Discovering Fun and Imagination in The Garden State
A day at the Garden State Discovery Museum
Part of our mission and purpose in writing this blog is to explore and really LEARN what NJ has to offer. So, for our first PLACE post on the I Really Like NJ Blog we decided to join our friends at Community Rocks! while they took their show on the road to perform LOVE LOVE LOVE at the Garden State Discovery Museum. Located in Cherry Hill, the museum offers a hands-on experience geared toward children infant to 10 years old. With over 20 exhibits there are plenty of things to keep the kids busy for hours. The performance by Community Rocks! was just a one of the many live performances that take place regularly at the museum's in house theater.
The Garden State Discovery Museum is located at 2040 Springdale road in Cherry Hill. Lined up in an industrial park type area of town, from the street, one wouldn't necessarily know the fun and excitement they have packed inside. Our first clue that we would be in store for a great day was a packed parking lot of cars so full we had to park in a secondary lot. As we walked over to the museum we passed their seasonal outdoor learning area complete with butterfly garden and a Certified Wildlife Habitat.
As we walked in we were greeted by the front desk staff. Admission for the day is $14.95 per person but they also have membership options that would make sense for return trips. We mentioned at the desk we were there to see the Community Rocks! show that had already started and were kindly directed to the theater. While heading to our destination the kids couldn't help but notice the very bright colorful looking J-Dogs Cafe snack stand and a gift shop filled with toys ranging from fun to educational.
We spent the next hour rockin' out with Community Rocks! in the theater room. The setup was nice as it provided theater style risers for sitting but plenty of room for the kids to sign and dance to the music. On a return trip we would like to check out some other future offerings advertised by the museum. and their Discovery Museum Players. A list of special events and theater workshops can be found on their website.
After the songs wrapped we were ready to go explore the museum. As we walked out of the theater we were instantly greeted with a burst of fun and the kids faces lit up with excitement. Around every corner was another fun exhibit for both kids and their adults to explore. Everything at the Discovery Museum is interactive and hands on. From digging for dinosaur bones, to playing with a giant light bright, to almost playground like displays that include sliding boards, this place is like a child's dream.
Learning For All
One thing that stood out to me about the Garden State Discovery Museum is that it was really good at disguising learning with fun. While your kids are having the time of their lives, parents can take note of the signs that help you take full advantage of the learning aspects of each exhibit. Some highlights of this include physical fitness in the sports room. Or learning about architecture and structures by building with block on top of an "earthquake table". Don't forget learning physics in the science room by racing cars down slopes with different pitch. Each exhibit involved some aspects of teaching through hands on learning. Even parents can get in on the learning fun.
Local Jersey Feel
Part of the experience of the Garden State Discovery Museum is engaging with local businesses that sponsor the various exhibits. Kids can play and learn in the hospital room sponsored by Cooper Hospital. Set up shop in the Farmer's market stand setup by the local Whole Foods. See the engine and explore the inside of a real car thanks to the help of Subaru. Play dress up and jump up on the stage in the Good Will Dressing Room. Do arts and crafts in the Joanne Fabrics room. The museum really does a great job of highlighting the local business sponsors which is good for both the user and the sponsor. So what was our favorite sponsored exhibit? What could be more New Jersey than serving up some fun in a replica of the Silver Diner!
Our overall experience at the Garden State Discovery Museum was a great one. We ended up spending about 3 hours there that day but could have easily spent more time. The kids never got bored and did not want to leave. I think we could easily spend another day there that would be just as fun. Our son even saw some kids in the party room with cake and decided he wants to have his next birthday there. Luckily, the museum offers some great party options that would make for a great kids birthday party for various ages. We also want to check out Kid Fit New Jersey which is attached to the museum and look like a kids fitness center. We will definitely be returning.
So, our in our I Really Like NJ Blog opinion, whether you want to just go for a visit, check out one of the great programs offered or have a fun spot for a birthday party, the Garden State Discovery Museum is a perfect spot for family fun. It is just another reason to Really Like NJ!
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