Grounds for Sculptures

Trip Start May 16, 2003
Trip End May 16, 2010

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Flag of United States  , New Jersey
Sunday, March 8, 2009

Finally, a nice day after what seemed to be an endless winter!
The whole family is itching to do something, anything as long as it's outside.  After a morning of playing in the backyard, taking advantage of the nice weather (the rest of the week looked bleak) we decided to go to a nice field trip.
But to where?
We usually have a list of places we would like to go but two criteria which reality has set fourth were in our way: weather and money.
Even though the day was nice it looked like it would rain later in the afternoon and the latter ... well - we could always use more.
We had many options with little funds:  
The USS New Jersey - save for another time.
Statue of Liberty - save for a nice day
Museum of Natural History - save for a rainy day
Camden Aquarium - too much money right now
We settled on a place called Grounds for Sculptures in Hamilton, NJ.  We've never been there, the price was right (Adults $10, Students (13+) and Senior (65+) $8, Children (6-12) $6, Members and Children (5 and under) free).  We have wanted to visit Grounds for Sculptures for about a year now and this was the perfect opportunity.
We printed directions - be aware that even though the address on the website say Hamilton, our GPS pinpointed the address to Trenton.
The drive was easy and smooth.  Once you get off the highways you start seeing huge sculptures along the side of the road.  The signage is excellent (a rarity in New Jersey) but some people get confused because you do go though an industrial area. 
We paid to get in, our kids got "work sheets / treasure hunt" activities, they're a bit too young but it's perfect for school age kids.  We started off at the visitor center where a very nice gentleman explained to us the logistics of the park, where can we go, what can we do and circled some statues he thought the kids would like.    Some of the statues have a green sign besides them which means the kids (and adults) could touch them but he stressed they could not climb.  It seems obvious to us (metal statues, sharp corners, easy to fall) but if he stressed it that means that other people do that.  That's too bad, the park is beautiful and people feel that if things aren't being a fence it gives them the right/privilege to abuse them.
The grounds themselves are beautiful, manicured lawns, great statues, walkways (but you are welcome to walk on the grass), great signage, very quaint and relaxing.  Many people were just strolling around, sitting and relaxing or having a cup of coffee at the café / gift shop (we stopped for the mandatory magnet).
The kids loved the place, there are lots of hidden passages (kind of hidden) which lets them explore, walk into a bush make a few turns and come into a big area which we coined "secret gardens".
A very upscale restaurant is also on the premises, Rat's, which we hear is excellent but we never tried.  If you call ahead there is some deal they have with Grounds for Sculptures for a discount of a free appetizer.
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