Plan for your on-water coastal culture tour at Tuckerton Seaport!
Perfect for education pods, families, or small groups, the Seaport’s Floating Classroom Boat Tour of Tuckerton Creek is a one hour tour designed to get you outdoors and exploring the folk art, history, and environment of the Barnegat Bay and Pinelands. Each boat ride features a live tour guide who brings along artifacts from the museum collection to make this an educational on water experience. Thanks to a grant from the OceanFirstFoundation, one hour tours can be reserved for just $30/group (up to 8 passengers). Tours continue throughout October. Reserve your date now-(and the link to the creek tour reservation page). Use this curriculum guide to help you prepare to make the most of your experience!
Plan your visit to Tuckerton Seaport!
There is so much to see and do at Tuckerton Seaport. Use our exhibits and experiences guide below to plan out your fun filled day!
For group tours and information please click here.
- #1 Visitors Center & Gift Shop
- #2 Mimi Kurtz Pavilion - Home to "Heave-Ho"
- Skeeters Restaurant
- #3 Barnegat Bay Decoy Museum
- #4 Skinner-Donnelly Houseboat
- #5 Joe Dayton’s Sawmill
- #6 - Perrine's Boat Works
- #7 - Parsons Clam & Oyster House
- #9 - Kelly's Oyster House
- #10 - Hurley Conklin's Carving Shop
- #11 - Jay C Parker's Decoy Shop
- #12 - Periwinkle
- #13 - Hester Sedge Gun Club
- #14 - Tucker's Island Lighthouse
- #15 - Crest Fishery
- #16 - Hotel DeCrab
- #17 - Marshelder Gun Club/New Jersey Surf Museum
- #21 - Sunny Brae Salt Box
- #23 - Sea Captains House
- #24 - Andrews-Bartlett Homestead & Nature Walk
- Bathouse - Closed for season
- #18 - Beach Apparatus Drill Demo
- #20 - WhiteCap, Seaport's Floating Ambassador
- Folk Life Demonstrators
Visitors Center/Gift Shop
The re-created Tuckerton Yacht Club highlights the rich natural resources of the Barnegat Bay estuary and its influence on regional design and cultural heritage. The exhibit on this floor serves as an introduction to the entire Seaport through the stories of the men, women and children of the Barnegat Bay and Pinelands area. The Tuckerton Seaport Gift Shop and Artisan Alley features the work of local artists and artisans as well as books, t-shirts, gourmet foods and gift items. A large selection of decoys from local carvers is available for sale.
1st Floor: “Walk on the Wild Side”
Tuckerton Seaport’s diorama of local wildlife features four habitats – woods, wetlands, bay and ocean – filled with taxidermied animals and birds, live horseshoe crabs, turtles and other sea creatures. Explore the world of the Lenape Indians and the early whaling industry. Dress up like a pirate while you learn the history of pirates and privateers along the Jersey shore.
Click the links below for more information on horseshoe crabs:
3rd Floor: “Life on the Edge Exhibit” and Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JCNERR) Visitor Center
This new exhibit serves as an introduction to the estuary. Follow the sound of peeping frogs to learn about the Pinelands, Great Bay, Barrier Island and open ocean ecosystems which make up this pristine reserve. A four minute video introduces this hands-on exhibit which is free of charge for visitors.
Mimi Kurtz Pavilion – Home to “Heave Ho”
Mimi Kurtz Pavilion, a place for lifelong learning and community service. Home to “Heave Ho”, a hands-on Block & Tackle exhibit. Get hands-on and learn about ships, sailing, simple machines, and science, math, and language arts. Pretend you are a sailor on the ship’s crew and learn how just about anyone can lift a 50lb barrel with the help of line and pulleys (yes, you can!)
Barnegat Bay Decoy Museum in the Hunting Shanty
We are proud to exhibit our entire collection of decoys in the Hunting Shanty, the building that housed the original museum. They are beautiful, functional and you can even touch a few. Truly, ducks are us! You can peruse hundreds of baymen’s stories presented in easy-to-read binders. The New Jersey Decoy Collectors Association presents a changing exhibit in this space. Sailing sneakboxes are displayed under the building.
(Temporarily closed & awaiting restoration from Superstorm Sandy)
What do you think it would be like to live on a boat? Once common on the Jersey Shore, houseboats served seasonal hotel workers in the 1880s; fishermen, baymen and hunters during the winters; and families in the summer. This original houseboat was docked on the sedge marsh near Barnegat Inlet. In spite of the green heads, mosquitoes and marsh rats, the Skinner family regularly vacationed on the boat until 1963, enjoying card parties, summer crabbing, clamming and fishing. Read about their experiences in their own words. View wildlife from the observation deck.
Joe Dayton’s Sawmill
As early as 1699, a sawmill in Tuckerton was turning the dense forests into lumber for shipbuilding and export. Cranberry and sphagnum moss industries are exhibited as well as the Elizabeth White blueberry industry story.
Perrine’s Boat Works
Did you know that the sneakbox and the garvey, two traditional wooden boats of Barnegat Bay, were designed within 10 miles of Tuckerton? J. Howard Perrine’s original boat works in Barnegat, NJ, operated from 1900 to 1956. World-renowned for its recreational sailing sneakboxes in the 1920s and 1930s, the boat works employed over 40 sail makers and shipbuilders. Teenagers would sand the boats for five cents an hour. Today, in the re-created Perrine’s Boat Works, you’ll find tradition bearer boat builders making or restoring sneakboxes and garveys. Apprentice programs are available. Biographies of master boat builders Perrine, Heinrichs, and Spodofora help to tell the story.
Parsons Clam & Oyster House
A replica of the original clam and oyster building constructed in 1935 by E. Walter Parsons, Jr., Parsons Clam & Oyster House displays tools from one of the most influential industries of Tuckerton. In its heyday during WWII, the Parsons family sent five truckloads of clams five nights a week to the Campbell’s Soup Factory in Camden. Annually, this totaled about nine million clams! Today in ‘Clamtown’ (as Tuckerton used to be called), the Parsons are still going strong after five generations. Get involved – practice being a clammer too!
Students learn how clams are and were historically harvested from the Bay as well as how millions of clams and oysters are regrown to help replenish their populations.
Historic Mini Golf
A trivia based 9-hole miniature golf course that teaches Barnegat Bay history.
Kelly’s Oyster House
Cynthia exhibit. Hands-on fun. Eel grass.
Hurley Conklin’s Carving Shop
This building is a re-creation of Hurley Conklin’s (1913- 1991) decoy carving shop. Conklin is considered one of the last of the old time Barnegat Bay carvers. Inside, you will see changing decoy exhibits and biographies of the winners of the Hurley Conklin Award, given to people who have lived in the Barnegat Bay tradition. Decoys are a uniquely American folk art. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, decoys were carved primarily as “hunting stools”. Baymen hunted to feed their families and often served as guides for recreational hunters while market gunners sold their catch to large restaurants. Home of the Tuckerton Seaport Youth Carving Club.
Jay C. Parker’s Decoy Shop & Carving Shop
Born in Parkertown, Jay C. Parker (1882-1967) was famous for his decoys, some of which were displayed at the 1964 World’s Fair. On most days, you will find a decoy carver at work continuing the artistic traditions of the Jersey shore. This recreated shop is based on Parker’s original which was once the toll house for the causeway. When they rebuilt the bridge, Parker had the house cut in half and used it as his decoy shop. Throughout the year, changing exhibits tell the story of the craft of decoy carving. Visit now to see Artist Spotlight: Dick Jessen.
Visit a replica of Jay C. Parker’s carving shed where this true Jersey Shore Bayman carved decoys he sold from his front porch on Rte 9! Stop in to speak with a master carver and learn the unique history of NJ Barnegat Bay decoy carving.
View the Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen’s Museum’s extensive collection of decoys along with rotating exhibits featuring decoys from the collaborating organizations and museums such as the NJ Decoy Collector’s Association and the Noyes Museum of Art.
(Temporarily closed & awaiting restoration from Superstorm Sandy)
The tin roofed Periwinkle houseboat was built in 1930 by a ‘tin-knocker.’ Made from Jersey cedar from Double Trouble State Park, the Periwinkle was the summer home of the Seibert family who enjoyed fishing, swimming and summer parties on the boat. The Periwinkle features a galley, a sun shower and three short bunks just for children. Only open on special occasions. The building was donated by Lorna Chadwick Shinn.
Hester Sedge Gun Club
This original gun club was built on Hither Island in 1926 and is one of the few that is still in existence. Furnished as it was in 1940, this building shows how the seven members relaxed and entertained themselves on hunting trips. Hester Sedge Gun Club represents an elite gun club with full amenities for that time.
Tucker’s Island Lighthouse Replica
Tucker’s Island Lighthouse is a reproduction of the lighthouse which was built in 1868 on Tucker’s Island. When you enter, look for photos of the lighthouse as it fell into the ocean in October of 1927. The lighthouse contains exhibits on New Jersey maritime history and the people who lived it including the stories of shipwrecks, lighthouse keepers and the U.S. Lifesaving Service. From the second floor, you can climb the forty-two steps to the tower for a beautiful view of the Seaport and Lake Pohatcong.
On the first floor is a new exhibit Celebrate 350 Liberty, Diversity, and Innovation at the Jersey Shore. The exhibit & related programs are presented by the Jersey Shore Folklife Center at Tuckerton Seaport. On the second floor an extensive Tuckerton Railroad exhibit features a working model train.
See multiple exhibits covering topics that include:
- Folkllife is All Around You*
- Turn of the Century Tuckerton*
- New Jersey Lighthouses and Life Saving Stations
- Tuckers Island Lighthouse/ Rider Family Exhibit
- The Tuckerton Railroad
- Weather permitting, students and chaperones may climb to the observation deck.
Turn of the Century Tuckerton
Step back in time and view Tuckerton through a turn-of-the-century lens! Archival photographs from Tuckerton’s first photographer, W. C. Jones alongside the Seaport Mural by Cathleen Engelson frame this exhibit. Artifacts from the Tuckerton Historical Society, information from the 1900 and 1910 Tuckerton Censuses, and vignettes of turn-of-the-century spaces provide a way to experience the life and occupations of residents living in Tuckerton at the turn of the 20th century.
Folklife is All Around You
This Jersey Shore Folklife Center exhibit, located in the Tucker’s Island Lighthouse front gallery, showcases the rich folklife of the South Jersey through photographs and objects created by and folk artisans who continue to pass these traditions on to the next generation. Answer the question, “What is Folklife?” View the objects created by folk artists working with the Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen’s Museum as well as a special collection of Noyes Museum Collection Decoys and Shorebirds. Stop and listen to folk music and oral traditions at the “listening station.” This must see exhibit helps you recognize that folklife isn’t in the past, it is all around you!
A pound is not just a measurement of weight. The Crest Fishery is a re-created pound fishery from Long Beach Island. Pound fishing, a system of nets that trap fish, were constructed in the ocean. Visit our “hands on” exhibit where you can buy and sell seafood just as they did from the 1920s to the 1950s.
Explore the economic, social, and environmental impact of the fishing industry on the Barnegat Bay region.
Before Wildwood and Atlantic City, New Jersey’s resort industry thrived on the shores of Tuckerton. Unlike large and expensive hotels, the Hotel DeCrab did not serve vacationing tourists. Instead, local captains and hunters used this former house of refuge (US Life Saving Station) as a temporary residence from the 1880s to 1917. Accommodations were hardly luxurious – the men slept on iron cots spaced just a few feet apart and used an outhouse – but the Hotel DeCrab served as a center for local men to trade stories and enjoy outdoor leisure.
Marshelder Gun Club/New Jersey Surf Museum
Home to the NJ Surf Museum @ Tuckerton Seaport features the stories of local surfers, the connection of baymen & surfing, and the influence of surf culture. Featured are over 50 surfboards, memorabilia, clothing. The science of surfing and waves is also explored. A very special feature is our very own surf simulator (donated by www.isurf.com). Visitors can surf a big wave on a longboard.
The exterior of the building is modeled after the Marshelder Gun Club.
Sunny Brae Salt Box
While the original structure dates to the early 1700s, extensive renovations and additions to the home were made in the 1960s to give it the ‘salt box’ appearance. (opened on a limited basis).
Sea Captain’s House (c. 1825)
This combination late Federal and early Victorian style home and additions were originally built for Edmund Bartlett. It was home to Capt. Zebedee W. Rockhill, a sea captain, from 1873 to 1891. (open on a limited basis). J. Henry Bartlett lived there until his death in 1945.
Andrews-Bartlett Homestead (c. 1709)
The core of the home is the oldest home in Ocean County and an excellent example of Dutch frame construction. This home was built for Mordecai Andrews, a Quaker who settled in the area around 1700. The Federal style addition was made by Nathan Bartlett in 1824. (not open to the public).
1/2 Mile Nature Walk
Enjoy the plant life and trees that occupy the “creek side” wooded tract. How many can you identify? Arborists… keep a look-out for the enormous Loblolly pine tree. It’s the largest in Ocean County and the second largest in the state of N.J.
(entrance located behind Joe Dayton’s sawmill).
Bathhouse – Closed for the season
Beach Apparatus Drill Demonstration
WhiteCap, Seaport’s Floating Ambassador
The WhiteCap is currently undergoing restoration.
Feel the heat of the forge, hear the striking iron, and see both artful and functional objects being forged out of fire and metal.
View a demonstration of an artisan spinning wool, knitting, needle felting, book binding, or quilting.
Learn about the history of basket weaving through demonstration and/or hands-on activities with Master Basket weaver, Mary May.
Folk Music/Oral Traditions
Listen to the history and stories of the Jersey Shore as sung and told by folk musician Valerie Vaughn, New Jersey’s Troubadour!