Best Museums for Kids in Northern New Jersey: Children's Museums and Family-Friendly Museums

The Science of Pixar exhibit at Liberty Science Center offers interactive fun. Photo courtesy of LSC
The Science of Pixar exhibit at Liberty Science Center offers interactive fun. Photo courtesy of LSC
11/3/23 - By Elaine Paoloni Quilici

When bad weather hits, a trip to a museum can be a great cure for cabin fever. Northern New Jersey is home to a collection of world-class, kid-friendly museums–including world-class institutions like the Liberty Science Center and the Newark Museum of Art–where kids can study the stars at a planetarium, learn about dinosaurs that once roamed New Jersey, create their own works of art, meet animals, make music, and much more.

Read on for our favorite cultural spots in North Jersey, and be sure to check out our roundup of museums in central and southern NJ, too.


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Hoboken Historical Museum and Fire Department Museum – Hoboken

Main museum (closed Mondays): Adults, $5; FREE for children. Fire Department Museum (open weekends): Adults, $5; FREE for children. 
This museum focuses on Hoboken history and features works by local artists. The 2,000-square-foot space also has interactive displays and various family programs. The affiliated Fire Department Museum is a short drive away. It houses fire gear, memorabilia, and a fire engine from 1932 that kids can climb aboard. Storytimes are held at both museums.

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Imagine That is part play space, part children's museum in Florham Park, New Jersey
Take a break from screen time at ImagineThat!!!

Imagine That!!! – Florham Park

Adults, $6.99; Children, $21.99 per child; FREE for children under age 1. Closed Mondays.
Imagine That!!! caters to preschool-age and young schoolchildren with experiences based on play and discovery. The 16,000-square-foot space includes a peg light wall, oversized foam blocks and construction toys, a castle, a pirate ship, a pretend grocery store, and more. There's a soft playscape where younger kids can climb and explore. Purchase tickets in advance online.

Aviation Hall of Fame of New Jersey – Teterboro

Adults, $15; Children, ages 3-12, 12. Open Wednesdays through Saturdays.
Learn all about flying at this museum adjacent to Teterboro Airport. You'll see aircraft, helicopters, the first American hovercraft, and even a rocket engine. Kids will love Open Cockpit Weekends (check the website for upcoming events), where they can see what it's like to be a pilot. You can also hold a party here. Timed-entry reservations are required.

Liberty Hall Museum – Union

Adults, $14; Children, $10; FREE for children under 3. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Built in 1772, this mansion houses 50 rooms full of antique furniture, toys, tools, textiles, and ceramics. Stroll through the rooms to see what it was like to live in its era. Various tours and special programs for kids and families are held, such as the annual breakfast with Santa.

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The Morris Museum
The Morris Museum hosts plenty of programming for kids. 

The Morris Museum – Morristown

Adults, $12; Children, ages 3-17, $8. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
The Morris Museum has an extensive collection of 19th-century musical dolls and machines. Or, check out the Spark!Lab maker studio, a STEM-filled space that lets kids turn themselves into engineers. Other permanent exhibits include the Mega Model Trains, the Dinosaur Den, and the rocks and minerals collection. The museum is home to the Bickford Theatre, which has programming for kids and adults. Book your tickets online or at the door with a credit card only.

Liberty Science Center – Jersey City

Adults, $30.99-$32.99; Children, ages 2-12, $25.99-$27.99. Open Thursdays-Sundays only, and some school holidays.
This interactive learning museum boasts four floors of exhibits and experiences. See Wild Animals, learn about dinosaurs and mammoths, build and test model cars, play with a giant light wall, and learn about energy and microbes. Spend some time in the Infinity Climber, which is a one-of-a-kind suspended play space, or see a show in LSC's planetarium. Little ones won't want to miss Wobbly World, where they'll explore balance and cause-and-effect. Grab a bite at Cafe Skylines, or visit one of the family-friendly restaurants nearby. LSC also hosts birthday parties and overnight camp-ins. 

The Newark Museum of Art – Newark

Adults, $10; Children, ages 3 and older, $8; FREE for children under age 2. The museum is open Thursdays-Sundays only.
The Newark Museum of Art is home to one of the nation's oldest and most comprehensive collections of African art. The museum also hosts special events for kids such as Family Drop-In, outdoor Community Day, and Creative Play, geared toward kids ages 3-5. Timed-entry tickets must be purchased in advance online. Make time before or after your visit to check out one of these kid-friendly Newark restaurants!

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The Montclair Art Museum is one of our favorite museums in northern New Jersey
There is tons for kids to do and see at the Montclair Museum of Art.

Montclair Art Museum – Montclair

Adults, $15; Students, $12; FREE for children under age 12. Open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only.
The Montclair Art Museum offers classes and programs that help children learn about and enjoy the art in the museum's collections and exhibits. The museum has been collecting and preserving Native American and American artwork for more than 100 years and now holds an impressive 12,000 works of art. While walk-ins are welcome, timed-entry tickets are encouraged and can be purchased online. 

Washington's Headquarters Museum – Morristown

Admission is FREE. Open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only.
Learn all about the brutal winter of 1779-80, when George Washington and the Continental Army hunkered down in Morristown. Part of Morristown National Historical Park, this museum includes artwork, portraits, maps, weapons, and other original artifacts from the Revolutionary War, as well as the sword Washington wore during his first presidential inauguration. 

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Thomas Edison National Historical Park is one of our favorite kid-friendly museums in New Jersey
Learn about how Thomas Edison changed our world at Thomas Edison National Historical Park.

Thomas Edison National Historical Park – West Orange

Adults, $15; FREE for children under 16. The museum is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only.
Travel back in time and discover where America's greatest inventor changed the modern world. Visitors can walk through Edison's library, machine shop, music room, and more, as well as view his chemistry lab. And don't miss the Black Maria, a replica of the world's first movie studio, built in 1893.

All photos courtesy of their respective venues. This post was originally published in 2016 and has since been updated.

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