The constant tug-of-war between education and fun finds middle ground inside this Central Jersey children’s museum, as entertaining exhibits and engaging staff members embed knowledge in each young visitor. Young guests can play veterinarian at the Pet Vet Center, read the news and see themselves on television at the TV News Room, or shed light on the complexities of the human body inside a replica doctor’s office outfitted with realistic equipment.
A motorcycle, retired fire engine, and a grounded airplane shows visitors the wonders of mechanized travel in the Varoom!!! Vehicle Showroom, which leads to an enchanted castle outfitted with a wooden drawbridge, a faux moat, and a new level 3 train exhibit. Party rooms manned by helpful staffers merge learning and celebration, and the onsite gift shop coaxes homebound brain building with a selection of scientific toys.
The Montclair Art Museum throws open its gallery doors and invites guests inside to witness a treasured collection of historic artifacts and culturally relevant exhibits. Rotating displays from a museum collection of more than 4,000 artistic Native-American pieces span centuries of creation, including woven baskets and smartphones. Patrons can analyze 18th and 19th century artwork comprising sculptures, busts, and paintings, then move on to view rotating exhibitions obtained through a weeklong session of no-holds-barred Pictionary. Current exhibitions include The Spectacular of Vernacular that showcases how 25 contemporary artists utilize craft and folklore to explore specific cultural icons, and a display of contemporary and modern art that features the thoughtful work of well-known artists of the past century. After wandering through Montclair Art Museum's hallowed corridors or breezy ventilation ducts, art lovers can meander into the museum store for trinkets and memorabilia.
For more than 100 years, The Newark Museum has enraptured attendees with exhibitions celebrating artistry and science in a facility that currently encompasses 80 galleries. Curious minds delight in national and international artwork, several enthralling science collections, a planetarium boasting a Zeiss ZKP3 star projector, and an enchanting sculpture garden. The new ongoing exhibit Generation Fit: Steps to a Healthier Lifestyle makes use of interactive media and games, such as animated explanations of appetite circuits, video games combined with exercise challenges, and Pilates sessions led by presidentially pardoned turkeys. Partakers can peruse ornaments fashioned between the early 1700s and today at The Glitter & The Gold: Jewelry From the Newark Museum before voyaging into a plethora of permanent galleries. Patron memberships bestow customers with bountiful yearlong benefits, including numerous free admission passes for friends, four planetarium tickets, discounts for shop and café purchase, and reciprocal admission to more than 150 art museums in the country.
The undead roam the corridors and exhibition galleries at the nonprofit Liberty Science Center, seeking out intrepid brain owners who come to enjoy an evening of trick-or-treating, crafting, costume contests, and other ghoulish delights. Class is in session at the Halloween Haunted High School as ghouls recreate terrifying scenes from horror films and elementary-school gym class. Visitors tiptoe into the Creepy Cafeteria, where zombie lunch ladies serve up delicacies fresh from the graveyard and a menacing nurse awaits those foolish enough to seek remedies for their fits of fear.
Splayed across the green lawns of historic Snug Harbor, Staten Island Children's Museum's main brick building houses a four-level wonderland of kid-friendly fun. Tykes learn about nature in exhibits such as Bugs & Other Insects, which lets explorers crawl through a human-size anthill, don shiny beetle carapaces, and sign peace treaties with hissing cockroaches. Portia's Playhouse puts visitors in charge of their own theatrical productions, complete with costumes, a working curtain, and an interactive soundboard, and House About It beckons youngsters over to pick up real drills and make boxes under careful supervision. Outside, a quiet garden offers visitors a place to wind down, and the Sea Of Boats gives life to nautical fantasies on a springy, outdoor play area that cushions inadvertent falls.
The Hoboken Historical Museum celebrates the history, culture, architecture, and overall coolness of the Hoboken area, with 2,000 square feet of photos and artifacts located within the former Bethlehem Steel shipyard. Currently, the main gallery exhibit Surveying the World: Keuffel & Esser + Hoboken, 1870–1968, running until December 23, serves up 500 engineering instruments manufactured by the firm Keuffel & Esser from 1870 to 1968. Visitors to the exhibit can interact with a slide rule or telepathically take apart a transit instrument to discover the goblins turning the gears within. The museum also has an upper gallery, which is a venue for local artists to exhibit work about Hoboken and its environs. Previous artists include popular cityscape artist Frank Hanavan, photographer Virginia Parrott, and the fifth-grade class at Wallace Elementary School. Support the Hoboken Historical Museum with a one-year individual or family membership—both membership packages include benefits such as free admission to the museum, discounts on select museum gift-shop items, a subscription to the museum's quarterly newsletter, and free copies of the museum's Oral History Project chapbooks.
Travel back to experience New York’s past as a home for dinosaurs, Native Americans, and eventually art critics at the Staten Island Museum. Founded in 1881, the museum encapsulates the area’s geological and cultural history with more than two million artifacts. Exhibits showcase relics from prehistoric Staten Island residents; fossil, geological, and wildlife taxidermy samples; and the spark that lit the Statue of Liberty’s torch. Art collections from historical painters and contemporary artists provide a workout for right brains and scan-happy eyes. As part of an ongoing dream to make the exhibits bigger and better, the museum is expanding into the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, a 19th century dormitory for “aged, worn out and retired seamen.”