10 NJ Museums Kids Should Experience

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With over 230 museums throughout New Jersey, it is hard to know where to bring your family first. NJMOM picked out 10 fun, educational museums in New Jersey that will expose your little ones to exciting exhibits and interactive learning.  Spot the immense sculptures within the romantic landscapes at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, overlook our state from new heights atop the crown of Lady Liberty at the Statue of Liberty National Monument, and learn about centuries of New Jersey’s culture and natural history at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton.

Psst! Don’t forget to hashtag #NJMOM and tag @njmom and your little cuties could be featured in our next photo round-up.

Here are 10 NJ Museums Kids Should Experience:

1. Monmouth Museum

Known as the Museum of Ideas, Monmouth Museum aims to educate patrons in art, history, and science through interactive experiences and exhibits.  This goal is achieved with children in mind, with two designated areas especially for kids to learn in ways designed just for them.  WonderWing is for children six years and under, set up for your little ones to have, “a magical undersea learning experience.”  Elementary school-aged children of 7 – 12 years will enjoy Becker’s Children Wing, featuring active, engaging activities.  Kids can try their hands at Meteorology Broadcasting, Space Exhibition, and Ancient Egypt Time Traveling.  Adults and children alike will find fascinating art in all mediums in the Main Gallery, as well as cultural and historical displays.  Monmouth Museum’s Nilson Gallery features the work of New Jersey artists, including emerging artists with fresh visions and pieces ready to be displayed in this impressive facility.  Monmouth Museum is an all encompassing learning destination for families to experience art, science, history, and culture together.
765 Newman Springs Rd., Lincroft, NJ 07738
(732) 747-2266

2. Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial

It's a beautiful day to tour our nation's most decorated and largest battleship. Last tour of the day departs at 3pm.

A photo posted by Battleship New Jersey (@battleshipnj) on

Fewer sights are as remarkable and impressive as a historical battleship, and New Jersey is lucky to harbor America’s longest and most decorated battleship that has become one of the state’s most beloved museums for families, Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial.  The USS New Jersey was built in 1942 and at three football fields length, floats upon the mighty Delaware River, ready for your family to climb aboard and learn about the ship’s military history and inner workings.  A variety of tour options will take you three stories above and two stories below, giving visitors of all ages a deeper appreciation for this vessel.  The Chow Line offers on-site refreshments, making it even easier to keep the whole family happy.  Little ones will be fascinated with exploring this national treasure, and will be sure to remember the experience for years to come.
62 Battleship Place, Camden, NJ 08103
(856) 966-1652

3. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum

Children and parents alike will never forget this one-of-a-kind museum of oddities, and (literally) unbelievable attractions.  Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum Atlantic City Boardwalk location will have you scratching your head before even walking through its doors, with the facade of the building seeming to burst from the seams from the inside out.  Over 400 weird and wacky exhibits will grab your attention as you walk through the kooky halls: compare your height with the world’s tallest man in the wax museum, come face to face with authentic shrunken heads, take the Laser Maze Challenge, and visit the brand new Space Exhibits.  When your visit is over, just a few steps will take you onto the boardwalk where your family can enjoy a meal together at one of Atlantic City’s fun restaurants; try the jungle-themed Rainforest Cafe to maintain the day’s feelings of exploration!
1441 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 347-2001

4. Statue of Liberty National Monument

☀️⛵️? #FindYourPark #NationalParks #StatueOfLiberty #NPS100

A photo posted by Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island (@statueellisnps) on

New Jersey families are fortunate to live next door to one of the United States’ most beloved and recognizable symbols of liberty and freedom: The Statue of Liberty National Monument.  Tourists travel from all over the world to visit Lady Liberty, but your little ones just need to hop aboard a fun, quick ferry ride from Jersey City’s Liberty State Park.  Before your visit, download the Junior Ranger Activity Booklet to provide your children with engaging material and activities to complete throughout your visit.  Spend your time on the grounds of Liberty Island, climb into the Pedestal, or enjoy the unparallelled views from inside the internationally famous Crown.  Download the monument’s free mobile app before your visit to maximize discover access points, uncover educational facts and images, and unlock tour paths and tips.  Pair your Statue of Liberty experience with a visit to Ellis Island for a complete day of Hudson River history.  
Liberty Island on the Hudson River
(212) 363-3200

5. Garden State Discovery Museum

#springbreak2016 #gardenstatediscoverymuseum #newsroom

A photo posted by Inna Huber (@ihuber82) on

Families will have a blast together at the Garden State Discovery Museum, designed especially for little explorers ages ten and under.  Fun, hands-on exhibits encourage children to participate and play together, while learning about the sciences.  The Dinosaurium, News and Weather, Tree House, Bubble Trouble, Wildlife Area, Down the Shore, Climbing Wall, and Subaru Service Station are just some of Garden State Discovery Museum’s unique family friendly exhibits.  Little ones under four years old can have fun together in Little Discoveries, a designated area for your young ones.  Children can learn about healthy snacking, food shopping, and cooking at the realistic Whole Foods Farm Stand and Silver Diner play areas.  Kids will leave this adventure sanctuary with a treasure trove of new experiences: be the captain of your own boat, visit real animals, learn about moon phases and periodic table of elements, change a tire at the Subaru station, and bring your furry friend to the veterinarian, and dig for fossils.  
2040 Springdale Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
(856) 424-1233

6. Grounds for Sculpture

Come join the line! #groundsforsculpture #sculpture #art #nature #music #dining #vsco #sewardjohnson

A photo posted by Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) (@groundsforsculpture) on

For the nature-loving family whose perfect day includes a stroll through the park, Grounds for Sculpture is the museum for you.  Forty two acres of beautifully curated, diverse gardens is home to an ever-evolving collection of contemporary outdoor sculptures.  Children love roaming the interesting landscape while stumbling upon colossal artistic structures, discovering hidden nooks and crannies, and taking second glances at pieces that at first, seem like they are part of nature.  Adults will enjoy the whimsical ambience of the location with winding paths through twinkling lights, surprise ponds, bamboo forests, and romantic willow trees.  Six indoor galleries and year-round performances make Grounds for Sculpture a destination during any type of weather.  Complete your visit with a special meal at one of the ground’s on-site restaurants, The Peacock Cafe, Van Gogh Cafe, The Gazebo, and Rat’s Restaurant.  
80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton, NJ 08619
(609) 586-0616

7. Sterling Hill Mining Museum

via The Sterling Hill Mining Museum

The Sterling Hill Mining Museum was once one of the world’s richest zinc ore deposits and zinc mines, the fourth oldest mine in the United States, and today, it’s an adventurous underground museum. There’s so much to do and see at the mining museum, your littles will love going inside the mine, witnessing real mining equipment, drilling and blasting demonstrations, and the infamous Rainbow Tunnel. The Rainbow Tunnel is a special part of the mine where rocks and parts of the mine glow after being exposed to ultraviolet light. Bright colors and great Instagram opportunities! In addition to the Rainbow Tunnel and the mine tour, your family can visit the Zoben Hall Museum or the Warren Museum of Fluorescence, as well as spend time learning about geology at the Rock Discovery Center. You can watch drilling and blasting demonstrations, and even try sluicing(mining for your own gems) from April to November.
30 Plant St., Ogdensburg, NJ 07439
(973) 209-7212

8. Liberty Science Center

Located on the bank of Jersey City’s Liberty State Park, Liberty Science Center’s goal is to deliver science education to its patrons in an exciting and fun way.  This state-of-the-art museum’s facilities are the most high-tech of its kind, including 12 museum exhibit halls, aquariums, 110 species of live animals, a tornado wind simulator, and much more.  LSC is home to the largest IMAX Dome theater in the world, screening several internationally acclaimed documentaries.  Kids will love the thrills of climbing, crawling, and exploring the multi-story, suspended Infinity Climber, and the amazement of the Nikola Tesla Lightning Show.  Reserve a spot at the BASF Kids’ Lab for your little scientist to participate in a hands-on science experiment.  The Touch Tunnel, PixelPalooza, Nano Mini-Exhibition, Energy Quest, and Hoberman Sphere are just a few more reasons why Liberty Science Center will keep your family busy and entertained all day long.
222 Jersey City Boulevard, Jersey City, NJ 07305
(201) 200-1000

9. New Jersey State Museum

#mosasaur #njstatemuseum ( #? @alyssa_g1023 via @latermedia ) Reposting this image by @alyssa_g1023 for #FossilFriday

A photo posted by New Jersey State Museum (@nj_statemuseum) on

For a classic museum experience, visit the New Jersey State Museum at our state’s capital to experience four museums in one, at this impressive government facility.  Travel back in time with 2 million prehistoric and historic pieces in Archaeology & Ethnography, consisted of specimens brought back to New Jersey by diplomats, military officials, missionaries, and civilians throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries.  Fine Art enthusiasts will appreciate this department featuring pieces mostly from the second half of the 20th Century, focusing on New Jersey as it pertains to our nation’s history, and scenes taking place in our great state.  Cultural History exposes visitors to devices that defined everyday life of those who resided in New Jersey from the 17th Century through present day.  Ceramics, flags carried into battle, maritime and agricultural equipment, furniture, and entertainment devices are just a portion of what your family will discover.  Derived from the New Jersey Geological Survey, the State Museum’s Natural History exhibit features collections of native fossils, bones, minerals and ores, and animal studies.  There is no better place for families to learn about the rich history of New Jersey, than in Trenton’s own New Jersey State Museum.
205 West State St., Trenton, NJ 
(609) 292-6464 

10. Insectropolis

If your little ones love getting their hands dirty outdoors, this lively museum will grab their attention as they see and learn about thousands of bizarre bugs at Insectropolis.  Study carpenter ants and discover how teamwork gets the job done with efficiency, crawl through the Mud Tube to experience the view of subterranean termites, visit the Hive Airport to learn about the unique communication techniques of honey bees, and step inside the Bugseum to see how insects played an important role in Ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Native American cultures.  The Creepy Cavern lets visitors come face to face with tarantulas, and the Insectropolis Zoo displays seasonal featured arthropods, and the museums most venomous creatures.  Getting up close and personal with the educational exhibits and live bugs will show children how to appreciate New Jersey’s insect friends.
1761 Route 9, Toms River, NJ 08755
(732) 349-7090

Psst! Don’t forget to hashtag #NJMOM and tag @njmom and your little cuties could be featured in our next photo round-up.

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About Author

Chelsea is a freelance writer and photographer based in the kid-friendly community of Asbury Park, and she loves sharing tips and news about this cultural beach town with NJMOM readers. When she's not discovering new bike trails, playing in her handbell choir, or reading on the beach, Chelsea works as a Children's Library Associate at a public library. You can catch her out in Asbury Park watching her husband play drums with talented local artists - be sure to come say hello!

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