FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2021
Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
(21/P023) TRENTON – The Department of Environmental Protection today is celebrating the long-awaited reopening of the Liberty State Park Nature Interpretive Center in Jersey City, completing the final project to restore park infrastructure heavily damaged in Superstorm Sandy, Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced.
The center, designed by renowned architect Michael Graves, originally opened in 1985 and has been closed since Superstorm Sandy severely flooded the center in 2012, damaging the structure, exhibits and causing mold impacts.
“The long-awaited reopening of the nature center in Liberty State Park is a symbol of both New Jersey’s resilience and our commitment to protecting our natural resources,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “As we resume educational programs inside, the Center itself stands as a reminder that we must take care to protect our infrastructure and natural resources from the ever-increasing impacts of climate change, including increased storm severity and sea-level rise.”
The nature center, on Freedom Way, features state-of-the-art environmental and natural history exhibits that focus on the Hudson River Estuary and surrounding environment.
“We are thrilled to reopen the Nature Interpretive Center to the public and look forward to helping visitors of all ages learn about the diversity of animals, plants and habitats within Liberty State Park,” said Parks and Forestry Director John Cecil. “Liberty State Park and its many amenities offer something for everyone. The updated Nature Interpretive Center uses state-of-the-art equipment to connect everyone to the environment and helps us all learn about the vital services provided by nature.”
New exhibits include a night theater, a nature discovery center with hands-on activities for younger visitors, a freshwater pond and meadow interactive mural, fresh and salt-water fish tanks, a salt marsh diorama, food web, and a host of other exciting new displays and activities.
Education and nature interpretive programs are available for school and other organized groups and the general public. The center also offers a variety of professional development workshops for formal and non-formal educators.
The Richard J. Sullivan Natural Area, a 36-acre salt marsh in the heart of the New York Bay supporting the Hudson River Estuary, is adjacent to the nature center. It features a self-guided nature path, which allows visitors to explore the wildlife habitat.
The 1,200-acre Liberty State Park attracts 5.1 million visitors per year and offers expansive views of the Hudson River. In addition to the Nature Interpretive Center, the park features a two-mile waterfront walkway known as Liberty Walk, the 9/11 Memorial and Grove of Remembrance, the Liberty Landing Marina, the Green Park playground, nature trails, wildlife habitats and other recreational amenities.
Ferry service to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island depart from the Historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, which was also heavily damaged in Superstorm Sandy. The terminal building reopened in 2016 after a nearly $20 million restoration.
Follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP and follow Commissioner LaTourette on Twitter and Instagram @shawnlatur
Follow the New Jersey State Park Service on Instagram @newjerseystateparks