Arts & Culture, Day Trips, Museums

Day Trip: Thomas Edison Historical National Park

Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Bring the family back in time by taking them on a day trip to Thomas Edison National Park in West Orange, NJ. You’ll learn how the “Wizard of Menlo Park” gave us the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the electric light bulb by exploring his laboratory and home.

Laboratory Complex

There is so much to do and see at the 20,000 square feet complex. Plan to spend a few hours or longer, depending on the age of your children:

  • View the Invention Factory a 20 minute orientation film
  • Watch “The Great Train Robbery” a silent movie from 1903

Thomas Edison Historical National Park

  • Wander the courtyard to see and learn about the Black Maria, the world’s first motion picture studio built in 1893.Thomas Edison Historical National Park
  • Explore all 3 floors of the Main Laboratory Building (Building 5)

thomas edison national park

  • Take a tour of the Chemistry Lab (check the Visitor Center for tour times)

Thomas Edison Historical National Park

  • Make sure to check for any special tours or programs when you arrive at the Visitor Center. We attended a demonstration on the phonograph, which was a highlight of our visit.

Thomas Edison Historical National Park





Passes to the Edison’s 1880 Victorian home Glenmont are only available at the Laboratory Complex Visitor Center and must be obtained before going to the home. You’ll be given a tour time, a pass for your car, and tickets.

glenmontGlenmont is a few minutes drive from the laboratory in the gated community of Llewellyn Park. You must be at the front entrance five minutes before the tour begins Note: Don’t be late. Once the tour starts, the doors of Glenmont are closed until the tour ends.

Photos are not permitted inside of Edison’s 29 room Queen Anne style mansion, even without flash, but below are a couple courtesy of the National Park Service, so you can get a peek inside the stunning home:

The Edison Family Living Room
The Family Den

The tour is best for kids age 8 and up, since it requires just looking and not touching, but it was a highlight of the Gilmore Girls visit. Our tour guides were a wealth of knowledge, sharing information and fun facts of the Edison family and estate: Thomas and his wife Mina raised their three children at Glenmont, many famous people visited Glenmont and signed a guest book, there were 5-7 servants daily to keep the estate running, and the servants had their own quarters and stairwell, a la Downton Abbey style.


Thomas Edison Historical National Park
211 Main Street, West Orange, NJ (Free parking across the street in the lot)
Cost: Adults $10 / Under 16  free / Audio Tour  $5
Hours: July 4 -September 6

  • Laboratory: Wed – Sun, 9:30 am – 5 pm
  • Glenmont: Wed – Sun , 11:30 am – 5 pm

September 7 – July 4

  • Laboratory: Wed – Sun , 10 am – 4 pm
  • Glenmont: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Closed Jan 11 – March 17, 2016)







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