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Best Field Trips to Take in the NJ Area

Whether you’re planning a class trip with your PTA or looking for an awesome place to take the kids, these spots offer plenty of fun hands-on learning. Call ahead because some venues offer special group rates.


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courtesy of the museum of natural history

 

Adventure Aquarium

1 Riverside Dr., Camden
844-474-3474; adventureaquarium.com

The kids will marvel at more than 8,500 aquatic species, plus the shark tunnel where they can walk right under the massive creatures. They won’t want to miss the stingray petting, hippo feedings and, of course, little blue penguins waddling around in all their adorable glory.

America’s Grow-A-Row

150 Pittstown Rd., Pittstown
908-331-2962; americasgrowarow.org

Visitors to this farm will learn about food scarcity and how to harvest plants. If your child’s class or group can’t get to Pittstown, the organization will come to his school to teach students how to help those who lack access to healthy food.

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park W. at 79th St., NYC
212-769-5100; amnh.org

From dinosaurs to outer space, there’s a ton to explore here. You may want to pick a floor or hall that suits your group’s needs and use the museum’s online field trip guides to customize your day. Make sure the kids don’t miss the museum’s famous giant blue whale.

Battleship NJ

62 Battleship Pl., Camden
856-966-1652; battleshipnewjersey.org

If you’re looking for a group overnight, this trip where the kids can stay aboard the ship and sleep in bunks is sure to be a hit. A visit to the massive ship docked in the Delaware River right on the Camden Waterfront also makes for a great day trip. The self-guided tour takes kids to the navigational bridge, inside the giant gun turrets and into the admiral’s chair.

Bronx Zoo

2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY
718-367-1010; bronxzoo.com

It’s almost impossible to see everything in one visit to this gigantic zoo. There are tons of interactive experiences to explore, like being just inches away from gorillas. The monorail (where the kids will see tigers), walk-through butterfly exhibit and pretty pink flamingos are faves for any group.

Children’s Museum of The Arts

103 Charlton St., NYC
212-274-0986; cmany.org

This cool art museum, known for hands-on play, features modern artists who work in mediums like collage and woodwork. The kids can sculpt at the clay bar and get a lesson in stop-motion animation or podcasting.

The Coastal Experience

Various locations
732-872-1300, ext. 13.; njseagrant.org

Children will dive into learning about the sea on an array of field trips sponsored by the NJ Sea Grant Consortium. Little marine biologists can learn everything from the history of Sandy Hook to how humans affect the ocean and its inhabitants.

Cooper Gristmill

66 Rte. 24, Chester; 908-879-5463

friendsoffosterfieldsandcoopermill.org

Isiah Younglove established this gristmill and sawmill in what is now Chester Township some time before the 1760s. Today, the site stretches across 14 acres of land rich with history. He’ll learn about the Industrial Revolution, technology and agriculture during the 19th and 20th centuries.  

courtesy of the monmouth museum

 

Field Station: Dinosaurs

Overpeck County Park, Leonia
855-999-9010; fieldstationdinosaurs.com

Travel 90 million years back in time and walk with a T. rex at this home to life-size robotic dinosaurs. Kids can feel like paleontologists and look at fossils, experience IMAX 3D and study dino eating habits. It’s only open in the summer, making it an awesome camp field trip.

Fosterfields Living Historical Farm

73 Kahdena Rd., Morristown

973-326-7645 friendsoffosterfieldsandcoopermill.org

At this living history farm, kids can experience what life was like in the fields at the turn of the century. If your kids learn by doing, they’ll love feeding chickens, grinding corn and collecting eggs to get a taste of the past.

Franklin Institute

222 N. 20th St., Philadelphia, PA
215-448-1200; fi.edu

Do you vividly remember crawling your way through the gigantic human heart at this science museum? It’s still there, along with awesome new features like a mirror maze, escape room, live science shows and 3D printing displays.

Franklin Mineral Museum

32 Evans St., Franklin

973-827-3481; franklinmineralmuseum.com

New Jersey is known for its abundance of fluorescent rocks (which means they glow cool colors under different kinds of UV or black light). This spot gives your little geologist a thrill as he learns how minerals and mining affect us.

The Gagasphere

140 Franklin Tpke., Waldwick
201-445-2546; thegagapsphere.com

Students in grades one through six can participate in Gaga and the Physics of Motion. They’ll get exclusive access to the facility, hands-on activities and a chance to enter the Gaga pit for some bouncing fun.

Garden State Discovery Museum

2040 Springdale Rd., Ste. 100, Cherry Hill
856-424-1233; discoverymuseum.com

This attraction is perfect for kids 10 and younger, who can help build a two-story house in the Under Construction exhibit and play hockey in the Flyers Mini Rink.

Great Falls National Site

72 McBride Ave., Paterson
973-523-0370; nps.gov/pagr/index.htm

This stunning natural attraction is NJ’s newest national park site. It’s got magnificent waterfalls that kids can almost reach out and touch, all while learning about the history of Paterson and its industrial renaissance.

Grounds for Sculpture

80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton
609-586-0616; groundsforsculpture.org

More than just a garden, this beautiful spot combines both nature and art. Filled with works of contemporary artists, your group can walk the grounds and view more than 200 sculptures peppered across 42 acres of blooming land.

Historic Longstreet Farm

44 Longstreet Rd., Holmdel
732-946-3758; monmouthcountyparks.com

This trip, perfect for students of all ages, features guided tours, wagon rides and ice cream. Kids will get a first-hand look at how farmers churned butter and fed chickens back in the 1890s.

The Historic Village at Allaire

4263 Atlantic Ave., Farmingdale
732-919-3500; allairevillage.org

This former factory town is now a living history experience where kids get a glimpse of what life was like for people during the 19th century. Historic interpreters dressed in period garb give tours and demonstrations about life pre-electricity.

courtesy of the old barracks

 

Howell Living History Farm

70 Woodens Ln., Lambertville
609-737-3299; howellfarm.org

Open since the 1730s, this farm is a prime location for learning about growing produce. Kids can explore the hen house, corn crib and ox barn before viewing the windmill and blacksmith area.

Insectropolis

1761 Rte. 9, Toms River
732-349-7090; insectropolis.com

This is NJ’s only bugseum, and it celebrates all things creepy crawly. Hands-on displays will have her getting touchy with a tarantula or scorpion before the day is over, and crawling through a mudtube to see what it’s really like to be an insect.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Pier 86, W. 46th St. and 12th Ave., NYC
212-245-0072; intrepidmuseum.org

Visitors to the legendary aircraft carrier on the West side of Manhattan in the Hudson River will be blown away by the Space Shuttle Pavilion, where they’ll get a close-up look at a real-life retired NASA space shuttle; the USS Growler, a former military submarine kids can walk through; the Exploreum, an interactive space in the hangar deck and so much more.

Lakota Wolf Preserve

89 Mount Pleasant Rd., Columbia
908-496-9244; lakotawolf.com

Take a Wolf Watch tour on which your group will get to know these majestic animals. You’ll get to see the wolves at play, along with bobcats and foxes.

Liberty Hall Museum

1003 Morris Ave., Union
908-527-0400; kean.edu/libertyhall

This mansion is home to antique furniture, art and a rich history. He’ll be transported to the Victorian era while learning about New Jersey’s first governor.

 Liberty Science Center

222 Jersey City Blvd., Jersey City
201-200-1000; lsc.org

The kids will get hands-on experience with electricity, amphibians and more at this state-of-the-art science museum. Don’t miss special limited-time exhibits or a film in the IMAX theater. 

Macculloch Hall

45 Macculloch Ave., Morristown
973-538-2404; maccullochhall.org

This museum offers custom field trips for different grades. First graders can tour the historic garden and learn about holiday traditions while older kids get the scoop on plant cycles and composting.

courtesy of the monmouth museum

 

Monmouth Museum

765 Newman Springs Rd., Lincroft

732-747-2266; monmouthmuseum.org

Explore monthly themes like science, space or animals with hands-on crafts and workshops. Your little ones will especially love wandering through the Children’s and Wonder Wings, where they’ll climb walls and board pirate ships.

Montclair Art Museum

3 South Mountain Ave., Montclair
973-746-5555; montclairartmuseum.org

The MAM provides an awesome program full of Native American art for viewing, along with works from world class artists like Matisse. The Yard School of Art offers a variety of classes in just about every medium.

Morris Museum

6 Normandy Heights Rd., Morristown
973-971-3700; morrismuseum.org

There are galleries packed with geological finds from NJ and beyond, as well as retro dollhouses, trains and much more. Look for frequent LEGO-themed displays, and don’t miss kiddie shows at the attached Bickford Theater.  

Morristown National Historic Park

30 Washington Pl., Morristown
973-543-1949, ext. 210; nps.gov/morr/planyourvisit/basicinfo.htm

This National Historical Park is located at the site where George Washington and the Continental Army survived the cold winter of 1779. There are 27 miles of hiking trails to explore, but kids under 12 can go on a scavenger hunt to become Junior Rangers.

Newark Museum

49 Washington St., Newark
973-596-6550; newarkmuseum.org

At this hands-on museum, kids can visit the popular Dreyfuss Planetarium, learn about renewable energy, examine plate tectonics at the Dynamic Earth exhibit and learn fire safety through A Cry of Fire: The New Jersey Fire Story.

New Jersey State House

125 West State St., Trenton
609-292-2121; njleg.state.nj.us/legislativepub/visitingstatehouse.asp

She’ll have the opportunity to learn about NJ representatives, visit the Senate and General Assembly galleries and explore the building’s art and architecture.

New Jersey State Museum

205 W State St., Trenton
609-292-6300; http://www.nj.gov/state/museum

Check out Garden State history like Native American artifacts, dinosaur fossils and flags from the Civil War. Visit the planetarium after your family spends time at “Our Story: New Jersey’s 9/11 Exhibit,” where your kids can learn about the attack’s affect on NJ and the country.

New York Hall of Science

47-01 111th St., Queens, NY
718-699-0005; nysci.org

Explore more than 450 exhibits at this Corona museum where students can take a tour of the Solar System and learn about all things science. If you can’t make it to Queens, your child’s teacher can video conference workshops from the classroom.

Old Barracks Museum

101 Barrack St., Trenton
609-396-1776; barracks.org

Head to the state’s capital city to see where soldiers lived during the Revolutionary War. She’ll love being transformed into a 19th-century soldier.

Please Touch Museum

4231 Ave. of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA

215-581-3181; pleasetouchmueseum.org

Young kids might not like that most museums don’t allow them to touch the artwork. But they’ll love Please Touch, where interactions are mandated. We especially love Wonderland, where they’ll feel like they’ve fallen down the rabbit hole, and Flight Fantasy, where kids can make their own working rockets.

Raptor Trust

1390 White Bridge Rd., Millington
908-647-2353; theraptortrust.org

At this Central Jersey spot, students can learn about hawks, eagles, owls and other birds of prey that are being rehabilitated. They’ll learn the role these birds play in the food chain and have a chance to see them in action while taking a tour of the facility.

courtesy of the red hill museum

 

Red Mill Museum

56 Main St., Clinton
908-735-4101; theredmill.org

The Red Mill is a Hunterdon County landmark and staple for many. Tours of this 19th-century building will make kids feel like they’ve stepped back in time. Go during the fall for spooky ghost-hunting tours.

South Street Seaport Museum

12 Fulton St., NYC

southstreetseaportmuseum.org

Students will learn how New York became a prominent port city. The museum offers tours of historic buildings and ships, plus plenty of interactive learning activities.

Space Farms

218 County Rd. 519, Sussex
973-875-5800; spacefarms.com

This 100-acre museum and zoo is one of NJ’s most unique spots. There are more than 500 animals to see and nine large buildings where you can get tours of antique cars, Native American art, culture and more.

 Sprout Creek Farm

34 Lauer Rd., Poughkeepsie, NY
845-485-8438; sproutcreekfarm.org

This destination is perfect for students interested in plants, animals and nature. Kids can explore 200 acres of plant life while visiting sheep, cows, chickens and turkeys.

Statue of Liberty (Liberty State Park)

Morris Pesin Dr., Jersey City
201-915-3403; libertystatepark.org

Your kid has likely seen Lady Liberty in the New York Harbor, but maybe hasn’t had a chance to climb the stairs for a view from her crown. Don’t miss the boat to Ellis Island for a history lesson on America’s immigrants.

Thomas Edison National Historic Site

211 Main St., West Orange
973-736-0550, ext.11; nps.gov/edis/index.htm

She may know Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb, but what about his other life-changing work? At this National Historic Site, kids explore his chemistry lab and tour the Black Maria, his first film studio.

courtesy of field station: dinosaur

 

Turtle Back Zoo

560 Northfield Ave., West Orange
973-731-5800; turtlebackzoo.com

This zoo keeps adding more amazing stuff, like a touch-tank of stingrays and a giraffe exhibit. We love the hands-on farm and Aviary, where the Budgerigars hop on your hands as you feed them.

Valley Shepherd Creamery

50 Fairmount Rd., Long Valley
908-876-3200; valleyshepherd.com

Travel to this farm to learn about sheep-raising and cheese-making. During a guided tour, kids can visit farm animals and learn how to age cheese. Stop at the Sheep Shoppe for a unique souvenir.

The Wildlife Conservation and Education Center

303 Midland Ave., Garfield
201-257-2231; njbatman.com

Students can visit this center to learn how important bats are to the ecosystem. Kids will watch a presentation about these special mammals and see them live. They’ll also get up close with owls, tarantulas and other mysterious critters.

Wild West City

50 Lackawanna Dr., Stanhope
973-347-8900; wildwestcity.com

This old-timey amusement park is the perfect spot for her to don her cowgirl hat and watch a shootout in town square. The stagecoach ride and live shows offer an immersive Western experience.

Zimmerli Art Museum

71 Hamilton St., New Brunswick
848-932-7237; zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu

The Zimmerli offers a variety of education programs—drawing classes, hands-on activities for families, summer art camps, training programs and more. There's complimentary admission on the first Sunday of the month, too. Kids can check out thousands of original pieces of art, educator-led discovery tours and other opportunities that complement their school curriculum. 

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