An incredible, scenic backdrop, the powerful surround sound of rushing water, and a major New Jersey history lesson for the littles – if you’ve never visited Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, it’s a family road trip worth taking. The Great Falls are without a doubt the centerpiece here, and they actually inspired Alexander Hamilton to establish Paterson as America’s first planned industrial city in 1792 – marking the birth of the Industrial Revolution. So needless to say, this national park is a perfect way for your family to learn about U.S. history, get an awe-inspiring look at the gorgeous waterfall (hello, Insta-worthy photos), and explore its historic mills.
featured image via @danna_berenice
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park: A Historic Treasure the Littles will Love
Located right in Paterson, Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is an easy day trip for you and your family and offers a chance for your littles to envision what life was like in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Great Falls of the Passaic River played an important role in the shaping of American industry. The kids will love learning about how their water power was used to energize the city of Paterson and propel manufacturing in industries like cotton, textiles, and even railroad locomotives.
What to Know Before You Go
The outdoor viewing area of the falls is open year-round. Guided tours are available weekdays at 2PM, and weekends at 11AM and 2PM. You can check out the falls from McBride Avenue Extension, as well as from Mary Ellen Kramer Park off of Maple Avenue.
After you check out the falls, the park has two picnic tables, benches, and plenty of space to spread out a blanket for a fun little family picnic. You should also stop by the Welcome Center and Gift Shop and The Great Falls sister site, The Paterson Museum.
#NJMOM tip: for the kids, there are three ranger programs they can get involved in. The Junior Ranger Program is designed for anyone who wants to learn more about the natural and historic wonders at various National Parks. You can get more info at the welcome center. There’s also the Scout Ranger Program, for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts who design their own service projects to help raise awareness about national parks. And the Web Ranger Program is all online – once you’re back from your road trip, the kids can become a “Webranger” and go on an adventure in the comfort of your own home.
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
72 McBride Avenue
Paterson, NJ 07501
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