TUCKERTON As one of the southernmost points of Ocean County, Tuckerton holds an important place in New Jersey folklore. With its strong fishing and boating heritage and its unique placement surrounded by the bay, streams and backwaters of the Pine Barrens, historic Tuckerton is a whimsical labyrinth of nature, hidden treasures and community, boasting charming shops and eateries along its quaint Main Street. Boating, fishing and general relaxation are the draw to this small waterfront village. Diving, clamming, crabbing, and other water sports are also easily accessible, and the excitement of Atlantic City is just 20 miles away. With its many marinas dotted along Tuckerton Creek, access to Tuckerton is convenient by ocean, bay or creek. Originally settled in 1698, Tuckerton was one of the original ports of entry to the United States. What was probably New Jersey’s first summer resort was on Tucker’s Island, offshore from Little Egg Harbor, complete with private cottages and boarding houses. One of the main attractions in Tuckerton is the Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen’s Museum, one of the largest grassroots maritime museums in the United States. Located at Exit 58 on the Garden State Parkway along the Tuckerton Creek, this one-of-a-kind attraction brings the Jersey Shore’s maritime traditions to life through people, exhibits and hands-on activities. 46 www.sparkexploreocean.com F12 The museum’s 40-acre site includes 17 historic and recreated buildings connected by a boardwalk, including the reproduction of the Tucker’s Island Lighthouse, an impressive showpiece sitting directly on Tuckerton Creek. Stroll the boardwalk and experience maritime life of the past and present as decoy carvers, boat builders, basket makers and baymen entertain, educate and delight visitors of all ages. Identify birds and plants on the wetlands nature trail through the maritime forest. Bring the family to spend the day exploring exhibits, and meet the people who lived, worked and played along the Barnegat Bay. The Museum also houses and supports the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve Interpretive Center (JC NERR), managed by the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. The Reserve encompasses habitats in and around the estuary where fresh water from the Mullica River and saltwater from the Atlantic Ocean mix in the Great Bay. Named for the famed ocean explorer, the reserve conducts scientific research, hosts a variety of education and interpretive programs and encourages stewardship of these unique natural resources. At the center’s Life on the Edge exhibit, visitors can go back in time to explore New Jersey’s environmental past, present and future within the Jacques Cousteau National Estuary.
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