Great Off the Beaten Path Museums in NJ
Don’t miss these under-the-radar museums in the Garden State your kids will love!
Tired of going to the same museums over and over again with the kids? If you're looking for something to do that's a little different, check out one of these slightly different museums for a totally new (and educational) experience.
If you like: Planes and Cars
Then try: The Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of New Jersey
400 Fred Wehran Dr., Teterboro
Why we love it: You can view real-life aircrafts, trucks, helicopters and check out exhibits all celebrating flight. They have open cockpit weekends when you can climb inside and kids ages 8-15 can sign up for their dare-to-fly program and learn basic aeronautics by building gliders.
Price: $8 adults; $6 children and seniors
If you like: Sea Shells
Then try: The Discovery Sea Shell Museum
2721 Asbury Ave., Ocean City
Why we love it: Walked the beach all day and found nothing but broken clam shells? With over 10,000 shells on exhibit at this South Jersey spot, you can see some of the rarest shells, and learn which ones to keep an eye out for on the Shore. There’s also a fun gift shop.
Price: Free admission
If you like: Rocks and Gems
Then try: Sterling Hill Mining Museum
30 Plant St., Ogdensburg
Why we love it: As the former Sterling Hill zinc mine (the last operating mine in NJ), there’s a ton of history here. Walk through a 1,300-foot underground mine that includes naturally occurring glow-in-the-dark rainbow zinc, visible under UV lights. Then head out into the field to find six different kinds of rocks in a treasure hunt.
Price: Tours are $12 adults; $9 children; $11 seniors
Rock and Mineral Collection: $5 per person admission
If you like: Interactive, Hands-on Experiences
Then try: The Garden State Discovery Museum
2040 Springdale Rd. #100, Cherry Hill
Why we love it: Kids can roam free here or even play pretend at a farm stand. They can also climb into a T-rex at the Dinosaurium and play dress-up at the Backstage Theatre.
Price: $13.95 adults/children; $12.96 seniors
If you like: Animals and the Environment
Then try: Wetlands Institute and Museum
1075 Stone Harbor Blvd., Stone Harbor
Why we love it: The Wetlands Institute promotes conservation of coastal ecosystems through different activities. There is an aquarium, a terrapin station, observation towers, a marsh walk and different monthly events, such as the Turtle Fest, Crabulous Crab Day and Fall Migration Festival!
Price: $8 ages 13 and up; $6 ages 3-12
If you like: Trains
Then try: Whippany Railway Museum
1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany
Why we love it: Although it is only open on Sundays, this museum is a must-visit for any train lover, with historic trains on display and fun train excursions, like a pumpkin festival in October, Santa Claus specials all throughout November and December and an Easter Bunny ride in April.
Price: Museum admission, adults, $1; children, 50 cents
Train ride excursions: Adults starting at $14; children starting at $9
If you like: Bugs
Then try: Insectropolis
1761 Rte. 9, Toms River
Why we love it: See a multitude of insects, lizards and tarantulas—the kids can even touch some of them! They also have a mud tube you can crawl in and a hive airport where you can view bees hard at work.
Price: $8 per visitor; children 2 and under are free
If you like: Surfing
Then try: NJ Surf Museum
120 West Main St. #1, Tuckerton
Why we love it: Some of their tours involve hands-on trips into the water. What's cooler than that? They also have a surf simulator, wooden boat carving (for an additional fee) and exhibits that cover the origin of surfing.
Price: Adults $8; seniors $6; children 6-12 $3; children 5 and under are FREE
If you like: Animals
Then try: Space Farms Zoo and Museum
218 County Rd. 519, Sussex
Why we love it: This off-the-beaten path zoo is home to many record-setting animals, including Goliath, the largest bear in the world from 1967–’91. This private collection of North American wildlife is the largest in the world. Plus, check out the eskimo exhibit, antique cars, doll museum and blacksmith shop.
Price: Adults, $17; children (3–12), $13.50; seniors (65+), $15.50; children under 3 are FREE
If you like: Pinball and Arcades
Then try: The Silverball Museum Arcade
1000 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park
Why we love it: Got a gamer in the family? They'll love this spot with pinball machines from every year since 1950.
Price: $10 for one hour of game play or $25 for unlimited all-day game play