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Department of State

New Jersey State Museum

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Secretary of State

New Jersey State Museum Update

Due to the current public health emergency, the New Jersey State Museum is closed to the public until further notice. Previously scheduled special events will be rescheduled if possible.

For any specific inquiries, please visit nj.gov/health or call the 24-hour hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

Discovery Den

Explore The Museum

Discovery Den

Discovery Den

Overview

The Discovery Den is a family engagement play space for children ages 0-8. Families are encouraged to explore together through pretend play, making art, puzzle and building sets and scientific inquiry. All activities focus on the natural world.

Discovery Den opened in 2015 thanks in part to the generous support from the PNC Foundation through the Grow UP Great program.

Details

Discovery Den zones are created to appeal to different ages and stages.

Children ages 3-8 explore and learn about the natural world with books, magnifiers, building sets and puzzles. Take notes and draw specimens just as Natural Scientists do in the field. Continue the research at home by creating a collection of rocks, shells or leaves. Open your own exhibit!

Costume Create!

Coloring develops both gross and fine motor skills and helps your child practice color recognition. Both adults and children benefit from sitting together and talking while you color, its relaxing! Bring home your art as a souvenir or leave it hanging on the wall so you can say it was featured at the NJ State Museum!

Here you will find bookshelves for reading, floor pillows to help babies sit up and wall activities for toddlers to explore.

Infants can cuddle with you in the gliders or crawl and explore. When you talk or read to an infant, including newborns, you are helping their brain develop the connections it needs to understand language. Regular reading teaches new words and increases attention span.

Pretend you are camping in New Jersey – Is it day or night? Who are you with? What sounds do you hear in this environment? Go fishing, tell campfire stories and read books by lantern light.

What do you see at the campsite? Plants, animals or insects? Talk with your child about size, shape and color of the natural environment they imagine.

Put on a show! Learn more about these animals throughout the Den.

Through imaginative play children explore feelings and develop social and cognitive skills.

Costume Cubby

Who will you be today?

Engage your kids by asking how that creature behaves or what that person does on the job. If the child doesn’t know, help them find the answer by exploring books, activities and objects.

Location/Cost/Hours/Rules

Discovery Den is located on Level 2 in the Natural History Hall. Discovery Den is free to explore and is open during Museum hours.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all families we have posted these rules:

  1. Leave shoes on.
  2. No food or drink may be consumed in Discovery Den (nursing and bottle feeding is allowed).
  3. All children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
  4. School Groups: 1 chaperone for every 10 kids is necessary in this space.
  5. This area is for ages 0-8 and those who accompany them. Older children must look out for crawling babies and little feet.
  6. No more than 20 kids at a time are allowed.
  7. Only use inside voices.
  8. No roughhousing (including running, jumping, throwing objects and wrestling).
  9. Please put items back in their proper space after use.
  10. No more than 3 kids allowed in the tent at any one time.
  11. Objects and books are not to leave the Discover Den space.
  12. Safety is our top priority. Failure to follow these rules could result in visitors being asked to leave the space.

Programs and Resources

Families are welcome to register for the Small Explorers program, taking place in the Discovery Den on the third Friday and Saturday of the Month. To learn more, contact Kerry Scott at Kerry.Scott@sos.nj.gov

Look for the Small Explorers gallery guides available throughout the Museum to help your family explore the galleries before or after your play time. These guides are designed for children ages 0-5 and include objects to find with related activities you can do at home.

 


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