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.
Step into the Museum of Early Trades & Crafts, and it's as if the Industrial Revolution never happened. The museum focuses on the life of farmers, builders, and other tradesman of the United State's pre-industrial age. The main floor thrusts visitors into the world of New Jersey farming families from the early 1800s to provide in-depth information about these peoples' lives as well as showcase woodworkers' planks and various hand tools. The lower level, meanwhile, celebrates the working lives of four tradesman from 1850, including a shoemaker and a distiller. While these permanent displays stand as time capsules of a bygone area, a special exhibit space rotates its features regularly. Only a small portion of the museum's artifacts is on display at a time, but visitors can make an appointment to see items from the full collection, which totals more than 8800 artifacts from 21 different trades.
Even without the artifacts, the museum stands as a piece of history, as it's housed within The James Library Building. The building was finished in 1900 and contains stained glass windows, carved stone and wood detailing, and vaulted ceilings that make it the perfect setting to imagine life before Henry Ford invented his flying car.
Established in 1909, the Newark Museum gradually expanded from its two-room origins to the bountiful 80 galleries of today, with a campus comprising a one-room schoolhouse, sculpture garden, and planetarium, in addition to the main museum. Traipse through one of the many ongoing exhibits such as The Glitter and The Gold: Jewelry from the Newark Museum, which displays a glinting anthology of jewelry from the early 1700s to the present, including the "Butterfly Lady" brooch from Newark’s historic jewelry industry and a collection of colonial Rolexes. The impressively curated Tibetan Collection brings to life the Himalayan territory through exhibits such as the 15 biographical, narrative paintings of Tsongkhapa–The Life of a Tibetan Visionary, and Pots of Silver and Gold, replete with traditional Tibetan motifs of lotus buds and dragons.
Mahwah Pizza Master has dished out delectable edibles constructed from fresh ingredients for more than two decades, delighting diners with a menu of circular savories, hearty pasta dishes, and other casual cuisine in a family-friendly setting. Silence the unseemly echoes of an empty belly with starters such as jalapeño poppers ($6.99), buffalo chicken fingers ($8.10), or chicken wings (hot or mild, 10 for $7.75). Famished pizzavores can sate their desire for a delicious discus with one of Mahwah Pizza Master's specialty pies, such as buffalo chicken ($19.50) or chicken teriyaki ($19.50), or they can simply stick to a conventional 16” cheese ($13.50). The comprehensive menu features familiar and reliable favorites that greet taste buds with back slaps and secret handshakes, including a veal parmigiana hero ($8.95 for large), penne ala vodka sauce ($9), and veal marsala ($14.75).
Inside the pitch-black Touch Tunnel, you're completely blind. On your hands and knees, you crawl forward, relying solely on your other senses to lead you through the darkness. The tunnel is only 80 feet long, but the exit might as well be miles away. After finally emerging safe (and sighted) from the most popular exhibit at Liberty Science Center, a family could still spend four more hours at the many hands-on attractions and experiences designed to enlighten visitors about the power and fun of science.
All told, Liberty Science Center houses a dozen galleries for interactive exploration. Visitors can perform surgery on a 3D robotic simulator; tip-toe across a steel girder hovering 18 feet in the air; or even connect with more than 90 different animals, including giant fish and a family of tamarin monkeys. At I Explore, young scientists ages 2–5 learn about the world around them while launching colorful balls into the air or using a xylophone made of stone slabs. When it's time to relax, the whole family can visit the largest IMAX dome theater in the U.S., which transports onlookers from outer space to the deepest depths of the oceans and just about everywhere in between.