As we strolled leisurely through the sculpture gardens, we noticed a streak of white on the ground. It turned out to be a 4-foot long peacock tail feather! My daughters ran to grab a free souvenir from their day at the Grounds for Sculpture! Now in addition to admiring the artwork, we were on a hunt to find the owner of this feather. We started to hear peacocks as we found more white tail feathers. Finally we found him, a white, albino peacock!
While driving through an industrial zone in Trenton, New Jersey that morning, it was hard to imagine I would find a beautifully landscaped 42-acre park filled with a wide variety of outdoor artwork and a handful of indoor galleries, but here we were at the Grounds for Sculpture! We went with our friends who have a 1-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter to spend a day outdoors so the kids could run around and enjoy the gorgeous spring weather.
There were more than 270 works of art on display outside throughout the park. Some of the ones that fascinated us were:
- A robot on the ground made up of all sorts of electronic equipment including computer parts, keyboards, monitors, and wires
- A musical wind chime that we could play to make “music”
- The Chamber of Internal Dialogue which included a sculpture of Edvard Munch’s The Scream on the outside and a small room in which to sit and meditate on a therapist’s couch
One of the girls’ favorites artists at the grounds was Seward Johnson, an American sculptor, who is probably best known for building life-size recreations of famous paintings. Imagine stepping inside famous Impressionist paintings like Renoir’s The Luncheon of the Boating Party, Manet’s Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe, or Monet’s Garden at Sainte-Adresse. That’s exactly what we did! We would turn a corner in the gardens and find “people” hanging around only to realize that they were sculptures. Then all 3 girls (ages 4, 7, and 10) became part of the scene as they posed amid the sculpture. All of them had so much fun that they then started to run ahead and become statues for us to find. The 1-year-old boy couldn’t be bothered – he was too busy running around enjoying the freedom of the open grounds.
We happened to have gone on their Day at the Fair event which celebrates how the grounds were originally the New Jersey State Fairgrounds. So in addition to admiring the artwork and grounds, we participated in a variety of fair activities including face painting, old-fashioned homemade ice cream sampling, a petting zoo, and a recycled art project where we decorated a bicycle wheel and other circular objects with ribbon and strips of cloth and plastic which became part of a display in one of the indoor galleries! All the while, the albino peacock and his more colorful friends sauntered around showing off for us and their female counterparts.
- Skills: Visual acuity (observing small details), gross motor (walking, running, and hiding), curiosity
- Preparation: Not really any – just go ready to walk, run, and explore! The next Day at the Fair will be on Sunday 4/27/2014 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is included with your admission.
- Cost: The admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (age 65+), $8 for children ages 6-17, and free for children 5 and under. Family memberships start at $160 per year.
- Time & Energy: It’s an hour and 50-minute drive from our house. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and clothes! Dress in layers depending upon what time of year you go. We spent about 4 hours there including a break for lunch at their indoor Peacock Cafe and didn’t even see all of the sculptures.
- Contact Info: The Grounds for Sculpture has an informative website (www.groundsforsculpture.org)