From the very first day that we visited the Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill, NJ, we have been crazy about it. We've been going there on weekdays, weekends, special events, and quiet days for almost a year now, and each experience has been absolutely fantastic. From the variety of the play areas to the helpfulness of the staff, we really can't say enough how much we love this place. An absolutely cannot be missed location in the Greater Philadelphia area if you have little ones.
With something for everyone, the Discovery Museum covers every area of interest, and then introduces kids to things that they may not have experienced before. The animal lover who makes a beeline for Vets and Pets can be drawn into the Science Lab next door. The sports enthusiast might venture from the Get Fit area to behind the desk in News and Weather. From working on a construction site to performing in the theater, no one will be getting bored anytime soon.
The scale of the rooms and activities is perfect and a little magical. For example, when we hung out in the California Pizza Kitchen (hands down our favorite area), it looked and felt just like we were at a real one. We could easily sit in the booths, but somehow, so could a toddler. The same thing happened with the booths and counters at the Silver Diner (another favorite). When we climbed to the loft in the barn in Little Discoveries and up the ramp of the house at Under Construction, it felt like we were going all the way up to a second floor, but preschoolers were also climbing and running around no problem. The worlds are designed for kids, but there is nothing cramped about them. Parents can join in the fun and explore everywhere themselves along side their kids.
What is also great about the Discovery Museum is how learning is mixed in with the fun. You can run around the Climbasaurus and hang out in the Dino Dig at the Dinosaurium, but you can also learn about fossils and how paleontology happens. In Under Construction, you can build structures with blocks, but then flip a switch and see how your building withstands an earthquake, making kids attempt to construct more and more stable structures. Ease into medical emergencies with the newly renovated Cooper Checkup while learning about the human body. The Science Lab visually demonstrates pneumatics with scarves and momentum with Duplos. Flip over the slices of pizza and discover if you're holding a half, fourth, or eighth of the pie.
The Discovery Museum in its entirety is convenient, uncluttered, and clean. A large coat room by the entrance leaves everyone free to play without worrying about leaving belongings somewhere. There is a snack area in the front where you can enjoy something you brought from home or something yummy purchased at the J-Dogs stand. The Discovery Museum Store allows you to bring some of the fun home with you. Also, on your way in to the exhibits, be sure and check out the shows and craft times that will be happening throughout the day.
The Discovery Museum is designed to be enjoyed by a huge variety of ages. There are three specific crawlers only soft play areas (two in the Dinosaurium and one in Little Discoveries), so even the youngest can have a fun time. For the 4 and under set, Little Discoveries is a barnyard world built just for their enjoyment. Older kids will have a great time playing hockey like the Flyers, putting together their own segment for the News and Weather, and taking a turn on the Climbing Wall. Parents and grandparents will be delighted to find ample seating throughout the Museum. Daily Vacationer Jr recommends a stop at the Silver Diner when you start to get tired where you can hang out in a booth watching clips from 50s and 60s musical performances and TV shows while your kid puts together your "order".
The Discovery Museum is just what it says it is: a place to discover. Step inside a real bubble, change a tire, dress up as a knight and defend your castle, draw on the wall in a dark room, watch an underwater cyclone, come face to face with live animals, film yourself in front of a blue screen, or just make the biggest fake pizza ever and sit in a comfy booth to admire your handiwork. This is one place that anyone with kids, grandkids, nephews, nieces, etc. should not miss out on. And do yourself a favor and purchase a membership - there's no way you can experience everything in one day! The Garden State Discovery Museum is someplace to keep coming back to and finding something new to enjoy each time.
The Garden State Discovery Museum is available for party rentals.
(Check out their chalkboard painted party rooms!)
(We recommend the Garden Combo for the best deal.)
View the Interactive Map!