Historical Places To Visit In New Jersey

Information on various historical sites and landmarks for tourists in the state of New Jersey. Also, information on other attractions, such as the New Jersey State Aquarium. We’re going to delve into the rich history of New Jersey and explore some of its fascinating historical sites.

New Jersey is home to a wealth of historical sites, from colonial-era buildings and Revolutionary War battlefields to cultural landmarks and monuments commemorating important events and figures in American history. These sites offer a unique glimpse into the past and provide a tangible connection to the people and events that shaped our nation.

Perhaps you’ve visited some of New Jersey’s most famous historical sites, like the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia or Ellis Island in New York Harbor. But did you know that there are dozens of lesser-known but equally compelling historical sites right here in New Jersey?

New Jersey is most famous for its glamorous hotels and casinos and oceanfront boardwalk in Atlantic City. The city’s 127 miles of sandy beaches and sparkling waves are a tourist’s delight. Atlantic City is also the birthplace of the annual Miss America Pageant, where ladies from all 50 states come to see who will be chosen by judges for their beauty and talents to represent our country for the coming year.

Perhaps you’ve visited some of New Jersey’s most famous historical sites, like the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia or Ellis Island in New York Harbor. But did you know that there are dozens of lesser-known but equally compelling historical sites right here in New Jersey?

The state motto of New Jersey is “Liberty and prosperity” for a very good reason. This state also has an active role in the history of America. The first settlers were the Dutch, soon followed by the British, who took over the territory. New Jersey was the site for more than 100 battles fought during the revolution. The three most famous battles of the time period were The Battle of Trenton in 1776, The Battle of Princeton in 1777, and The Battle of Monmouth in 1778.

Old Barracks Museum

Old Barracks Museum in Trenton brings to life the experiences of soldiers during the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812. The museum consists of restored 1758 military barracks that served as a crucial military posts during the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812.

Old Barracks Museum

Visitors to the Old Barracks Museum can explore the barracks and experience what life was like for soldiers during these pivotal periods in American history. The museum features interactive exhibits and engaging programs that bring history to life, allowing visitors to learn about everything from musket drills and military tactics to the daily life of soldiers and their families.

The museum also houses a collection of artifacts and memorabilia related to the site’s history, including weapons, uniforms, and other military items. Visitors can also explore the museum’s gift shop, which features a wide range of historical books, toys, and souvenirs.

The Old Barracks Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in American military history or the colonial era. It’s a unique and engaging way to learn about the past and experience firsthand the challenges and triumphs of the soldiers who helped shape our nation.

Adventure Aquarium

Northwest of Atlantic City, just east of Philadelphia, is the New Jersey State Aquarium or Adventure Aquarium at Camden. This wondrous tourist attraction, located on the east bank of the Delaware River, contains fascinating indoor and outdoor exhibits within the 4-acre confine. Outdoor exhibits include a trout stream and a huge 170,000-gallon sea pool. Inside exhibits include an unbelievable 760,000-gallon tank, which is an exact replica of conditions found in an open ocean.

Adventure Aquarium

This great tank is home to more than 400 fish of more than 40 species. Visitors are amazed as they view undersea residents such as Cow Nose Rays, striped bass, Sea Robbins, and sharks in this live exploration into the lives of our finned friends.

More exciting, visitors are able to view dive demonstrations through an observation window. The divers are able to answer questions from tourists while underwater via a unique Scuba Phone system. Another tank located inside the aquarium contains exotic fish from around the world.

Thomas Edison National Historical Park

New Jersey was also the birthplace of Thomas Alva Edison. The Thomas Edison National Historic Park, located east of Newark in West Orange, New Jersey, receives an estimated 80,000 visitors each year to learn about the Edison legacy. This site contains the Edison Laboratory, where Edison patented more than 1,000 inventions in his lifetime. This complex consists of several red brick buildings built in 1887 and has been converted into a National Historic site named after America’s greatest inventor.

Edison referred to these laboratory facilities as his “Invention Factory.” This historic site is, in fact, an invention in itself and has become a prototype for the modern laboratories of today.

Before Edison built this remarkable compound, he was already quite famous at Menlo Park laboratories, where he invented the first incandescent lamp and the phonograph. Today the Edison laboratories have a phonograph room containing an interesting collection of original photographs illustrating the history of Edison sound recording from 1877 to the early 1930s.

However, Edison wanted his own place of invention where he could change his dreams into realities. Edison built the centre and hired skilled experimenters to do just that. The Edison laboratories proved to be more than successful as the complex turned out one amazing invention after another. Most famous of these were the world’s first movie camera, the fluoroscope used in America’s first X-ray operation, the storage battery, and the first movie studio.

The main laboratory is three stories high, 250 feet long, and contains machine shops, offices, stock rooms, and Edison’s office/library.

As the story of young Edison unfolds to its visitors, it is hard to believe this genius was once considered addle-brained by his teachers. Edison didn’t find his niche in scholastic achievement until he took a deep interest in chemistry in his teenage years. By the age of 22, he took out his first patent for an electric vote recorder.

The visitor centre is located in the main laboratory and is open to the public daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to tour. At the center, tourists are introduced to exhibits and can view the 1903 Edison motion picture, “The Great Train Robbery.” This film is only one of the 1,700 silent movies produced by Edison’s company.

Park rangers provide guided tours through the chemistry laboratory, library, and machine shop. Among the inventions on display, visitors are amazed by Edison’s 1877 tinfoil phonograph, motion picture apparatus, and his early power and light equipment.

Edison enthusiasts will want to visit the Edison home as well, located less than a mile from the laboratories in Glenmont, New Jersey. This 23-room Victorian mansion looks much as it did at the time the great inventor lived there with his wife Mina until his death in 1931 at the remarkable age of 84.

The Edison mansion is open for a tour Wednesday through Sunday each week.

Other historical sites in New Jersey and popular attractions include; the birthplace of President Grover Cleveland, the Cape May Historic District, Liberty State Park, the Pine Barrens Wilderness area, Princeton University, and numerous Revolutionary War historical sites. 

No matter what your interests are, there’s a New Jersey historical site waiting to be explored. And with so many sites to choose from, there’s always something new to discover. So why not plan a day trip or weekend getaway to explore the rich history of our great state?

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About the author
Growing up in Detroit, Lindsey is a Michigan State University alumnus. She feels incredibly lucky to live in Detroit, and much more, to spend her days promoting the Detroit area as a travel destination.