Children's Museums in NJ: The Garden State Discovery Museum
Having young kids, I've visited my fair share of children's museums and after a while, they all start to look suspiciously alike. Which is why the Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill was such a welcome surprise. With countless and ever-evolving areas of play, arts and crafts, theater performances and a lovely garden, Garden State has topped our list of favorite Children's Museums in New Jersey. Take a trip to Cherry Hill and spend the day in play!
With my 6-year old son, 8-year old daughter and 10-going-on-30-year old niece in tow, I planned on stopping at the Garden State Discovery Museum for two hours, max. Four hours later, I was literally dragging them out the door spouting promises about how soon we were going to return.
Garden State has the feel of both a museum and your best friend's house that you love to visit because it seems to have a million rooms of cool stuff. Every nook and cranny of the building is stuffed full of discoverable wonders, from the lizard cages lining the walkways to the giant Lite-Brite board to the bubble wand that kids can stand inside of and pull up to encase their entire body. My kids went crazy for the replica of Cherry Hill's Silver Diner, putting on aprons and serving me "dinner", and they tried on costumes and made stage entrances in the Discovery Theater for over an hour. Amazingly enough, Garden State has a small troop of actors who put on original plays and even take them on the road.
One of my favorite things about Garden State Discovery Museum was its spirit of change and growth. Unlike some museums that seem to rest on their laurels and remain stagnant, Garden State is constantly evolving and trying new things. The addition of the large and bright Dinosaurium is a huge draw for the dino-loving set with a " fossil dig" in the middle and a "Baby Dino Nest" on each side of the room for crawlers. Beverly Pak showed us all the areas in the museum that were undergoing renovation and updating, with new carpets, fixtures, and exhibits. And let's be clear, Garden State does not need to change anything to draw in more business--they are already hugely popular in southern Jersey and sustain an incredible amount of size-2-foot traffic--they are just committed to education, inspiration and plain old fun.
The Garden State Discovery Museum has made a quick jump to the list of our favorite kid-friendly spots in NJ. Don't miss out on this lovely little gem!
Garden State Discovery Museum
Hours of Operation: Monday thru Sunday 9:30am -- 5:30pm.
Summer Hours (thru August only) Monday thru Thursday 9:30am thru 8:30pm.
Saturday hours (October thru April 9:30am -- 8:30pm)
Children (12 months and older) and Adults $10.95, Seniors $9.95
Originally published August 2012