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“Let there be light!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Main Street & Lakeside Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052
(973) 736 0550
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Ranked #1 of 18 Attractions in West Orange
Type: Historic Sites, Cultural
Attraction details
Ladenburg, Germany
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Let there be light!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2012

It is so wonderful that the US Government preserves such a wonderful industrial landmark. TA Edison sure was a smart guy. (But not too smart! He didn't hold on to his GE stock!) Easy to get to, lots of easy to understand exhibits.

Visited July 2012
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Hazlet
Top Contributor
125 reviews 125 reviews
96 attraction reviews
Reviews in 56 cities Reviews in 56 cities
138 helpful votes 138 helpful votes
“Learning the origins of industrialization”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2012

The Edison National Historic Site is really two sites - the first one is the area known as Edison's laboratory. Here, Thomas Edison perfected the idea of what I would call a "production line invention factory". There are several original buildings on the grounds - each dedicated to such tasks as blacksmithing, chemistry, metal working, woodworking, etc. As it functioned, if Edison came up with an idea, the lab would have everything that it would need to complete his vision - even if it took 14,000 tries before success was reached. Each building has been left as it was on the day that Edison died - with the dirt and grime removed. After a brief introduction in the chemistry lab, you are free to wander and explore the complex on your own - in silence or with the aid of an audio device.In all, it is quite an experience.
The second site is the home that Edison bought for his second wife - a brick-red victorian building a short drive up the hill from the factory. (You must obtain a timed ticket at the visitor center to enter here.) If the factory is the epitome of industrialization, the house is the epitome of a grand home with the servants, expansive lawn, and a five car garage that is larger than most middle class homes of the time. The guided tour of the house is very informative and takes about 45 minutes to an hour.Thomas Edison and Mina are buried in the back yard - you should probably pay your respects.
I'm not sure that younger children would be captivated by going here - there are a lot of plaques to read and very little hands-on things to keep the kids stimulated or occupied. Practically everyhing is "do not touch", so be forewarned. I also do not think that they would care for a visit to an old house that was decorated to please the widow Edison in her later years
So, if you want to marvel at the extraordinary inventions of the 19th and 20th centuries and you remember what movies used to be, what a phonograph used to be, and what living larger than life used to be, this is the place to be. If you, or the kids, care only about iPads, MP3's, and laptops, this is not the place for you.

Visited August 2012
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West Orange, New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Beginnings of the electrical, audio, and film industry”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2012

Not hands on for visitors, but obviously hands on for those who lived at the home and worked with the equipment in the factory and movie studio.

You will feel like you "discovered" a hidden treasure by visiting this, the least visited national Park.

For those into "steam punk," sorry, this is a world driven by electricity, with big motors driving belts running equipment.

Check their schedule. If you can, visit on a day when the technology is being demonstrated, such as the outdoor summer fun phonograph driven by water pressure in a garden hose (and maybe then feeding a sprinkler.)

You might also see the original ancestor of the technology to "rip and burn" a pirate copy of a CD: a 100 year old device that makes a copy of an Edison cylinder recording.

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Sparta, New Jersey
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Very Informative... good for high schoolers, adults”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2012

Lots of history and amazing original inventions to see. Be sure to go online and research hours they are open. I think they give a tour every 1/2 ? hour.
I saw some kids there, 10? 12 year old and they looked bored, so that is why I suggest for older visitors. Read as many plaques/posts at each station as you can for full benefit of the trip... Learn a lot!

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denville
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“A piece of history not to be missed”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2012

Beautifully maintained site with interesting architectural and interior features. Enjoyable.

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