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Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed July 23, 2013

The striking thing about the Thomas Edison NHP is that it has two locations that reflect two different aspects of Edison’s life. The first is at Edison’s lab/factory complex where he worked after he moved his operations from Menlo Park. The second is a couple miles away at Glenmont, the sprawling country estate he bought as a wedding gift for his second wife Mina which coincided with the move in 1886.
The visitor should begin a tour at the Visitor Center to buy an admission ticket that covers both locations. The ticket is valid for seven days. The bookstore, restrooms, theater, and the National Parks Passport Cancellation Station are there. There is no food for sale. There are no restaurants nearby. There are no picnic facilities at either of the two sites. It’s advisable to visit after having breakfast or lunch.
The theater in the Visitor Center shows an orientation film that covers Edison’s career. It shows his early work with the phonograph and motion picture camera as well as other pioneering work. There is actual footage of Edison and his staff.
Next, one should take advantage of a ranger talk which frequently leads into a tour of the chemistry labs which are fascinating because they are still stocked with original equipment and original bottles of chemicals. One can imagine Edison and his scientists at work here.
Next, visitors can take a self-guided tour of other buildings. Not all are open to visitors.
Then, Friday to Sunday, one can take a tour of Glenmont, his country estate which is a short drive away. Ticketing includes a parking pass that one must show to the guard stationed at the entrance to Llewellyn Park, the gated community of 175 homes in West Orange where Glenmont is located.
At this second site, there is small Visitor Center/bookstore with a small parking lot. Nearby are a barn, garden, and greenhouse.
Glenmont is a 29-room Victorian mansion on 13+ acres where Thomas Edison lived for 44 years. Edison said that the mansion was “a great deal too nice for me, but it isn’t half nice enough for my little wife.” The Entrance Parlor and Guest Reception Area are elegant with lots of mahogany and tufted velvet chairs and settees. There are stained glass windows and several animal skin rugs on the floors---popular at the time.
The ranger who led our tour was very knowledgeable.
In the rear of the backyard, one will find the graves of Thomas and Mina Edison. The setting is quite simple, considering that Edison was a wealthy man.
We enjoyed our visit here.
I suggest leaving extra time to explore the grounds.
As one can see from the photo above, the front of the house is very photogenic.

1  Thank Maurene_K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"chemistry lab"
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"house tour"
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"machine shop"
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"gated community"
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"movie studio"
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"motion picture"
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"his life"
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"national historical park"
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"step back in time"
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in 11 reviews

343 - 347 of 444 reviews

Reviewed July 16, 2013

The story of Thomas Edison and his revolutionary inventions IS the story of America. What better place to explore the genius than at his Lab. On a recent Friday, we decided to take a spontaneous trip. We live in NYC and didn't want to go too far, spend too much money, or overextend the children. So I settled that morning on the Thomas Edison Labratory National Park in West Orange NJ. What an amazing facility! The main visitor's center has a short orientation film, and the rangers were just wonderful. The chemistry lab was cool. the main building was incredible-the machines his workmen used to churn out visionary ideas were incredible. My kids particularly enjoyed "the Black Maria". A building on wheels that spun around to follow the sun-the amazing FIRST movie picture studio, right there in New Jersey! (the one on display is a recreation, granted, but still made a grand impression. We did NOT have time to do his estate, which sounds lovely. Make sure to drive the 10 minutes from here to Grover Cleveland's birthplace in Caldwell. Also, when asked for a nice spot for a picnic, the park ranger directed me to Eagle Rock Park. Wow. Incredible views of NYC and a magnificent 9/11 memorial.

Thank LizV2Kids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2013

Use your National Park pass here. Don't have one? Get one! The best $80 you will spend and you have an excuse to visit so many new places before it expires (in one year) - or if you are over 62 it is only $10 and it only expires when you do! Get the audio tour - you will learn a great deal about the laboratories. Take the ranger tour in the Chemistry lab but don't be late for the ranger tour in the Black Maria because it is REALLY short! Be sure to visit the Glenmont Estate and take the ranger tour there as well. Carmen, the park ranger who gave our tour was great!

Whatever you may think of Edison as an inventor, this is a great day trip to see American history. No food or drinks in the complex - within walking distance you can find lunch (try the American Diner about 3 blocks down on Main).

2  Thank robNrom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2013

Took a family trip to West Orange, NJ to the Thomas Edison state park. Hubby had wanted to go for some time, but it had been closed. We noticed it had finally reopened and made the trip. It was really quite interesting. Building 5, housing the library and 3 floors of artifacts was very interesting. We spoke with a ranger there who was helpful in answering our questions. If available, don't miss the demo, on the third floor, of the phonograph. Gaye gives a wonderful talk. We looked around there until it was time for our guided tour of the chemistry lab. The ranger giving the tour, Carmen, was also very knowledgeable and we found it fascinating. Afterwards, we drove the short route to Glenmont, the home of Thomas, his wife and children. The ranger there was also super knowledgeable and answered all our questions, while giving a superb tour of the house. We were lucky that the garage was open during our visit and the volunteer manning it was loaded with information that he was willing to share. I recommend it if you're in the area.

1  Thank PaceJapan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 28, 2013

My son loves collecting Junior Ranger Badges as so this was on our list of places to see. We had tried to visit a few years ago, but we were told that the NPS was doing some restoration work. It was well worth the wait. We are Not the types to battle beach traffic over Memorial Day Weekend, so opted for West Orange, NJ instead and very glad we did. The facility is very large. It's actually the site of the factory where Edison employed many people. Several short guided tours are available. Very "young person" friendly. Our guide, Tim, made it very a very interesting, fun learning afternoon. Volunteer, Gaye, was also delightful and extremely knowlegeable. Both were very interactive. Audio tours are available as well. Don't miss the demonstration of the old phongraph and also the Black Maria movie studio. Also, very beautiful is a guided tour of Glenmont, the Edison's home. Its just down the road.

Thank lisamarie514
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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