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The brainchild and fantasyland of sculptor and philanthropist Seward Johnson, GFS has been open to the public on the site of the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds since 1992. Since its inception in 1989, Grounds for Sculpture has acquired over 270 contemporary sculptures by American and international artists. Grounds for Sculpture also houses temporary exhibits inside temperature-controlled buildings, including a new conference and event center.
When we first arrived at Grounds for Sculpture, our baby boomer group of friends went straight to the old State Fair Domestic Arts building to have lunch at the casual Peacock Cafe. Later in the afternoon, we took a break for fresh lemonade and signature cocktails at Rat’s Restaurant along the waterfront edge of the Park. Laurie Millman RubinNewark Travel ExaminerLaurie Millman Rubin is an eclectic travel writer who has been reporting for more than 15 years on interesting destinations, events, upscale accommodations and restaurants, and even haunted points of interest local to New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as many other Continental U.S. Located in Hamilton Township, New Jersey (just outside of Trenton), Grounds for Sculpture is one of the world’s most impressive sculpture gardens.

Seward Johnson, is, in his own right, an internationally acclaimed sculptor of life-sized sculptures of ordinary people in contemporary life situations.
Before leaving the building, we visited the Museum Shop, and wandered briefly through the hidden Water Garden attached to the building (one of Marty’s and my favorite spots in the park).Our group spent the rest of the day searching out the sequestered objects and identifying the exotic plants (check out the slideshow), sometimes referring back to the free, full-colored site map that we picked up at the Visitor Center.
Call ahead to confirm that the park is open to the public and for the free tour times – some private events close the Grounds.2. The large works of art are scattered throughout the meticulously designed gardens, tucked away behind hedges and other naturalized plant groupings, found in ponds, and along the large lake that borders one side of the park.A sense of mystery and awe is created as visitors come across sculptures at the end of a hidden path or through an opening between the trees and shrubs.
In addition to showing the location of each of the numbered sculptures, the site map brochure provides other reference information, including the sculpture’s name, the artist, creation year, and dimensions.
As you’ll see below, Grounds for Sculpture is home to a bizarre set of sculptural recreations of Impressionist paintings. Check for inclement weather – the park is open even on rainy days, but might close for other potential weather conditions.4.

After numerous e-mail discussions, we at last agreed on the destination -- Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, N.J. Grounds for Sculpture is a magical place, and is a perfect way to spend the day by yourself, on a date, or even to propose (as I witnessed there). Monthly readers voted the Grounds for Sculpture as the Best Public Garden in the magazine’s “Best of N.J. 2012” contest.What was surprising to Marty and I was that this trip would be the first visit for some of these native-born baby boomer New Jerseyans, as this beautiful sculpture garden and arboretum has always been one of our family’s favorite New Jersey attractions. Stop at the Visitor Center for restrooms, maps, and to watch an inspiring short film about the park.

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