In 1941, a small nature display was set up on a table in the corner of a plant nursery maintenance garage. It was so popular that the whole building was quickly given over to exhibits and became the Trailside Museum, a name that came from the National Park Service’s model for museums located next to trails.
The building was expanded in 1952. In 1961, the facility was renamed the Trailside Nature & Science Center, and a Planetarium was constructed alongside the Museum in 1969.
A modern Visitor Center, designed by nationally renowned architect Michael Graves, was erected uphill from the older buildings in 1975, and that building was expanded in 2006.
Today, this environmental education facility is perhaps the oldest surviving trailside museum in the United States. It is open daily from noon to 5:00 p.m. See Video.
The original Trailside Museum opened in 1941 in the corner of a nursery building in the Watchung Reservation
Ten years later,brought a major addition to the museum,
along with a planetarium.