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Yes, there’s great family stuff in New Jersey

The beach at Cape May, New Jersey (courtesy veronica lola at Flickr CC)Poor New Jersey.

It gets a bad rap as a destination because most people don’t visit very much of it.

The oft-maligned state has a lot more to offer than what most folks actually see (places like the monotonous New Jersey Turnpike or the Vegas-wannabe Atlantic City casinos.)

Here’s a sampler from my latest Education.com article:

  1. Cotsen Children’s Library – Something for young ones at Princeton University? Yes, the Cotsen is a real hidden gem on campus; it’s a unique, well-designed children’s library that is actually part of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. The public “Bookscape” area has little nooks and whimsical reading areas (you enter through a topiary garden) and the rear section features gallery programs and readings year-round, for all ages.
  2. Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center – If it’s about glass, it’s here at Wheaton, where New Jersey glassworks got its start thanks to the local silica sand and plenty of wood for the furnaces. Watch glass artists and glassblowers at work in the Glass Studio and Craft Studio, admire the stunning items in the Museum of American Glass and wander the Down Jersey Folklife Center for a close-up view of the arts and culture of the state’s eight southern counties.
  3. Monmouth Battlefield State Park – Molly Pitcher entered into legend here when she assisted her husband loading and firing cannon during the 1778 Colonial battle against the British. Every year in June (in 2008 it’s June 21-22) there is a major reenactment event with costumed soldiers and cannon fire (it was the largest artillery engagement of the Revolutionary War.) A local family maintains pick-your-own orchards within the park, and the grounds and Visitor Center have lots of period buildings and exhibits.

For 14 other ideas in the Garden State, take a look at the full article: Family Fun and Learning in New Jersey.

I also found a fun video by Jen A. Miller, from the blog Down the Shore with Jen and author of the book The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May.

Although not written specifically for kids, her book and blog have lots of fun ideas and they give you a feel for the many sights and sounds of the Jersey Shore.