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.

Don’t forget to hashtag #NJMOM and tag @njmomhq 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 Road, Lincroft, NJ 07738
For more information, please call (732) 747-2266 or visit http://monmouthmuseum.org

2. Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial

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.  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
For more information, please call (856) 966-1652 or visit http://www.battleshipnewjersey.org

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 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
For more information, please call (609) 347-2001 or visit http://www.ripleys.com/atlanticcity/

4. 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.  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.  This museum visit is unlike no other, and will be remembered by your little ones as a right of passage as residents of New Jersey, and young Americans.
Liberty Island on the Hudson River
For more information, please call (212) 363-3200 or visit https://www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm

5. Garden State Discovery Museum

Families will have a blast together at this 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.  The possibilities are endless at Garden State Discovery Museum for young ones to unearth new opportunities and experiences.
2040 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
For more information, please call (856) 424-1233 or visit http://www.discoverymuseum.com

6. Grounds for Sculpture

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.  The whole family will have fun during this outdoor museum sojourn, and will develop a deeper appreciation for modern art along the way.
80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton, NJ 08619
For more information, please call (609) 586-0616 and visit http://www.groundsforsculpture.org/index.cfm

7. Sterling Hill Mining Museum

There is plenty to see and learn about at the Sterling Hill Mine, the fourth oldest mine in the United States.  Walk through the underground tunnels of New Jersey’s last working mine, and experience blasting demonstration reenactments, the functional lamp room, and shaft station.  The famous Rainbow Tunnel features beautiful, naturally recurring luminescent minerals that glow neon colors right before your very eyes.  Every child will get to take home their own piece of fluorescent mineral, straight from the only Rainbow Tunnel in the world.  After emerging from the mine, step inside Zobol Exhibit Hall to see over 20,000 pieces of minerals, fossils, and pieces throughout the history of mining technology.  Frame your museum trip by participating in a scavenger hunt that will guide your family through the facility and assure you see the best mining materials.  Kids of any age can perform their own geology field work at the outdoor Rock Discovery Center and Fossil Center.  An on-site observatory offers nightly viewings for outer space enthusiasts.  The Sterling Hill Mining Museum is a fun, educational platform for families looking for a unique museum in New Jersey.
30 Plant Street, Ogdensburg, NJ 07439
For more information, please call (973) 209-7212 or visit http://sterlinghillminingmuseum.org

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
For more information, please call (201) 200-1000 or visit http://lsc.org

9. New Jersey State Museum

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 Street, Trenton, NJ 08625
For more information, please call (609) 292-6464 or visit http://www.nj.gov/state/museum/index.html

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.  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
To learn more, please call (732) 349-7090 or visit http://www.insectropolis.com/index.htm

Don’t forget to hashtag #NJMOM and tag @njmomhq 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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