The 13 BEST NJ Museums To Explore – 2023 Guide


Whether your kids are budding scientists, aspire to be the next Picasso, or gravitate toward the whimsical or wacky, there is an NJ museum that will actively engage their passions and provide countless hours of fun for the entire family. And we’re lucky to have museums all over NJ that stimulate the imaginations and cultivate an appreciation of art and science in the youngest patrons to the oldest ones. Spend the day in nature amid immense sculptures and lush landscapes at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, overlook our state from new heights atop the Statue of Liberty National Monument, or escape reality into an off-the-wall world of optical illusions at the TiLT Museum in East Rutherford. Scroll down for 13 NJ museums you’ll want to explore right now. (featured photo credit: Liberty Science Center)

Here are 13 NJ museums kids should experience

monmouth museum

Hands-on activities and exhibits at Monmouth Museum make learning fun. Photo Credit: Monmouth Museum

Monmouth Museum
Known as the Museum of Ideas, Monmouth Museum strives to educate patrons in art, history, and science through interactive experiences and exhibits. Younger kids will have a ball learning and exploring in the interactive and STEAM-based Becker Wing before moving onto the Meyer Art & Nature Area to visit “Stella,” the giant dinosaur sculpture made from auto parts. This NJ museum features family-friendly displays, including work by local artists, to inspire kids’ creativity. General admission tickets are $12 and are free for ages 2 and under.
765 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, NJ 07738
(732) 747-2266

battleship new jersey museum and memorial chains and outside of ship

Step back in time on this restored Navy vessel at Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial. Photo taken at the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial

Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial
What’s cooler than a museum housed inside one of America’s most decorated battleships? Climb aboard the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial, where you’ll learn about the military history and inner workings of the USS New Jersey, an impressive Navy vessel built in 1942 and measuring the length of three football fields. Sit in the chair Admiral Halsey used while commanding his fleet and relax in real sailors’ bunks before embarking on a tour that takes you five stories above and two decks below for a deeper appreciation of this historic battleship. Preschoolers have a fun and safe place to play at Jason’s Kids Kompartment, and the Chow Line offers on-site refreshments, making it even easier to keep the whole family happy. Ticket prices start at $23, depending on the tour.
62 Battleship Place, Camden, NJ 08103
(856) 966-1652

statue of liberty national monument

This iconic symbol of freedom is a must-see activity for everyone. Photo Credit: Istock/rypson

Statue of Liberty National Monument
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 locals just need to hop aboard a fun, quick ferry ride from Jersey City’s Liberty State Park. Before going, check out the online Junior Ranger Activity Booklet for engaging activities to complete throughout your visit. Spend your time on the grounds of Liberty Island, climb into the Pedestal (the Crown is reservation only), and enjoy the unparalleled views. Pair your Statue of Liberty experience with a visit to Ellis Island for a full day of Hudson River history. Ticket prices vary depending on the tour.
Liberty Island on the Hudson River
(212) 363-3200

tilt museum american dream mall

You won’t know which way is up at the TiLT Museum. Photo taken at the TiLT Museum

TiLT Museum
When you step inside this magical land of optical illusions, your world will turn topsy-turvy. At the TiLT Museum, you’re not just there to look at the art—you become part of the colorful, mind-bending exhibits. Legendary urban artist Tracy Lee Stum designed this immersive, selfie-worthy experience where you can star in your own video game, fly through the city on a hot dog, or climb the Statue of Liberty amid dynamic backdrops that will tilt your whole perspective. When you’re ready to return to reality, enjoy the rest of the attractions at the American Dream Mall. General admission tickets are $15.
American Dream, 1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ 08003

grounds for sculpture entrance

Come for the larger-than-life sculptures and stay for the peaceful landscape at Grounds for Sculpture. Photo Credit: Jamie Rose

Grounds for Sculpture
For the nature-loving family whose perfect day includes a stroll through the park, Grounds for Sculpture is the NJ museum for you. Forty-two acres of beautifully curated, diverse gardens are home to an ever-evolving collection of nearly 300 contemporary outdoor sculptures. Children will love to roam the fascinating landscape while stumbling upon colossal artistic structures, discovering hidden nooks and crannies, and doing a double-take at pieces that seem, at first glance, like they are part of nature. Adults will enjoy the winding paths’ whimsical ambiance, twinkling lights, surprise ponds, bamboo forests, and romantic willow trees. There are four indoor galleries that make Grounds for Sculpture a destination during any weather, and don’t miss lunch or dinner at the onsite Rat’s Restaurant with its sublime setting that feels like a Monet painting come to life. Tickets start at $12.
80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton, NJ 08619
(609) 586-0616

sterling hill mining museum

Take a trip through the Rainbow Tunnel at the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. Photo Credit: Istock/photovs

Sterling Hill Mining Museum
Once one of the world’s richest zinc ore deposits and zinc mines, The Sterling Hill Mining Museum is now an exciting underground adventure. Take a tour of the mine —the fourth oldest in the United States— and get an up-close look at actual mining equipment, drilling and blasting demonstrations, and explore the colorful Rainbow Tunnel. Kids will be amazed how the rocks and parts of the mine glow in technicolor when exposed to ultraviolet light (don’t forget to snap a shot for the’ gram). Learn more about geology at the Discovery Centers, Zobel Hall Museum, and the Warren Museum of Fluorescence, and try your hand at sluicing that lets you go home with your gems. Tickets start at $11 for kids and $14 for adults.
30 Plant Street, Ogdensburg, NJ 07439
(973) 209-7212

 liberty science center planetarium

Sit under the stars at Liberty Science Center’s planetarium. Photo Credit: Liberty Science Center

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. Spend time exploring Wobbly World for kids ages 0-5, explore the multi-story, suspended Infinity Climber, and see a Million-Volt Lightning Machine. With a calendar full of special exhibits that appeal to children’s interests, like Thomas & Friends: Explore The Rails, kids can enter immersive worlds, discover a different side to their favorites, and learn problem-solving skills. Don’t miss the BASF Kids’ Lab for your little scientist to participate in a hands-on science experiment. If that’s not enough, the museum is home to the largest planetarium in the western hemisphere. Admission prices are $31.99 for adults, and $26.99 for kids, though there are discounts if you purchase in advance. 
222 Jersey City Boulevard, Jersey City, NJ 07305
(201) 200-1000

New Jersey State Museum

Everything you need to know about the Garden State is here, from prehistoric to the present. Photo Credit: @nj_statemuseum

New Jersey State Museum
Visiting the New Jersey State Museum in our state’s capital is almost like experiencing four museums in one—you have different areas that focus on a distinct part of NJ history. Travel back in time with 2 million prehistoric and historical pieces in Archaeology & Ethnography. The Fine Art collection displays stunning pieces focusing on New Jersey’s history and scenery in the latter 20th century. Discover everyday objects from the 17th century through present-day in the Cultural History area. And finally, the museum’s Natural History exhibit features fascinating collections of native fossils, bones, minerals and ores, and animal studies. General admission is free, and donations are appreciated.
205 West State St., Trenton, NJ 08608
(609) 292-6464 

newark museum of art new jersey

Get your creative juices flowing at The Newark Museum of Art. Photo Credit: The Newark Museum of Art

The Newark Museum of Art
Explore the arts from around the world at The Newark Museum of Art, with various galleries from Global Africa and Decorative Arts to a picturesque Museum Garden with rotating exhibits. Kids can participate in multiple interactive activities, engaging them in geology, fire safety, renewable energy, and outer space. In MakerSPACE, little ones are introduced to the museum’s collections through songs, art, and storytelling. Special family events such as movie nights and community art projects are frequently offered too. The museum has timed tickets at $10 for adults and $8 for kids.
49 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 596-6550 

 aviation museum

Let your little pilots discover historic helicopters, airplanes, and jets and learn all about NJ’s aviation history. Photo Credit: @nas_wildwood

Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum
Travel back in time to learn about military and aviation history at this family-friendly museum with hands-on exhibits and activities for everyone. See the restored Hangar #1 building, learn about Cape May’s history during World War II, and view over 25 historic airplanes, helicopters, and jets. Your kiddos will love to sit in the cockpits of select aircraft, take part in interactive STEM displays, and even climb into an actual air traffic control tower. Tickets are $14 for adults, $10 for ages 3-12, 2 and under, active US military, and members are free.
500 Forrestal Road, Cape May, NJ 08204
(609) 886-8787

 Insectropolis praying mantis

One of the most unique NJ museums around, Insectropolis is the perfect spot for your little bug collector. Photo Credit: @earlgrosser

Do your littles love creepy crawlies? At Insectropolis, take a trip into the insect world, where kids will learn facts and habits about bugs, bees, spiders, caterpillars, and rare insect species. The interactive exhibits engage kids and challenges them to think and live like insects. Start exploring at Bug University to brush up on bug basics, tune into WBug Radio to learn how bugs communicate, and get the buzz on bees and their colonies at the Hive Airport. Tickets are $10 per visitor, and 2 and under are free.
1761 Route 9, Toms River, NJ 08755
(732) 349-7090

Morris Museum NJ

The Morris Museum is an NJ museum with a Smithsonian affiliation. Photo Credit: Morris Museum

Morris Museum
From a single collection in the early 1900s to exhibitions, educational programs, and live performances, the Morris Museum has flourished over the years. And fun fact—it’s the only NJ museum to have a Smithsonian affiliation in the state. Kids can learn about NJ’s Native American history, watch a model train wind through an ever-changing miniature display, or touch a dinosaur egg in the Earth Science Gallery. Don’t miss the Bickford Theatre, with events throughout the year, including storytelling workshops, community concerts, and children’s theatre. General admission is $12, ages 3-17 and students under 25 with an ID are $8, and children under 3 are free.
6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, NJ 07960
(973) 971-3700

Old Barracks Museum NJ

The Old Barracks Museum is the only remaining colonial barracks in New Jersey. Photo Credit: istock/Amy Sparwasser

Old Barracks Museum
Kids can go back in time to learn about 18th-century history at this building, the only existing and restored military structure in NJ connected to the Colonial Wars in 1758, predating the American Revolution. History buffs will appreciate the collection of over 2000 artifacts, ranging from fine art to militia, and there are exhibits spanning centuries of military history, the World’s Fair, and the Women’s Anti-Suffrage Movement. Check out their unique event lineup too, which includes re-enactments, a park cleanup day, and a Sunday Tea. Tickets for adults are $10, students and seniors are $8, and active military and children under 5 are free.
101 Barrack Street, Trenton, NJ 08608
(609) 396-1776

Are you planning on visiting any NJ museums this year? Let us know which ones you love!

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About Author

Charissa is a mom to two teenage girls and one very pampered pup. A lover of good books, strong coffee and bad puns, she has worked in publishing for 20+ years as a writer and copy editor. When not at home watching Gilmore Girls (Team Jess!), Charissa and her daughters enjoy hiking at Jockey Hollow, unearthing hidden treasures at local thrift stores (The Bargain Box in Morristown is one of their faves) and eating their way through New Jersey’s food truck festivals.