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).
The extraordinary Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) in the heart of central New Jersey offers tons to do for adults and children alike. With 270 contemporary sculptures on 35 stunning acres, galleries, concerts, festivals, lectures, amazing dining, shopping and more, there's something for everyone at Grounds For Sculpture.
Rather than focusing on one angle of its state's history, the New Jersey State Museum encompasses four: archaeology, fine arts, culture history, and natural history. Since 1895, the American Association of Museums–accredited complex’s staff has been dedicated to expanding field research and, more recently, public-school outreach. These efforts have culminated in collections of more than 2 million archeological specimens, 2,000 ethnographic artifacts, 12,000 works of art, and 13,000 state cultural artifacts. These pieces pique viewer curiosity in themed exhibits, exploring periods in local art, relationships between native Americans and European settlers, and the state flower’s childhood diaries.
The archaeology collections—assembled by museum staffers and university archaeologists—highlight 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 populate the cultural exhibits.
Though focused on history and art, the museum also immerses visitors in science with its 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.
It's a child's paradise in the Garden State Discovery Museum, where pint-size patrons can climb up rock walls, cavort with wildlife, and imagine themselves as vets, doctors, and news anchors in hands-on exhibits. Red-eared turtles lounge in the wildlife area, inviting kids to gaze upon their slimy shells, and science displays teach guests about gravity, lava, and light.
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 Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art transports visitors to snow-capped mountains with impressive collections of artistic and cultural artifacts from Tibet and the Himalayas. This peaceful retreat houses a permanent exhibition of visually stimulating sculptures, thangka paintings, ritual artifacts, musical instruments, and historic photographs of Tibet. Dust off unused eyes and spy exhilarating exhibitions such as the traditional sand mandala painting created by visiting Buddhist monks from Bhutan in 2005.
High on a hill in Bryn Athyn, a vision of old Europe towers over the surrounding greenery. Built as a private residence between 1928 and 1939, the 20th-century castle was constructed in the medieval style, using symbolism that reflects the faith of the community's earliest inhabitants. The building now serves as a museum that houses religious art and relics dating from Babylonian times up to the present. The museum's permanent and temporary exhibits range from a medieval collection of stained glass that spans the years 1100–1300 to an Egyptian collection that includes an ornate granite libation bowl, which Egyptian priests are said to have used to dump Gatorade on their football coach.