This summer was our very first time that we made it to the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton. What a wonderful and surprising experience it was. We all absolutely loved it.
This is our visit to New Jersey State Museum:
First of all, let me tell you, it is very easy to get to. I am often intimidated by driving in an unfamiliar city, in this case Trenton. However, the museum is right on Rt. 29, and I definitely feel comfortable getting there by highways and country roads. I wound up going via a very familiar way until I came to Rt. 29, and then just driving South for 20 minutes until I saw the museum.
The area in Trenton that houses the NJ State Museum, Planetarium, Library, and the NJ Capitol Building is really beautiful. We drove around once, looking for parking. Wound up asking a security guard for help, and he directed us to a ramp between the museum and the Capitol entrance. The ramp is to a very big underground parking lot. The parking is free (after all the trips to NYC it is a very pleasant surprise), and a very nice lady that let us through gave us some awesome recommendations as to what to do.
Once we parked, our first stop was the State Museum. A friend called ahead, and made arrangements for a chemistry class for the kids in the museum. We were right on time. The class was really lovely, and the kids spend 45 minutes talking about the elements, and watching Borax and White Glue become gloopy slime. They were very happy.
After the class was over they headed out to the Planetarium. The show was about Black Holes, something they are very much interested in. My little one was scared of the dark, and the loud noises, so him and I just browsed the Planetarium and the lower floor of the museum for the hour, while we waited for his brother and friends. There was plenty for him to do and see.
After the boys came out of the Planetarium we went around the museum. There are several floors, all filled with wonderful treasures. From fossils to fine art, there was something for everyone to enjoy. The kids got to see all sorts of things that boys find exciting, the moms enjoyed some art (especially one particular one by Alexander Calder, because I’m a huge fan). There was really such a wonderful, wide range of fascinating things to explore there. There was also a neat scavenger hunt that the kids could do, but our kids were too excited to focus. The gift shop was on one of the top floors, and tucked out of sight. Normally I really appreciate that the gift shop is not the first thing you see in a place, but I got pulled in to it anyway. (Wound up leaving the gift shop with a puppet of a rabbit, that turned out to be a very talkative, obnoxious rabbit, that talked all the way home and then some.)
Here are a few pictures from the actual museum, but scroll down for more of our visit.
We wanted to make it for the tour of the Capitol Building, and the last tour of the day started at 3 pm. We left the museum and spend a bit of time walking around the grounds outside. It is done beautifully and made for a very nice time outside. The kids especially enjoyed the fountain. While we waited, we took a look at the WWII memorial across the street. One thing that we did miss is the Old Barracks, but there is always a next time. As always, here are some pictures:
At a few minutes to three we went in to the Capitol Building. First of all, the building itself is amazingly beautiful. I was a little bit obsessed with taking photos of the inside of the dome (as you will witness below). The photos I have don’t do it justice. It’s not just what it looks like, but the whole atmosphere of the place that just takes the breath away. We had a lovely young lady give us a very informative tour, full of life and history. The tour lasted an hour, but we didn’t even notice how the time has passed.
Overall, I felt like this trip was amazing. The kids had a blast, and even if you don’t have kids, I think it makes a wonderful destination for an adult for a day trip. The cost for the entire experience was truly nominal.
The only sort of food we had with us was some mints, strawberries and water. We wound up going to a small market in Lambertville to enjoy some ready salads and sandwiches. If I am to bring food there next time, I would leave it in a cooler, in the car, and eat it outside in between the activities. Or eat before we go in, with a snack for later. There really aren’t many spaces where food was allowed inside, but that is just fine.
Here is their website for all the info, like address and directions, hours and admission: New Jersey State Museum Website.
I hope you all enjoy a trip to this wonderful place in New Jersey!