Boasting over 270 works of art on 42 landscaped acres, Grounds for Sculpturein Hamilton, NJ, evokes three classic, over-used travel-writer cliches. I’m guilty of including these cliches from time to time, but I’m a bit concerned about piling three into one post even if they are completely deserved.
1. A Must for Modern-Art Lovers: All of the sculptures are contemporary, but the style and materials vary greatly so you’re constantly being exposed to something new. The grounds are beautifully landscaped so the visitors have a wonderful experience meandering through the paths and discovering the different sculptures. We didn’t see everything, but we certainly saw a lot.
2. Fun for the Whole Family: When your family consists of two adults and one toddler, it’s tough to find places that the whole family will truly enjoy. If the toddler loves it (e.g. the playground), then chances are the adults will simply tolerate it. If the adults love it (i.e. a nice restaurant), then chances are the toddler will barely tolerate it if at all. But at Grounds for Sculpture, the adults enjoyed looking at the art and the toddler liked exploring the art in a physical sense. That’s right, kids were allowed to touch many of the sculptures, as designated by a green sign! Also, there is plenty of open space for kids to run around.
3. A Hidden Gem: Grounds for Sculpture is about a 80-minute drive from NYC, but I have yet to come across anyone who has heard of it. And it wasn’t at all crowded when we were there on a lovely Saturday in late April. Both of these are rare attributes for any place in the tri-state area. Oh, and it’s literally hidden, as the neighborhood immediately surrounding Grounds for Sculpture is a rough part of town and you’re convinced that you’ve made a very wrong turn. This walled-off enclave of art is located on the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds, and it’s worth going out of your way for it. And we’re definitely planning to go out of our way again for it soon!