Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
- How To Get to Thomas Edison National Historical Park
- Where Is Thomas Edison National Historical Park?
- Thomas Edison National Historical Park Opening Hours and Seasons
- Nearest Airports to Thomas Edison National Historical Park
- Driving to Thomas Edison National Historical Park
- Taking the Train to Thomas Edison National Historical Park
- Taking the Bus to Thomas Edison National Historical Park
- Getting Around Thomas Edison National Historical Park
- What To See and Do in Thomas Edison National Historical Park
- What To See and Do Near Thomas Edison National Historical Park
- Best Times To Visit Thomas Edison National Historical Park
- Best Time To Visit Thomas Edison National Historical Park for Ideal Weather
- Best Time To Visit Thomas Edison National Historical Park To Avoid the Crowds
- Best Time To Visit Thomas Edison National Historical Park for Tours
- Cheapest Time To Visit Thomas Edison National Historical Park
- Annual Events in Thomas Edison National Historical Park
- Where To Stay Near Thomas Edison National Historical Park
- Where To Eat Near Thomas Edison National Historical Park
- Thomas Edison National Historical Park Facts
- Final Thoughts
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Thomas Edison National Historical Park is located in West Orange, New Jersey, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from New York City. This is an excellent place for history buffs to come and learn more about the contributions and life of Thomas Edison.
From touring his estate to checking out his inventions at his laboratories, there’s so much to see and do at this national historical park. Each year, nearly 60,000 visitors come to explore this park and learn about this influential historical figure.
How To Get to Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Where Is Thomas Edison National Historical Park?
Thomas Edison National Historical Park is located in West Orange, New Jersey. The closest major city is Newark, New Jersey, about 20 minutes from the park. From New York City, it is only a 30-minute drive.
Thomas Edison National Historical Park Opening Hours and Seasons
Thomas Edison National Historical Park is open weekly to the public from Wednesday to Sunday. The park hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The park is closed for several holidays throughout the year, including New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and several other holidays throughout the year.
Nearest Airports to Thomas Edison National Historical Park
The closest airport to Thomas Edison National Historical Park is Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). It takes approximately 26 minutes from this airport to arrive at the park.
Newark Liberty International Airport offers dozens of flights daily to and from major cities around the U.S. and around the globe. Some of the destinations Newark provides service to include Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Juan, and Toronto. Newark Liberty is serviced by over 30 airlines, including Air Canada, Allegiant, Delta, Spirit, and United.
Driving to Thomas Edison National Historical Park
There are several routes that lead to Thomas Edison National Historical Park. The route that works for you will depend on which direction you are coming from.
Visitors from the Garden State Parkway will take exit 145, and those from the New Jersey Turnpike will take exit 15W. Both of these routes will lead to Route 280 West, and from there, exit 10 is what will be used for arriving at the park. Visitors coming from 280 East will use exit 9.
Taking the Train to Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Those who want to let someone else take over the stress of driving and navigating an unfamiliar city might want to utilize the train. NJ Transit offers service to the Brick Church Station in East Orange. From the station, it is just a 14-minute walk to the park. If you aren’t interested in walking, you can arrange a rideshare service or taxi to get you to the park’s entrance in an even shorter time.
Taking the Bus to Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Another great way to arrive at Thomas Edison National Historical Park is by bus. DeCamp Bus Lines offers service from New York to West Orange. This bus has a stop right at the front gate of the park. Taking the bus is a great way to save money while traveling and reduce stress and worry.
Getting Around Thomas Edison National Historical Park
The best way to get around Thomas Edison National Historical Park is to explore on foot. Visitors are able to park near the park and spend the rest of the visit walking to the various sites.
Some visitors opt to bike through the park, but as this is an urban park, several obstacles, such as heavy traffic, should be expected. The National Park Service offers a variety of maps to help you plan out your itinerary and excursions.
What To See and Do in Thomas Edison National Historical Park
There are so many things to see and do at Thomas Edison National Historical Park. Everywhere you turn, there are exciting things to learn about Thomas Edison, his inventions, and his contributions. From replicas of historical inventions to tours of a mansion to getting a peek at laboratories used by Thomas Edison, there’s no shortage of things to learn and discover.
Black Maria Movie Studio
The Black Maria Movie Studio is the first dedicated film studio in history. The original building was in production from 1893 to 1903, when it was torn down. Later, in 1954, a reproduction of the Black Maria was added to the Laboratory Complex.
One of the main attractions of the Black Maria Movie Studio is the Kinetograph, the first motion-picture camera, and Kinetoscope, which is a motion-picture viewing cabinet. While these are replicas of the original prototypes, visitors can look through the scope and watch a short film through it.
The Chemistry Laboratory is located in Building 2 at the Laboratory Complex. This laboratory is typically closed but opens for ranger-led tours throughout the year. Visitors can see Edison’s chemical and material research as well as the scientific machines and equipment used long ago. This laboratory is set up just as it was in 1930 when Thomas Edison would research and experiment.
Glenmont Estate Tours
Glenmont Estate is where Thomas Edison and his second wife, Mina, lived. Visitors can tour the inside of the home with a reservation for a house tour.
The architecture and décor are beautiful, allowing visitors to take a step back in time and see what life was like in the late 1800s and the turn of the century. The tours of Glenmont Estate are offered Friday through Sunday, last approximately 30 minutes, and are led by a knowledgeable park ranger.
Those who cannot get reservations are welcome to walk around the estate and take photographs. Some of the sights around the estate include a massive garage, a barn, the gardener’s cottage and greenhouse, and the graves of Thomas and Mina.Hot Tip:
Another option for visitors who want to tour the estate but cannot secure reservations is to do the Glenmont Audio Tour. Visitors must obtain a pass from the park staff at the Laboratory Complex. The audio tour is a free, self-guided tour with stops and audio narrations throughout the estate.
Main Laboratory Building
The Main Laboratory Building is located in Building 5. This stop features many relics from Thomas Edison’s past. Visitors enjoy seeing his library, machine shops, and music room. Several exhibits explain the different artifacts and how they impacted Thomas Edison’s contributions.
The visitor center is located inside the Laboratory Complex. This is a great starting point for an adventure at Thomas Edison National Historical Park. Visitors can watch films, rent audio tour devices, pay entrance fees, reserve tickets to tour Glenmont, and have questions answered by the park staff. There is also a small bookstore should you want to purchase maps, books, or souvenirs.
What To See and Do Near Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Thomas Edison National Historical Park is an excellent location for exploring nearby attractions. The park rangers and staff recommend visiting several attractions for even more adventures when visiting this area of New Jersey. Take a look at some of the most recommended attractions when visiting this national historical park.
Turtle Back Zoo
Turtle Back Zoo is located 3 miles from Thomas Edison National Historical Park. This zoo is a wonderful place for visitors of all ages. There are many opportunities for visitors to enjoy at Turtle Back Zoo.
There’s no shortage of excitement at this zoo, from behind-the-scenes tours and animal encounters to mini golf, riding the zoo train, and playing on the prehistoric playground. There are even boating opportunities, pony rides, carousels zip lining, and restaurants on-site. Spending a full day or more at Turtle Back Zoo is easy.
While the zoo isn’t part of Thomas Edison National Historical Park, it is a great addition to your itinerary.
Montclair Arts Museum
Montclair Arts Museum is a little over 2.5 miles from Thomas Edison National Historical Museum. Park staff often recommends guests take time to visit this museum to check out the collections, exhibits, and tributes of this museum.
Most of the art in the museum offers a tribute to American and Native American culture. Montclair Arts Museum is a great place to stop and appreciate art and culture when visiting Thomas Edison National Historical Park.
Best Times To Visit Thomas Edison National Historical Park
A visit to Thomas Edison National Historical Park is incredible no matter what time of year you visit. However, there are better times than others to plan a trip, depending on the type of experience you are seeking. Check out the best times to visit this national historical park and see which works best for your vacation.
Best Time To Visit Thomas Edison National Historical Park for Ideal Weather
Weather is a huge factor to consider when planning a vacation. The best time to visit Thomas Edison National Historical Park for ideal weather is in October. The daytime temperatures are typically in the mid-60s, making exploring the park on foot comfortable. Another perk to coming in October is that the trees are beginning to show off their fall colors, which adds to the views and sights around the park.
Best Time To Visit Thomas Edison National Historical Park To Avoid the Crowds
A trip in September is best for visitors who want to avoid crowds. The park sees a drastic decrease in visitors after Labor Day, once schools have returned from summer vacation. Not only are there fewer crowds in September, but the temperature is comfortable, ranging from the 50s to mid-70s, and there aren’t as many days of precipitation to worry about.
Best Time To Visit Thomas Edison National Historical Park for Tours
The best time to visit Thomas Edison National Historical Park for touring is in September. There is a major drop in visitors during this month, making the tours less crowded and more enjoyable.
Cheapest Time To Visit Thomas Edison National Historical Park
The cheapest time to visit Thomas Edison National Historical Park is when the park isn’t as busy. Mid- to late September typically sees cheaper flights and lodging rates. Planning to visit during this month offers a great possibility of saving hundreds of dollars.
Annual Events in Thomas Edison National Historical Park
There are several events that take place on a regular schedule at Thomas Edison National Park. Most of these events are walking tours and ranger-led programs offering insight into Thomas Edison and his contributions. A couple of annual events take place in and near the park to honor Edison.
Thomas Edison Day
Thomas Edison Day is an annual event sponsored by the National Park Service. This day honors Thomas Edison with a day filled with activities, tours, and demonstrations. The parking fee is waived each year on this special day in June.
Visitors are able to participate in free activities, including arts and crafts, STEM activities, phonograph demonstrations, and children’s art exhibits. This event is looked forward to each year by locals and visitors alike. It is a great, fun way to learn about this influential man and his contributions.
West Orange Street Fair
West Orange Township also partners with the park for Thomas Edison Day in June and has a downtown street fair set up. Visitors can enjoy shopping, food, drinks, and crafts and continue the celebration downtown.
Other exciting activities offered at this street fair include a rock climbing wall, a classic car show, and street performers. Proceeds from many of the events at the West Orange Street Fair go to Friends of Thomas Edison National Historical Park in order to continue to honor and preserve the legacy of Thomas Edison.
Where To Stay Near Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Thanks to the amazing location in West Orange, New Jersey, visitors won’t have a hard time finding a place to stay when visiting Thomas Edison National Historical Park. Whether you are seeking an affordable motel or a luxury hotel, you can find the perfect solution for your vacation.
Inside the Park
There are no lodging or camping options inside the boundaries of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.
Towns Near Thomas Edison National Historical Park
There are several towns near Thomas Edison National Historical Park. No matter if you are looking for a quiet retreat or a lively stay, you can find the perfect solution for your vacation needs in one of these nearby towns.
Montclair, New Jersey
Montclair is located 10 minutes from Thomas Edison National Historical Park. This urban suburb has a mix of a fun downtown vibe mixed with an eclectic arts scene and delicious cuisine from around the world. This is a great place to set up a home base when visiting this national historical park.
Lodging in Montclair consists of select luxury hotels and several private rentals throughout the township. Whether you are looking for elegant and convenient or quaint and charming, you will find a perfect fit in this city.
Dining is a treat in Montclair. The town has a lovely mix of American, Ethiopian, and Mediterranean restaurants serving signature dishes, fine wines, and specialty cocktails.
Montclair has beautiful homes and gardens to view and several breweries and vineyards to visit. Those who enjoy art and culture may want to visit the local art museums, studios, and theaters.
West Orange, New Jersey
The town of West Orange, where the park is located, is small but offers plenty of dining, lodging, and recreation options.
From budget-friendly inns to chain hotels with every imaginable convenience to grand hotels, there’s a great lodging option for every visitor’s style.
With several restaurants to choose from in West Orange, you can rest assured that you will find something to help you refuel after a day spent exploring the area. American, Japanese, Italian, and Irish are just some of the restaurants to choose from. There are also incredible barbecue joints and seafood restaurants in West Orange.
Recreation opportunities abound in this city. Visitors enjoy exploring Thomas Edison National Historical Park as well as golfing, enjoying nature at one of the parks, and visiting historic buildings.
West Orange is an incredible town to set up a home away from home when visiting Thomas Edison National Historical Park. With its proximity to the park and a long list of things to see and do, West Orange is the perfect option for visiting this national historical park.
Where To Eat Near Thomas Edison National Historical Park
There aren’t any restaurants within the boundaries of Thomas Edison National Historical Park, but there are a variety of options close by. There are many restaurants in the town of West Orange and several others in the neighboring towns.
Jimmy Buff’s is a restaurant located less than a half mile from Thomas Edison National Historical Park. This restaurant serves a delicious menu of Italian hot dogs daily for lunch and dinner.
Some featured menu items include Italian-style sandwiches, American sandwiches, and fried potatoes. Customers rave about the Italian sausage sandwich, hoagies, and the cheeseburger.
Fresh food and superior customer service make Jimmy Buff’s the ideal choice for lunch or dinner when visiting Thomas Edison National Historical Park.
Star Tavern is a pizza parlor located in Orange, just 3 minutes from Thomas Edison National Historical Park. This restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner.
The menu features appetizers, world-famous thin-crust pizza, fresh salads, house specials, sandwiches, and beer. Some of the most requested meals include the homemade lasagna, the meatball sandwich, chicken parmigiana, and the Old School Everything pizza.
Star Tavern is a great place to stop and refuel after a day exploring Thomas Edison National Historical Park.
Thomas Edison National Historical Park Facts
1. A New National Historical Park
Thomas Edison National Historical Park was established in 2009. Before becoming a national historical park, it was a national historic site established in 1962.
2. A Historic Mansion
Glenmont Estate was where Thomas Edison lived with his second wife, Mina. This was Edison’s last home. It was originally built in 1880 for a man named Henry Pedder and his wife. Pedder embezzled money from his company to finance this mansion, and once his crime was discovered, the home was seized and later sold to Thomas Edison. The house and all its furnishings were sold for $125,000.
3. Record Patent Earner
Thomas Edison earned 1,093 U.S. patents, which is still a record number for 1 person to hold. He also earned several hundred patents in other countries, including Great Britain, Germany, and France.
4. A Great Inventor
Thomas Edison is known for his many inventions, including the electric light system, motion pictures, and the phonograph. His contributions are some of the most important in the world. His favorite invention is said to have been the phonograph.
5. Multiple Laboratories
Thomas Edison didn’t just have the laboratory we see today in West Orange. He also had a lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey. He built the Menlo Park lab in 1876 and developed the electric light system there. He also invented the first phonograph at Menlo Park. In 1887, Edison built a larger laboratory in West Orange. This is where he worked until he died in 1931.
The laboratory in West Orange is where he improved his phonograph invention and worked on his motion pictures. This lab is now protected by the National Park Service.
With such a rich history and so many things to experience, it’s no wonder why many visitors visit Thomas Edison National Historical Park each year. Book your trip to this national historical park and experience what life was like in the late 1800s and turn of the century. See Edison’s inventions that have helped shape and form our world today.
Featured Image Credit: National Park Service
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to enter Thomas Edison National Historical Park?
The fee for entering Thomas Edison National Historical Park is $15 per visitor. Visitors ages 15 and under may enter at no cost.
How much do the tours cost at Thomas Edison National Historical Park?
The Glenmont Estate Tour costs $1 per ticket. Tickets are nonrefundable.
Is there Wi-Fi available at Thomas Edison National Historical Park?
Public Wi-Fi is available at the visitor center. Throughout the park, Wi-Fi access is limited and unreliable.
How long should I spend visiting Thomas Edison National Historical Park?
It is recommended that visitors spend 2 to 3 hours exploring Thomas Edison National Historical Park. This allows plenty of time to participate in a tour, visit the different areas of the Laboratory Complex, and take in the sights at Glenmont Grounds.
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