A cold Saturday morning found us with no plans and an urge to “March fourth” and do something fun. Thomas Edison National Historical Park has been on a vague to-do list for a while now. Fortunately, my husband was into going. Within a half hour of making our decision, we ate, dressed, looked up directions and times and were on our way.
Sport has her fourth grade Every Kid in a Park pass, so we enjoyed free admission. Normally it would have been $20 total for my husband and me (kids under 16 are free).
At the front desk we picked up the park brochure and Junior Ranger booklets for the kids. The Junior Ranger program is an amazing, usually free program for kids visiting most National Parks and sites. It is a required activity for our girls whenever it’s available. I’ve found that the activities help focus their learning and understanding of the site. I’m not going to lie, the adults often learn a lot, too!
We learned of a ranger program starting at 11:00. Since attending a ranger program is usually a requirement for earning a Junior Ranger badge, we made it a priority to attend. The program in Edison’s chemistry lab was about 20 minutes and very informative.
(Interacting with the rangers is a great way to learn about each park. They are a wealth of information. The rangers at Thomas Edison NHP were no exception.)
From the chemistry lab we made our way to the library, then on to the upper floors. Throughout the self-guided tour, the Junior Ranger booklet helped my girls to focus on the information presented. Near the kinetoscope, another ranger was speaking bout Edison’s early movie production.
It’s impressive how authentic most of the artifacts are. Much of the site looks the same as when Edison lived. The three floors of the main building showcase his phonograph, kinetoscope and other endeavors.
We were on site for just about 2 hours. It was plenty of time to see everything, attend 2 ranger talks and complete the Junior Ranger booklet. Highlights were learning about the chemistry lab, the library, and seeing how the site today looks compared to when Edison worked there.
Thomas Edison NHP is a great half-day trip, class trip or scouting adventure. I think the girls were a good age, but I’m not sure about kids much younger than 8. They do have events on certain dates, and some of them are very kid-friendly.