It’s beginning to feel like spring has truly set in. While the weather has been warmer for a while, I think that balmy days are here to stay. After hearing the forecast recently, I know that the outlook is promising. We can expect temperatures in the upper 60s, 70s, and even 80s, with little rain. It seems that spring is in full swing! So, here are 10 New Jersey destinations that shine this season…
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Grounds For Sculpture, Address: 80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619
A beautiful place to visit all year long, I particularly enjoy strolling the sizable grounds when the weather is warm (but not hot) and the flowers are in bloom. You'll find 42 breathtaking acres of sculpture, gardens, and a variety of hidden gems. It's peaceful, picturesque and an absolute must-see.
2. Valley Shepherd Creamery, Address: 50 Fairmount Road, Long Valley, NJ 07853
Tours vary by season but the springtime tour is special for a reason....lambs! On your tour, you'll learn about milking, cheese making, and shearing. Peek into the barn, enjoy several samples, visit the shop, and take photos with cute, cuddly lambs. There will be hundreds of fluffy baby lambs and you may even get the chance to hold one.
3. Marine Mammal Stranding Center, Address: 3625 Brigantine Boulevard, Brigantine, NJ 08203
This incredible non-profit is the only federally authorized animal hospital for the rescue of marine mammals and sea turtles in the state of New Jersey. Since 1975, MMSC has responded to nearly 3,500 animals across the region. They have a museum and gift shop open to the public. According to their website, "The museum was established to display marine mammal artifacts for the purpose of public education. Featured are 25 life-sized replicas of marine mammals and fish, all found or stranded in New Jersey waters. In addition, educational displays explain the plight of marine animals that ingest ocean debris. A "Please Touch" display of marine mammal bones features a sperm whale’s jaw bone, dolphin spinal column, skulls, vertebrae and rib bones of small and large whales." They've also got a 1,000 gallon observation tank that's filled each May.
4. New Jersey Renaissance Faire, Address: 1195 Florence Columbus Road, Bordentown, NJ 08505
Though not quite as famous as its New York cousin, this fantastic faire is worth a visit. Spanning 3 weekends between May 18 and June 2nd, there will be plenty to do and see. Enjoy music and comedy performances, acrobats, dancers, jousting, and more. There will be a magician, human chess match, and medieval glass blowing. Purchase add-ons like a fairy tea party or whiskey tasting! You'll also find food, drinks, and dozens of vendors.
5. Popcorn Park Animal Refuge, Address:
1 Humane Way, Forked River, NJ 08731
Popcorn Park isn't a zoo, it's a safe haven for wildlife, domestic, and exotic animals who were rescued from suffering and/or exploitation. You'll find a variety of animals including Bengal Tigers, a Bactrian Camel, monkeys, wallabies, horses, peacocks, and plenty more. Each animal has a story. BooBoo the black bear was used as a partial payment for a used car in Iowa. The dealership hoped to use her as a selling attraction, but soon found they were unable to handle a bear.
6. Red Mill Museum Village, Address: 56 Main Street, Clinton, NJ 08809
The Red Mill Museum Village is the setting for over 200 years of history. Open to the public since 1963, it is one of the most photographed sites in New Jersey. The museum has an amazing collection of over 40,000 agricultural, industrial and domestic artifacts. There are also special exhibits - currently they focus on radio technology and WWI. Be sure to visit the Hunterdon Art Museum just across the way.
7. High Point State Park, Address: 1480 NJ-23, Sussex, NJ 07461
This beautiful 15,000-acre park offers hiking trails and spectacular scenic views. Home to the highest point in New Jersey, be sure to check out the Veteran's Memorial (a massive obelisk) when you visit. With a swimming lake, it can get crowded in the summer, so spring is a wonderful time to stop by.
8. Sahara Sam's Oasis, Address: 535 North Route 73,
West Berlin, NJ 08091
Though the weather is warmer, the water isn't just yet. While we wait eagerly for the ocean temps to rise, we can head to an indoor waterpark for some fun. Sahara Sam's has both indoor and outdoor attractions, wonderful water slides, a lazy river, surfing simulator, arcade, dining options, and more.
9. Morven Museum & Garden, Address: 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ 08540
Morven was built in 1758 and once served as the Governor's Mansion. It now acts as a museum covering both American and New Jersey history. Visitors will also find gorgeous gardens including a Colonial Revival Garden.
10. Liberty State Park, Address: 1 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City, NJ 07305
There's so much to do at Liberty State Park. Pack a picnic, visit the science center, enjoy one of the amazing restaurants and, of course, take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Be sure to check out the new Statue of Liberty Museum. After a $100,000,000 renovation, you're sure to be blown away. Hands-on experiences abound. The museum includes full-scale replicas of Lady Liberty’s face and feet and a recreation of the workshop in Paris where Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi oversaw the sculpture’s creation. Other attractions include a full range of liberty-themed treasures to highlight the statue’s impact on history and popular culture.