Among New Jersey’s many gems is Grounds For Sculpture, a botanical garden and art exhibit in one. Located on the former NJ State Fairgrounds, it features larger-than-life pieces of art that will make you feel tiny in comparison. With 42 landscaped acres and over 270 sculptures to explore, it’s easy to get lost, but that’s arguably the best way to explore. You might even run into some wildlife along the way!
Grounds For Sculpture, put simply, is a place for the senses. Guests are invited to touch the sculptures to feel their different materials lightly and observe how each work of art fills the space it’s placed in. A new sculpture awaits down each path and around every corner, even where you least expect to find one. Where there isn’t a sculpture, there are beautiful landscapes, picturesque ponds, and fresh air to enjoy. Some of my favorite pieces from my excursion include The Awakening by Seward Johnson and The Dance by Henri Matisse.
This is the perfect place to spend the day outdoors with friends and family. There are cafes with snacks and beverages and Rat’s Restaurant available on site, or you can visit one of the various restaurants that are located within a 5-mile radius from the grounds. Tickets to the grounds are issued for a specific date and arrival time, but you can stay for as long as you’d like.
The Art: A Feast for the Eyes
Grounds for Sculpture is home to a vast and diverse collection of sculptures that range in style, size, and medium. Visitors can wander the park and discover new sculptures at every turn, or take a guided tour to learn more about the art and the artists who created it.
The Gardens: A Place of Tranquility
The gardens at Grounds for Sculpture are just as much a work of art as the sculptures themselves. Filled with seasonal plants and flowers, the gardens are designed to complement and enhance the art, creating a cohesive and immersive experience for visitors. Locals can stroll through the gardens and soak up the beauty and tranquility of nature.
The Food: A Feast for the Palate
Grounds for Sculpture offers a range of dining options that are just as artful and inspiring as the park itself. The Rat’s Restaurant offers fine dining in a stunning setting that is inspired by the Impressionist painter Claude Monet, while the Peacock Café offers lighter fare in a more casual atmosphere. The outdoor Bar Sazeon offers a fun and festive atmosphere for enjoying drinks and small bites, while the Van Gogh Lounge offers a sophisticated setting for wine and cocktails.
The Events: A Celebration of Art and Culture
Grounds for Sculpture hosts a variety of events throughout the year that offer locals a chance to experience the park in new and exciting ways. From concerts and dance performances to art workshops and horticultural talks, there’s always something happening at the park. Locals can check the park’s event calendar to see what’s coming up and plan a visit accordingly.
The History: A Rich Legacy
Grounds for Sculpture is built on the site of the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds, which dates back to the late 19th century. Today, the park is a testament to founder Seward Johnson’s vision of creating a space where people could engage with art and nature in a unique and meaningful way.
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