Exploring the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City
Living in Jersey City provides many unique activity options as a parent. One of them is the availability of the Liberty Science Center in our own backyard! With a variety of interactive exhibits to keep kids occupied for hours, it’s easily one of my favorite spots. Recently, they’ve even updated their entrance to make it look like you’re entering into an other-worldly space – adding to the excitement and anticipation of the visit.
The Liberty Science Center is seriously fun for the whole family. The first floor, our favorite is the Skyscraper. Exhibit where you can play around with a miniature excavator and crane. You can even dress up as a construction worker complete with a hard hat. This also tends to be a quieter space compared to the other exhibits. So if you need something calmer for the senses, bring your kiddo over here to explore the experiments and make their own buildings with the soft blocks table.
The third floors Eat or Be Eaten exhibit houses several animals. Kids can meet watch the feeding of the tamarins or follow the naked mole rats as they explore their tubes. For the adventurous ones, you can have a closer look at some creepy insects! Not my personal favorite, but it’s fascinating to learn more about all these different creatures. Your child can also have an up-close encounter where a guide will tell them more about a specific animal. And if it’s safe, they may be able to gently touch one. Another great exhibit on this floor is the infinity climber. There is a height requirement to enter this exhibit, so it’s meant for older kids and even adults. This floor also houses a rotating exhibit specifically designed for children. At the moment, it’s the PBS Kids series – Wild Kratts: Creature Power. This is a fun exhibit where kids can pretend to be animals. You can slide down like a penguin, hang like a monkey or jump up and down icebergs like a polar bear.
The fourth floor has another of our favorite permanent exhibits – Our Hudson Home, which gives us an up-close view of the Hudson River. You can meet some of the fish that live in the depths as well as learn about environmental preservation efforts happening there. They also have a touch tank where your little one can get up close and personal with a starfish. Another of our favorites on that floor is the premium exhibit that changes every few months. Right now it is Angry Birds – which has been so much fun for my 3-year-old as well as myself. Before, they’ve also done Sherlock Holmes, Mythbusters, and many other fun grownup and kid-friendly themes.
I want to emphasize that even if you have a young child, do not fret. They have a dedicated space on the 2nd floor called “I Explore” for kids under the age of 5. Kids can turn cranks, make balls shoot out onto a target, paint with water, play with rice and many other interactive activities. One area in the back changes its theme every season. At the moment, they have a light table complete with Magna tiles and other colorful filters for experimenting. Besides that space, the other exhibits I mentioned are also very child-friendly.
In addition to the exhibits, there are special shows that you can pay extra to watch. One of our favorites is Sesame Street’s “One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure” which plays inside the planetarium. The Planetarium is the largest in the Western Hemisphere! SO it’s definitely something to check out. They also have a 3D Science Theater that showcases different movies about nature and animals.
One of the things that I love about going is that I have the option to bring my own packed lunch or purchase from their cafe. The cafe offers a variety of foods including pizza, soup, sandwiches, salad bar, fruits, snacks, and different cold and hot beverages. Our personal favorite is to get a chicken finger and fries plate to share along with a milk box for the kiddo and of course, coffee for me. Members get a 10% discount at the cafe.
There are plenty of seating areas in front of the cafe on the 2nd floor and in the back. We prefer the back since my little one loves to stand by the large floor to ceiling windows while he runs between his food and the view.
There are a couple of options to get to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. On a nice day, you can take an easy walk in from Downtown Jersey City, over the bridge on Jersey Avenue or from around the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood. Another option is to ride the light rail to the Liberty State Park station. A light rail ticket is about $2.50 each way. From there, it is a quick 5-minute walk to the entrance. You can also drive there since they offer plenty of parking. There is a $7 fee per car for parking, which you can pay from a machine in the lobby.
Membership vs. pay as you go
The ticket to enter the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City is $24.99 for adults and $19.99 for children and seniors. If you want to add on a show or see the premium exhibit, you’ll pay extra.
If you live in Jersey City or any of the surrounding towns, I highly recommend paying for a membership. It lasts for the whole year and will pay for itself within 3 visits. Since children under 2 are free, my husband and I paid for the duo membership which is currently $119. Now we have the family members that include 2 adults and 4 kids/seniors for $189. The membership also has added benefits like free single-use passes to a show or the premium exhibit as well as special members-only events every month! And for families who like to travel, the membership can give you free access to other science centers and museums around the world. We totally made use of this in our last visit to Los Angeles, California.