New Jersey’s Best Kept Secret: Museums

In my last post, we discussed Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute and how it surprisingly fits into our college kid budget. I genuinely had a great experience there (click here to read all about it). So naturally, I began to wonder why I haven’t been visiting places like this my whole life. I mean if a facility as distinguished as the Franklin Institute offers $5.00 specials, other museums must be affordable too, right?

Well, I did some research…

It turns out, not only is New Jersey home to a variety of affordable museums, but we’re also home to a variety of FREE museums!!! And there’s nothing I love more than freedom dude. Okay, maybe that doesn’t really apply here (patriotic and inspirational post about freedom coming soon). But no worries, because I also love free stuff!

Below is a list of the top 10 museums within our state that are totally free of charge:

1. Zimmerli Art Museum– New Brunswick

Whether you’re an art fanatic or not, Zimmerli has something interesting to offer. Here, you can learn about various artists, eras, and genres. They also hold special live educational performances.

2. African American Heritage Museum– Hammonton

The African American Heritage has a fascinating and boisterous history. You can get in touch with this history through original works of art and various exhibits. There are many upcoming events being held this Spring.

3.  Atlantic City Art Center– Atlantic City

This particular art museum is unique because it’s right by the ocean. You can appreciate artwork in a peaceful environment at the beach. Does it get any better than that?

4.  Discovery Seashell Museum– Ocean City

THIS ONE SOUNDS FREAKIN’ AWESOME!!! You’re never too old to admire sea shells… And according to their website, all of the museum’s operators are certified divers who have traveled the world, collecting various sea shells (talk about a dream job). 10,000 kinds of sea shells can be found here, along with other marine organisms.

5.  Keyport Fire Museum– Keyport

Experience a timeline of artifacts from the firefighting industry, dating all the way back to the 19th century.

6.  The Old Monroe Schoolhouse– Monroe

This historic beauty was built way back in the 1800’s. It’s rare that you get to see a building this old that hasn’t been touched or renovated.

7.  Southern New Jersey All Sports Museum– Bridgeton

This museum encompasses all things sports in South Jersey. From records, to photos, to awards, to equipment, you can re-live some of the greatest moments in our sport history. Plus, the fact that all of these great moments took place just around the corner makes it pretty special.

8.  Meadowlands Museum– Rutherford

This museum is actually a farmhouse that was build in the 19th century. You can’t even say that isn’t badass.

9.  New Jersey Museum of Boating– Point Pleasant

Aside from some really cool boats, you can learn about a bunch of other marine-related things here. For instance, their current exhibition is centered on lighthouses. If you’re into the shore scene, this could be really cool place to learn about your favorite vacation spot.

10.  Maywood Station Museum– Maywood

Historical railroad lovers… or people who think trains are pretty dope, this one’s for you!

So, whether you’re into art, sports, history, boats, trains, fire???, or anything in between, there’s probably a museum for you. Above, are the links to each of their websites, where you can find information regarding hours of operation, directions, contact information, etc.

Museums are a great way to cure boredom without resorting to the ordinary, unexciting, and often expensive scenes. You can have fun with your friends or even by yourself, and learn something new without spending a dime. And don’t forget, these are only ten of the countless FREE museums in New Jersey!

No Longer Stuck in the Suburbs: Visit Philadelphia… Or Outer Space?

In my last post, we came across a major breakthrough.. Are you ready for this? Okay, here it is:


Yes, it’s true! Cars are a thing now, and so we have the ability to, well… go places.

Last time, we talked about Delaware and all the great, fun, cheap, things to do there. For this post I’d like to focus on another out-of-state destination. Just like Delaware, this destination too lies around the corner. It’s Philadelphia.

I’m sure that you’re already aware of the crazy amount of things to do in Philly. I mean let’s be real, the place is packed with cafes, music venues, parks, stores, bars, and so so much more! However, we often forget that Philly is also home to some pretty incredible museums. If you deem museums as “boring” or “expensive”, leave this blog right now. JUST KIDDING but I do ask that you think again, homie!

This past week I had the pleasure of attending an extremely cool event at the Franklin Institute. It was called “Night Skies in the Observatory“. It’s basically an astronomy night! The place was completely filled with people, a majority of them being college students. This is probably because the event only costs $5.00. Yep, that’s right. The price I pay for a single drink at starbucks got me into an event where I got to explore an entire museum, look through multiple telescopes on a city rooftop, and  listen to a guest speaker (follow him on twitter!), who holds a Ph.D. in cosmology and astrophysics. Rad.

Check out these pics from my experience:


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Real photo of the moon I was able to take through the telescope!


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Taken from the observatory deck.

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This view was lovely…
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& of course, my inner 1st grader had to visit the giant heart. It was harder to fit inside there this time though…

So have I sold you yet? If so, keep reading! Below are the dates for the upcoming Night Skies events. Turns out they happen on a monthly basis. Woo!


April 14th : 7 – 10p.m. – Amazing Telescopes! In the Planetarium: Dr. James Aguirre; Seeing the Invisible – Science and Technology of Radio Astronomy

May 12th : 7 – 10 p.m. – History of American Planetariums. In the Planetarium: Prof. Mark Trodden

June 9th : 7 – 10 p.m. – Worldwide Stories of the Night Sky; In the Planetarium: Ashley Baker

(This information was taken from The Franklin Institute official website)

Bottom line: Philadelphia is cool. Outer Space is cool. Five dollars is cool. Go to astronomy night!!!!


Thinking Like a College Student: Q&A with Matt McCourt

We’re hungry, tired, broke, and on the brink of a mental breakdown. Who are we? Yeah, you guessed it… We’re college kids. So please, kindly stay at a 3-foot radius from us at all times and refrain from asking any questions that pertain to our future.

Okay, that was rude. And kind of dramatic. I’m sorry.

But really, college kids are frequent passengers on the struggle bus and sometimes we just need a break. This blog is all about having fun on a college budget, so I figured why not get some insight from one of my fellow peers.

Matt McCourt is a senior Public Relations and Psychology major at Rowan University. Yesterday I sat down with him and asked about what he likes to do for fun around here. This is what he had to say:

Me: What are some things you do for fun around New Jersey?

Matt: New Jersey actually has some pretty nice parks.

Me: Yes, I actually just wrote a blog post about that… (lol awkward, click this link!!)

Matt: Oh really? Okay, well then I’ll take this in a different direction… So around New Jersey, there’s actually a lot of farms and back roads too. Something that I like to do is take my motorcycle out and just go down any one of those random roads. I’m talking roads you would usually never even think to take.

Me: Now is a motorcycle required for this or can we use cars too?

Matt: Yeah, totally! You can still do it in a car or even a regular bicycle. I just happen to explore a lot because I have a motor cycle.

Me: How about when the weather isn’t so nice? What are some things you like to do besides sitting inside?

Matt: Well, when the weather’s shi*ty you still kind of want to go out and do something, instead of just sitting around all day. A great place to go out and do a bunch of fun, affordable, stuff is Delaware. This is easy for me, because I live about 15 minutes away from the Delaware Memorial Bridge. It’s really no different than driving down to the shore or something. A lot of times I’ll see a movie over there or go out to eat. They don’t charge tax by the way! There’s also a lot of great places to shop. I personally like their outlets.

Me: Do you have a favorite spot to visit in Delaware?

Matt: I do, actually. There’s this nice little Regal cinema theater that’s kind of near Wilmington and they have this entire shopping center too with a bunch of really cool stores. Then there’s this super awesome lake that lights up at night. So you have the options to see a show at the theater, and/or shop, but then again if you’re looking to spend zero money, you can just go and enjoy the lake. I’ve done that before.

Me: That’s awesome! Everyone goes to Philly, but rarely do we realize that Delaware is around the corner too. Have you learned  anything from living on a college budget?

Matt: I’ve learned to be f*cking creative! Like, you gotta get out there. You don’t want to just go out and see a movie every week, or go out to some lame dinner. You want to find random things to do, where you can just get together with friends and have a good time. Go out and throw a frisbee in some random field you’ve never seen before! Or just sit around in some nice little fancy area. New Jersey has so many little towns that you probably don’t even know about!

So there you have it. It’s not totally impossible to adventure on a budget. Sometimes you’ve just got to think outside of the box. Luckily NJ is a small state, surrounded by a bunch of other states. Why not gather some friends, and go on a mini road trip for the day? Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, New York… Take your pick! They’re all beautiful places that are under 4 hours away.