - Margate wasn't officially born until 1909.

Lucy has a long, and interesting, history. Most of that history is on display in Lucy's gift shop or in exhibits inside the elephant itself, which actually does get very popular on rainy days. One somewhat ironic warning, though, from Lucy's executive director, Rich Helfant: Despite that umbrella up top, Lucy's handlers have to close the howdah/top deck if the weather gets bad, because it gets slippery up there when it's wet.

Then again, there's a bonus: If you go on a day when the howdah's rained out, you get your ticket turned into a rain check good for a free return visit to Lucy, Helfant adds.

Martin DeAngelis

If you go

Location: 9200 Atlantic Ave., Margate. Call 609-823-6473.

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Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday now to June 20;. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday from June 21 to Sept. 5

Cost: $6 adults; $3 kids younger than 12; free kids 2 or younger

What moms want to know: Stroller friendly? Gift shop yes, elephant no. Bathrooms? Across the street, at Ventura's Greenhouse. Food on site? Next door at the Lucy's Beach Grille, in season. Play area? Yes. Coupon? No.

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