New Jersey: The Innovation State

Innovation and invention have been part of New Jersey's history for decades, and nearly all these unique breakthroughs are on display at historic sites around the state.

From the inventions of Edison and theories of Einstein to breakthroughs still on the horizon, New Jersey and innovation are synonymous with leadership and excellence.

Remarkably, most—if not all—of this unique history is available through the Garden State's collection of historic sites, museums and science-based attractions. Of course, no individual exemplifies this legacy of innovation better than New Jersey's own Thomas Alva Edison. Known the world over as one of history's most prolific inventors, Edison has some 1,093 patents to his name. In addition to some of his most well-known successes—such as the phonograph and the light bulb—Edison helped pioneer the process of mass production and the advent of the industrial research facility.

Affectionately nicknamed "The Wizard of Menlo Park," Edison's marvelous life and career can be examined by visiting the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange (scheduled closure January 6 through March 11, 2022). Operated by the National Park Service, the park sits upon the site of the laboratory Edison built in 1887 and is where Edison improved and perfected such inventions as the phonograph and storage battery before his death in 1931. It's also the site where the great inventor performed all his work on the formative years of the motion picture.

Edison's illuminating career can be more deeply examined at the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park in the town bearing his name: Edison. His greatest early achievements took place here, as noted by the 400 patents Edison received in his years in the laboratory. His patents include those for the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph and the electric train. Edison also conducted research and development on such things as wireless transmissions, the carbon button transmitter and what came to be called the "Edison Effect"—a basis in the field of electronic study. Advanced ticket purchases are advised for your visit.

New Jersey's legacy of innovation extends far beyond Edison, though. Liberty Science Center in Jersey City features exhibitions like Skyscraper! The attraction showcases these marvels of modern civilization in wondrous detail. Visitors can even construct their own skyscraper and discover how well it would have withstood historic earthquakes with simulations on the specially-designed Shake Table.

Liberty Science Center's other exhibitions offer equally exhilarating experiences. Explore PAW Patrol: Adventure Play, Wobbly World, Making Mammoths, Energy Quest and Pixel Art. These are just a few of the sights and sounds waiting to be discovered at Liberty Science Center—an adventure that will leave everyone in your family wowed and eager to plan another visit.

A wonderful family learning experience isn't confined to the northern reaches of the Garden State, however. InfoAge Science/History Learning Center and Museum in Wall offers hours of fun and educational opportunities across 16 buildings on a historic campus that includes the Marconi Hotel and Camp Evans Signal Corps Research and Development laboratory. In the World War II Homefront, guests sit in a recreated living room of the era to hear news, music and commentary that aired on the radio during WWII. Additional exhibits of interest to history and war buffs include Electronic Warfare/SIGINT, Shipwreck Museum, Military Technology, Fallout Shelter Theatre and more.

Whether you are an avid follower of New Jersey's unique role in the world's technology revolutions or merely curious about the state's rich innovative history, there's no shortage of highlights to satisfy your every desire. As always, we recommend exploring the official website or social media channels of your preferred attraction ahead of your visit to ensure you are aware of the latest hours of operation and guest policies.