Insectropolis transports humans to a bug-themed city populated with thousands of creepers and crawlers. Insect enthusiasts enjoy unlimited admission to more than a dozen educational exhibits, which include a crash course in bug basics and interactive games that help museum-goers to develop a newfound appreciation for purported pests. Observe arachnid sewing circles or watch ants forage for food and build tunnels that spell out the answers to tomorrow's crossword puzzle. Bug-touching presentations (12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Monday–Friday, and throughout the day on Saturdays) are one of the bugseum’s most popular activities and encourage guests to overcome unfounded fears by touching a live millipede, stroking a scorpion, or caressing a cockroach while expanding insectile awareness. Periodically, Insectropolis also holds a variety of fundraisers and themed events, such as bug hunts and cockroach races (some events may require guests to pay an additional fee to gain entry).
If a subject is art-related, chances are you can learn about it at Around the Corner Art Center. With a slate of teachers who specialize in working with specific age groups and art mediums, students can learn how to sketch or sew, hone their brush strokes, and construct mixed-media pieces. With all these disciplines under one roof, there is a class for everyone from children to college art students to adults. The staff's love of art even extends to the birthday parties they host, with artistic themes that may include recreating a famous painting or learning how to draw cartoons, anime, and manga.
Conceived as part of sculptor Seward Johnson's impressionistic vision, Rat's Restaurant transports degusting diners into Claude Monet's beloved town of Giverny with cosmopolitan home cooking served overlooking a delicate lily pond. Launch your exploration into head chef Shane Cash's exceptional dinner menu with the petit escargot, featuring lemon verbena, escargot butter, and parsley tortellini ($15). Sophisticated palates can decorate themselves with a delectable selection of entrees, including Scottish halibut, a fresh pan-roasted catch accompanied by cauliflower puree and almond-caper meuniere sauce ($30). Before stepping into the attached Grounds For Sculpture galleries and discovering the secrets of scratch-n-see artwork, enjoy sips from a menu of hand-crafted cocktails and an eclectic wine list.
Open for business from the first blossoms of spring until the last leaves of autumn, Decker Farm stocks its shelves with organic fruits and vegetables harvested each day from its 11-acre field. Crisp stalks of asparagus beckon shoppers away from ripe tomatoes and juicy lemons, and fresh foods—such as sourdough bread, cheeses, and raisin fennel semolina prepared onsite—add local touches to dinner parties or food-pyramid Halloween costumes.
The New Jersey State Museum & Planetarium grants residents and visitors a lifelong education in science, history, and the arts through its collections, exhibitions, programs, publications, and scholarship. Founded in 1895 and accredited by the American Association of Museums, the complex holds more than 2.6 million artifacts, specimens, and works of art in its collections. These pieces pique viewer curiosity in themed exhibits, exploring art periods, relationships between Native Americans and European settlers, natural history, and other topics.
The Archaeology & Ethnography Collection highlights textiles, beads, and hide works from Delaware Indians and other North American–natives. The Fine Art Collection assembles works by American modernists and abstract artists. Massive Trenton-made furnishings, Civil War–flags, and maritime artifacts are among the fascinating objects in the Cultural History exhibits, and the Natural History Collection houses prehistoric fossils—many from New Jersey—and insect, animal, and geological specimens. The museum is also home to the 150-seat Planetarium, which dazzles eyes with images of the solar system, faraway stars, and astronaut training during shows. Audiences witness traditional sky projections and laser-created programs comprised of 6,000 stars on the ceiling of the full 360-degree dome.
The Old Barracks was constructed in 1758 to house British soldiers during the French and Indian War. Since then, the barracks have seen many turbulent times, including serving as a military hospital during the American Revolution. Now converted into a museum, patrons can walk through the barracks, read about colonial and American history, and view 18th-century artifacts and weapons. 45-minute guided tours are also offered on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.