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There’s no shortage of exciting attractions in New Jersey. From the neon-lit casinos in Atlantic City to the charming seaside villages along the shore, you’ll find a wide choice of things to see and do. Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Board the ferry at Liberty State Park and enjoy views of the Manhattan skyline.
When you’re finished seeing Lady Liberty and the Ellis Island National Immigration Museum, take in the sights and sounds of New York Harbor on the boat ride back to the park. Save time for a lighthouse tour. The Sandy Hook Lighthouse in Highlands is the oldest working lighthouse in the country. East Point Lighthouse in Heiserville is the second oldest, and Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City is the tallest in the state at 171 feet.
Golfers won’t want to miss the USFA Museum in Far Hills. The museum is brimming with golf memorabilia and artifacts including the putter used by astronaut Alan Shepard on the moon. Test your putting prowess at the nine-hole Pyrnes Course and view antique clubs from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Batsto Village in Hammonton is a former bog iron and glassmaking center near Wharton State Forest.
Hike the Batonia Trail and view bald eagles and blue herons. Diggerland USA in West Berlin is the only construction-themed amusement park in North America. See what it’s like to operate a bulldozer, excavator, or backhoe. The Cohanzick Zoo in Bridgeton was New Jersey’s first zoo. The historic facility is now home to more than 100 animals. Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange features more than 100 species from five continents. Bergen County Zoological Park in Paramus occupies 18 acres.
See wildlife from South, Central and North America and enjoy a walk through the aviary. Cape May County Park & Zoo is home to 550 animals and 85 acres of exhibits. Space Farms Zoo & Museum in Beemerville offers glimpses of more than 500 animals in rural Northern New Jersey. Lakota Wolf Preserve in Columbia offers educational tours and a chance to see British Columbian wolves, timber wolves, and Arctic wolves in natural surroundings.
Nature lovers can see exotic butterflies and reptiles at World of Wings in Teaneck. Adventure Aquarium in Camden boasts 200,000 square feet of marine life exhibits including a 40-ft. walk-through tunnel and a 4-D theater. Jensen’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant Beach features Atlantic sharks, penguins, stingrays, and coral reefs. Popcorn Park Refuge in Forked River is a haven for rescued wildlife and farm animals. See lions, tigers, cougars, monkeys, baboons, and other exotic animals.
New Jersey is also home to many one-of-a-kind attractions. Lucy the Elephant is a building in Margate that bears an uncanny resemblance to a pachyderm. Tour the inside and enjoy impressive views of the Atlantic Ocean. The Edison Memorial Tower in South Plainfield is affectionately known as “the world’s tallest light bulb.” Built to honor the inventions of Thomas Edison, the 131-ft. tower has become a quirky landmark.
Hockey fans will want to take a selfie with the Giant Steel Hockey Player in Newark. Located in the plaza adjacent to the Prudential Center, the statue stands 22 ft. high and weighs 6000 pounds. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum in Atlantic City offers a unique collection of exhibits including the world’s smallest production car, authentic shrunken heads and a roulette table assembled from over 14,000 jellybeans. View 14 themed galleries and over 400 exhibits and artifacts in the Odditorium.
The Paranormal Museum in Asbury Park features a large collection of unusual exhibits on everything from vampires and werewolves to the mythical New Jersey Devil. See presentations on unexplained mysteries and learn about folklore and superstitions from the past to the present. Insectopolis is the equivalent of a bug museum. Located in Toms River, it features insects from all over the world and a variety of hands-on activities. Get schooled in bug basics at Bug University, touch a live scorpion or tarantula if you dare, or watch an army of ants build a tunnel.
Field Station in Leonia exhibits 32-life-sized animatronic dinosaurs in a 20-acre park with extensive winding trails. Delaware River Railroad Excursions in Phillipsburg offers train rides to the Susquehanne Mine and Warren County Winery. Throughout the year the railroad also offers special events like the Polar Express. Black River & Western Railroad in Flemington offers rides on steam and diesel trains. See the largest miniature railway in the world at Northlandz in Flemington.
New Jersey’s official Tall Ship is the Schooner A.J. Meerwald at Bayshore Center in Bivalve. The restored oyster dredger first sailed in 1928. Today it offers themed excursions and trips to view lighthouses and other attractions around New Jersey’s shores. Agritourism is becoming increasingly popular in New Jersey. Many farms and orchards offer pick your own fruit options and seasonal festivals including corn mazes, pig races, pumpkin carving, and other events.
VonThun’s Country Farm & Market in Monmouth Junction, Hallock’s U-Pick Farm in New Egypt and Howell Living History Farm in Lambertville are fun destinations for the whole family. If a hot air balloon ride is on your wish list, you’ll find several operators offering flights in Northern, Central and Southern New Jersey. The New Jersey Festival of Ballooning at Solberg Airport is held in July. The three-day festival includes more than 125 balloons, live music, food vendors, and air shows. In late July and August, the Warren County Farmers Fair & Hot Air Balloon Festival features a week of hot air balloon festivities.