14 Secret Things In New Jersey You Didn’t Know ExistedThe Garden State has plenty of tricks up its sleeve.
1. This House Is Creepy, Spooky, And Altogether Ooky
Source: westfieldnj.comElm Street in Westfield is the location of a creepy, Victorian-style house that inspired the notorious mansion in “The Addams Family.” Charles Addams, the writer of the “Addams Family,” grew up near the home in Westfield and said he drew his inspiration for the Addams Family mansion from the house. It’s hard not to shudder a little bit when you drive past the home, because even though the current owner has added a quaint front porch, it’s impossible not to see the Morticia and the gang when you look at it!
2. It’s Okay To Flip Out In This Museum
Source: Facebook user Silverball Museum ArcadeIt’s hard not to be immediately psyched when you walk in the Silverball Museum Arcade tucked away on Asbury Park boardwalk—this museum is home to 180-plus functioning pinball and arcade machines—meaning you can play all 180-plus games! One of only three arcade museums in this world, this is constant entertainment like you’ve never experienced it before. Plus, afterwards you can get some of the boardwalk’s famous salt-water taffy!
3. Meditate On The Meaning Of This Ultimate Zen Garden Ornament
Source: worldpeace.orgHidden in what looks like someone’s backyard is a 30 foot tall Buddha. It was built as a part of the New Jersey Buddhist monastery and currently resides behind an old house in Princeton which is now used as a monastery for monks—so, basically, it is in someone’s backyard. Built by a Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka, it’s hard not to be awed by this giant Buddha. And it’s completely free to zen-out here, as well.
4. A Head-Turning Secret Garden Under The Turnpike
Source: Facebook user Rutgers GardensNestled between the Turnpike and Route 1 is Rutgers Gardens, a tiny bit of heaven amidst the hubbub of a university city. Most New Jerseyans don’t even know about the gardens, but they should! It’s home to America's second largest collection of holly, but this garden isn’t all about the flowers—it also grows a variety of fruits and vegetables, and they have their own farmers market where you’ll try the freshest fruit in Jersey. Who knew so much deliciousness could be tucked away behind the turnpike!
5. Find Out A Magician’s Secrets At America’s Oldest Magic Shop
Source: Facebook user martinka’s magicMartinka’s in Midland Park is America’s Oldest Magic Shop. Not only is this a crazy unique museum, where you can see artifacts from famous magicians throughout history, but it also still functions as a magic shop where you can buy magic tricks (they’re illusions). Oh, and the previous owner of the shop? Houdini himself in 1919. Visit and check out the shop’s fun house mirrors, holographs, and in-house magicians, including one who can make your name appear on any card. This shop isn’t easy to find, so search hard for it. It’s well worth it!
6. Yep, That’s One Helluva Elephant
Source: Wikimedia user dctdthingLucy the elephant is the world’s largest elephant: she’s a 6-story building weighing 90 tons and covered in 12,000 square feet of sheet tin and she’s here in Jersey in Atlantic City. Lucy used to be a completely functioning building but now she’s a tourist attraction where the select few people who know about her climb her spiral staircase to reach the top and get the best view of the smiley face water tower!
7. Head To Jersey Mike’s For The Best Secret Menu In The State
Source: Facebook user Jersey Mike’s SubsThe regular menu at Jersey Mike’s is already a homerun, but the stuff that the owner, Cancro, comes up with for his secret menu is even better. Try the Cancro Special, his signature and personal favorite sandwich, with roast beef, provolone, and pepperoni, all grilled and toasted until the cheese is melty-goodness. He’ll be personally honored to make his namesake sandwich for you off the secret menu! But there’s plenty of other great stuff—ask for the chipotle mayo or the owner’s secret spice shaker to add a kick to any of your sandwiches. Yum!
8. Check Out The Quick Stop That “Clerks” Made Famous
Source: flickr user Lyndi and JasonEveryone knows the movie “Clerks,” but most people don’t know that the Quick Stop where the movie was filmed is located in Leonardo, NJ. If you’re a true “Clerks” fan, you’ll head to this Quick Stop and snap a picture with that famous storefront. And maybe even buy a few things inside, albeit the store clerks will most likely not be as entertaining as Randal and Dante. Oh, and you probably won’t be able to play hockey on the store roof—but we won’t stop you from trying!
9. Run With The Wolves…Or Away From Them?
Source: backyardchickens.comColumbia, NJ is home to the Lakota Wolf Preserve in the woods at Camp Taylor. You can go for a guided walk through the preserve to try and spot the creatures who have made New Jersey their home. They’re beautiful, yet terrifying, so be ready for some serious up-close-and-personal time with these breathtaking critters.
10. You’ll Have To Admit That This Mineral Museum Kinda Rocks
Source: Facebook user Franklin Mineral MuseumThe Franklin Mineral Museum brings attention to one of New Jersey’s best kept secrets: the radiant, fluorescent minerals that can be found in Jersey mines. While the museum only has a fake zinc mine, it’s still two-stories deep. The walls are lined with willemite, franklinite, larsenite, pectolite, calcite, and other minerals that glow in ultraviolet light. There are also amazing crushed stone paintings of animals and flowers that glow in a rainbow of vibrant colors. Talk about trippy!
11. Wring In The Good Old Days With An Unusual Piece of Sinatra History
Source: Facebook user White House Sub ShopNot only is the White House Sub Shop in Atlantic City an amazing place to get a good old-fashioned Jersey sub, but it’s also home to a strange artifact of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack Days: A pink towel Sinatra used during his last performance in Atlantic City. It’s said that Frank Jr. always gets a sub here when in town, so if you’re lucky maybe you won’t just see his towel but his son, too!
12. This Isn’t Your Run-Of-The-Mill Hot Dog Stand
Source: Facebook user WindMill Hot DogsThe aptly named “WindMill” in Long Branch is a fake Dutch windmill that tops a hot dog stand. It’s been a Jersey shore landmark that dishes out delish fast food, served at a retro counter top, for as long as we can remember. Their kosher-style chili and cheese dogs are obviously a local favorite. This place may not be very well-known, but it certainly has its loyal patrons who frequent the stand, especially in the summer.
13. Once You Eco-Cruise The Hackensack, There’s No Going Back
Source: hackensackriverkeeper.orgOK, let’s be real. The Hackensack River isn’t always known as the most beautiful river around. But one man in New Jersey has made it his mission to change that. Captain Bill Sheehan started the Eco-Cruise program in 1994 and has catered to more than 25,000 people who want to see the Hackensack in a new light. His Eco-Cruise is a narrated tour of the meadowlands, where you’ll travel through the estuary, which is filled to the brim with budding wildlife and beauty. Most people don’t know about “The Jewel of The Meadowlands,” the Sawmill Creek Wildlife Management. It’s a beautiful place to see wildlife in a natural habitat. Be sure to go at sunset! You won’t regret it.
14. Folks Come From Mars For A Cup Of Joe Here
Source: Facebook user Grover’s Mill Coffee HouseGrover's Mill Coffee House is not only an excellent place to get a cup of joe, but its also home to some pretty incredible artistic renditions of a particularly wacky bit of NJ history. You see, the artwork depicts the scene of the imaginary alien attack on nearby Grover's Mill, made famous (or is it infamous?) by the famous radio broadcast, “War of The Worlds.” This broadcast was so convincing that had everyone in Jersey thinking there was an actual alien attack for, like, 30 minutes. Yeah, talk about freaking out. The coffee shop is also home to some pretty sweet artifacts from the “War of the Worlds” movies, signed by the actors themselves. Did we miss anything? Tell us your favorite secret spot in New Jersey? Tell us in the comments below!