Grounds for Sculpture– Hamilton, Mercer County, NJ
Difficulty: 1 of 10
Total score: 9 of 10
Admission – $15 per adult, Seniors $12, $10 for students, Free for the 5 and under crowd. (Rates as of January 2016)
Admission cheat code – most of the libraries in the state have passes for here that you can check out. They are VERY popular in nice weather, but if you’re dumb and go in the winter like us, they are readily available. Can only hold onto them for three days (at least in Camden County).
Open – Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 PM. Closed some holidays
Directions – 80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619
Notes – No dogs, no outside food. Food available at the main building.
Description – So, my wife snagged a pass for Grounds for Sculpture from our local branch of the Camden County Library, which meant we finally had to go check this place out.
This massive complex features dozens and dozens and dozens of outside sculpture pieces, from the serious to the whimsical to the terrifying to the absurd. Plan on spending hours and hours here and doing a healthy amount of walking if you want to see the whole grounds (they have a guy on a golf cart who will pick you up if you need it). There are also several buildings with indoor exhibits.
This is great for serious art lovers, for people who enjoy the absurd, and for small children (they are confused and awed by many of the sculptures). We kind of figured that this was simply something that The Pres and Tree Rider were going to have to get dragged through for Mom and Dad to enjoy themselves, but they ended up loving it as much as (if not more than) us.
It is also a popular place for taking goofy pictures. Just stay off the artwork itself (seriously, stay off of it. There are some pieces – color coded on the signs – that you can respectfully touch, but don’t climb on things) and be respectful if other people are around so that you don’t ruin their experience.
And while I’m only posting goofy pictures here, there is some seriously remarkable artwork here, and I say that as a person who hates 99% of art (a fact that made my poor, poor Art Appreciation Professor miserable back in college when she had to read my papers on various pieces of artwork. I seriously turned in a paper on Lucy the Elephant. I got an “A”, but I could tell she wasn’t happy with my choice of artistic pieces).
I’d love to post about 10,000 more pictures I took that day, but most of the fun is the surprises around every corner.
Overall recommendation – Great way to spend a day, no one I’ve ever known who went there left disappointed.