8 Historical (and Fun!) Stops to Hit Around South Jersey
Not your grandmother’s history lesson
By Klein Aleardi

You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy all the stories that South Jersey has to offer. This area’s past residents were experts in leaving behind an epic legacy, and luckily, those continuing to tell their stories are stepping up to the challenge. Check out these historic sites that are fun for the whole family.

Mt. Holly Prison Museum
Saturdays: 10 am – 4 pm
Can you escape the walls of South Jersey’s most infamous prison? After a tour of the allegedly haunted Prison Museum, once featured in “Ghost Hunters,” you can try the prison’s new escape game. Up to 4 people can work together to solve clues from the “escape case,” with clues that take you through the jail. The game is available for $10 per “case” (in addition to admission) on Saturdays. Museum tickets are $2 for students, $3 for seniors/veterans, and $5 for adults. Children 5 and under are free.

Spend the Night Like a Sailor
Camden
Experience Battleship New Jersey like the sailors did with the war ship-turned-museum’s overnight stay program. You can spend the night on the legendary vessel, starting with a line dinner in the mess hall followed by a tour of the ship. Then head to the crew’s bunks to rest your head for the night (just like the sailors did). Breakfast is served the next morning, and everyone leaves with a personalized dog tag and a lot of memories. (The Battleship also offers self-guided and guided tours from Thursday through Monday, rain or shine.)

Take Photos with a Dinosaur
Haddonfield
No South Jersey history tour is complete without saying hi to “Haddy” the dinosaur (the Hadrosaurus foulkii, to be exact). The sculpture of the dinosaur that stretched 10 feet tall and probably weighed about 7 to 8 tons is a representation of the one unearthed nearby in 1858, which was the most complete dinosaur skeleton found at that time. You can learn all about the discovery and the dinosaur species, and then pose for some photos with “Haddy.”

Explore Cape May by Trolley
Cape May
Hop on the trolley for a quick trip back in time to historic Cape May. Aboard the 45-minute tour, you’ll learn everything about New Jersey’s first seaside resort town, featuring a look at many of the grand homes still standing from the Victorian Era. And if you want to add a sense of the spooky, stop by for the Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour, held on April 8 and 9. Tickets for both tours cost $20 for adults and $15 for kids ages 3 to 12.

Learn by the Docks
Tuckerton
Sat. – Tues.: 10 am to 5 pm
Head to Tuckerton Seaport to experience life as a dockworker of days past. On the expansive site, you can watch carving demonstrations, try your hand at a sailing demonstration, plus play a 9-hole trivia-based mini golf course – among plenty of other educational exhibits. Take your learning to the next level with an interactive class to make an Irish soda bread basket (including a recipe for making Irish soda bread), happening on March 5. Admission is $5, children and Seaport members are free.

Walk Where the Founding Fathers Walked
Haddonfield
Wed. – Sat.: 10 am – noon & 1 – 4 pm Sun.: 1 – 4 pm
Walk the halls of a 200-year-old building where some of the founding fathers actually met to discuss the revolution. At The Indian King Tavern, 18th-century travelers would spend the night and talk business. Today you can tour the museum, constructed inside the tavern building, with a professional re-enactor who will guide you through the tavern downstairs and the meeting rooms and rooms for boarding upstairs. Admission and tours are free.

Visit Walt Whitman’s Grave
Camden
Ok, you may ask yourself, why is a tomb on a list of fun historic places…but hear us out. Tap into your poetic side with a visit to the surprisingly beautiful and breathtaking gravesite of poet Walt Whitman. Located in the Harleigh Cemetery in Camden, the grave will wow you as you enjoy the fresh air. Visit the website for exact directions.

Bring Your Smartphone to Batsto Village
Hammonton
Daily: 9 am – 4 pm
Step back into this 18th- and 19th-century manufacturing town nestled in Wharton State Forest to experience a day in the life of the workers and families who lived there. Guided tours of the village’s mansion are available, but other sites in the village – like the post office and the church – have plaques with QR codes you can scan to watch a video about the building you’re standing in front of. Tours of the mansion cost $3 for adults and $1 for children 12 & up. The smartphone videos are free to access.

March 2022
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