The Ultimate Guide of Things to do in Historic Smithville Park with Kids

Posted on: May 12th, 2021 by

Historic Smithville Park is the flagship park of Burlington County. It is a beautifully maintained park in Eastampton, NJ. It holds many attractions no matter when you visit throughout the year. There are also many events hosted by the Burlington County Parks Department that are fun to enjoy with family members of different ages.

When we first moved into Burlington County we sought out different places to visit that made it unique from other counties and Smithville Park definitely fit the bill. I love it since every time I visit I find a new place I have not yet hiked, a new event, a new factoid about its history or new foliage which make it a place of seemingly unlimited discoveries.

Historic Smithville park

Historic Smithville Park in Burlington County

Smithville Park is the site of a former industrial town, Smithville mansion and a 323 acre park. It offers spectacular views of Smithville Lake and the Rancocas Creek.

Where is the Historic Smithville Park located?

Smithville Park is located in Eastampton, NJ. The address is 803 Smithville Road, Eastampton Township, NJ 08060.

When you turn onto Smithville Rd from Route 38 you will notice the white Smithville United Methodist church on your left. After this you will have several options for parking. You can turn left onto West Railroad Avenue and park in the very small lot on your right for Smith’s Woods. You can also turn right onto East Railroad Avenue and park in the large parking lot for Smith’s Woods. You can also keep going down onto Smithville Rd and any of your next three left turns will take you to parking lots close to the village.

If you put the address listed above into Google Maps it will take you to two large parking lots near the village which is where we generally park. This is also where the Visitor’s Center is located.

When is the Historic Smithville Park open?

Smithville Park is open from 8 am to dusk daily.

How much is admission?

Pricing is free for the park. All of the events we have attended so far have been free as well. 

How do you buy tickets?

This park is always free to visit with no tickets required.

If you would like to take a tour of Smithville Mansion then you need to schedule a guided tour on this website: http://www.smithvillemansion.org/.

Tours are currently on Sundays and $6 per person with a max group size of 6 people. Reservations need to be made beforehand. 

Do I need a reservation to visit?

If you are just visiting the park there are no reservations needed.

In order to take a tour of the Smithville Mansion a reservation needs to be made beforehand. Reservations are made here: http://www.smithvillemansion.org/. For other events you are attending there are some that need reservations and others do not. You can check more information about an event you are attending here beforehand to check if a reservation is needed and for more details: https://www.co.burlington.nj.us/calendar.aspx?CID=104.

Parking at Historic Smithville Park

Where is parking available?

There is free parking in 2 adjacent parking lots that are adjacent to each other at this address: 803 Smithville Rd, Eastampton Township, NJ 08060. If hiking at Smith’s Woods Park most people park at the large lot at 39 E Railroad Ave, Eastampton Township, NJ 08060.

How much does parking cost?

Parking is free.

Are there restrooms for visitors?

Restrooms are clean and indoors. There are restrooms currently open within the visitor’s center near the parking lot (white building with an eagle next to it). There are restrooms in the Northeast corner of the Mansion annex that are currently closed. Restrooms are also currently open near the playground in Smith’s Woods at the address of the second parking lot listed above.

Who can I contact if I have more questions after reading this blog post?

The Historic Smithville Park phone number is 609-265-5858. Their website is https://www.co.burlington.nj.us/948/Historic-Smithville-Park.

building at Historic Smithville park

Things to do at Historic Smithville Park in Eastampton

Smithville Park offers paved walking paths along the grounds of the mansion and buildings of the former town. There are indoor tours available at the mansion on Sunday’s with reservations. There are hiking trails, spots for canoeing, fishing, picnic pavilions and a playground in the Smith’s Woods area.

mansion at Historic Smithville park

Indoor activities

Guided Tour of Smithville Mansion

Our family was lucky enough to go on a tour during Christmas time and this was a great time to see the mansion in its full glory. There were lots of trees decorated in multiple rooms. During this time of year they also offer candlelight tours sometimes.

When touring the mansion at other times of the year you will get a glimpse of elegant rooms that are tastefully decorated. There is a card playing table in a room adorned with Tartan plaids. My daughter liked the Hotchkiss Bicycle Railroad. There was a monorail on which one could ride a matching bicycle that used to connect Smithville and Mount Holly from 1892 to 1897 that was the first of its kind.

For art fans there is an annex art gallery upstairs that has various exhibits. Currently the exhibit that is up until May 9th is called “Days of Future Passed” by Denise McDaniel. There is no fee to visit this gallery. This is where you can view the current exhibit: https://www.co.burlington.nj.us/957/Smithville-Mansion-Annex-Gallery.

In order to schedule a guided tour of the mansion currently you can do so on this website: http://www.smithvillemansion.org. Tours are currently on Sundays and $6 per person with a max group size of 6 people. Reservations need to be made beforehand.

There is no current teatime scheduled but normally Smithville Mansion is renowned for their teas held in their stately dining room. The cost is $20 per person and they are normally each month between May to October as well as Victorian Christmas Teas during December. Check this website to see when teas will be opened for scheduling again: http://www.smithvillemansion.org/teas/.

Weddings can also be held here. There is a large white outdoor party canopy adjacent to the mansion which would be a perfect spot for a wedding reception. My daughter loves to do ballet underneath it every time we visit. Contact parks@co.burlington.nj.us if interested in having your wedding at the park or doing a rental for an event.

The mansion at Historic Smithville park decorated for Christmas

Outdoor activities at Historic Smithville Park

Walk through the Smithville Historic District

The buildings at Smithville were initially part of a mill that grew to a large industrial plant. There are signs about its history scattered throughout the property starting near the boat launch point. My kids regard the signs and buildings as a giant scavenger hunt. The visitor’s center houses a clean restroom and informational pamphlets about other great places to hike in the area. Walking throughout the village makes you feel like you are back in the Industrial Era while also getting to enjoy the quiet and lush surroundings as well. The pathways are paved so this is a great place to walk if you have a stroller.

  • Pro Tip: Bring a nice camera and wear nice clothes. The grounds offer many places for great photo ops such as the gazebo. They would be a great spot for engagement photos.
Take a self guided tour of the historic buildings at Smithville Park.

Go on a Self-guided tour of the village history

Throughout the park there are numerous boards such as these pictured below. They relay the history of the park as well as information about buildings themselves. If you have kids who love history a fun way to visit is to do a self-guided tour by finding all of the different boards in the park to learn about its history. To see a brief overview of the history before you start it is available here: http://www.smithvillemansion.org/history.

Have a Picnic

My kids love having picnics here as there are lots of good locations to have one. When we sit at the picnic benches near the parking lot they love to watch the cars drive in. There was also a new selfie station that was just installed close to these. If you bring a picnic blanket and lay it out on the lawn in front of some of the buildings they can take breaks from eating and run along the pathway. There are picnic benches and a grill towards the dam and canoe launch site.

  • Pro Tip: Bring a picnic lunch and water for visiting. There are so many things to see you will definitely stay longer than you had planned.
a collection of images of picnic tables.

Play games

Towards the back of the village there are a couple of tables with seats where you can also bring along some chess or checkers to play on their tabletops and pretend you are in Geri’s Game in A Bug’s Life.

Walk through the Courtyard Gardens or play Hide and Seek

These remind you of being at an old English manor. The hedges are high and this is a place where my kids love to run around between the hedges. This is a great spot for hide and seek if you have young children.

Historic Smithville park courtyard gardens

Canoeing and Fishing

There are multiple places for canoeing and fishing. When we parked at a smaller lot on Meade Ave and went on a small hiking trail there it looked like there were multiple prime spots for fishing. There are a few different launch points for canoes throughout the park if you bring your own canoe.

Canoeing at Historic Smithville park

Go Hiking in Smith’s Woods

Smith’s Woods has multiple different entrances and has many features such as picnic areas, pavilions, a playground and floating walkway over Smithville Lake. There are great opportunities for water views and for seeing geese and other wildlife. Some areas feel untouched so you may see what the Lenni-Lenape tribe used to when they inhabited the area.

Hiking in Smith Woods

Match the butterfly to the species

The East Railroad Avenue parking lot also has a butterfly garden adjacent to it. This area houses different plants to attract butterflies such as milkweed. There is also an informational plaque which shows different kinds of butterfly species that may be seen here from May to October. This would be a great place to teach your kids about different varieties of butterflies and about plants that attract butterflies and other pollinators. Have kids also search for other insects such as soldier beetles, moths and bees. Learn more about the specific pollinators in this garden with Naturalist Jen Bulava here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5Lam7XYBBg.

More things to do at Historic Smithville Park

The Burlington County Parks Department does an amazing job of having lots of free programs for people to attend at the park. There is a wide range of them so there are things for younger and older people to enjoy when visiting. In April many of their programs were related to getting fit so they included things like Lunchtime Walks and Zumba in the park.

Upcoming events at Historic Smithville Park

Below, we tell you about the most popular programs and events at Historic Smithville Park. Since the dates these programs offer change frequently we’re also sharing these links to help you find out what’s new at the park.

Classes and Programs

Music in the Park

Last year my son was enjoying running down hills for the first time ever at Smithville and laughing exuberantly. Then he and my daughter were elated to hear music drifting towards us. There was a musician playing at the gazebo nearby as people were walking along the pathways with a few scattered in the grass nearby.

I later found out that the Burlington County Parks Department has Music in the Park with various area musicians throughout the year. Most of these are 90 minute sets performed by acoustic musicians either at the gazebo or at the visitor’s center. This program is a great time to visit the park.

Today we went to the park and we were lucky enough to stumble upon another Music in the Park program starting again. Acoustic musician Ryan Shubert played a great set that ranged from John Denver to Maroon 5. The music had a Pied Piper effect. What had been an empty section of the park started filling up with people drawn to the music. There was some spontaneous dancing and even a dog got excited to see the concert!

To see a list of upcoming Music in the Park events until the end of May visit their Music in the Park calendar. For further details look at the Events section of the Burlington County Parks Facebook page.

Historic Smithville park

Workshops

Occasionally there will be different workshops that are held at the park. The next drawing from nature workshop will be held on May 20th from 4 to 5 pm. The next naturalist led nature photography workshop will be held on May 21st from 6 to 8 pm. In order to attend any workshop participants must register online first. These two upcoming workshops are both free to attend.

views from a canoe

Zumba in the Park

Currently there are free Zumba classes being offered in Smithville Park on most Thursday evenings at 6 pm. I have personally done many Zumba classes before and they are a great way to workout while just feeling like you are dancing with friends. They are being held outdoors in the Rose Garden. See the Zumba in the Park schedule and registration page.

Lunchtime Walk

Every Wednesday at noon there are Lunchtime Walks in the park for free that people can register for. To attend you must register and then meet outside the visitor’s center. This is a great way to incorporate some exercise into your workday and explore Historic Smithville Park at the same time. See the Lunchtime Walk schedule and registration page.

Special Events

Drive-in Movie

This event is usually held a few times each year.

Last fall my husband and I were lucky enough to see the Goonies here. Entry was on a first come, first served basis. This would be a great event to attend with your kids if they are older and able to stay up later. All the kids we saw seemed to be enjoying the experience immensely. The movie started at dusk and the gates opened an hour beforehand. They had a large screen that was set up quickly and easy to see from many spots. Masks were required when leaving your vehicle and park rangers patrolled to ensure social distancing.

The next upcoming movie will be Back To The Future on May 15, 2021. To find out about this and other drive in movies visit our calendar event listing for Drive In Movies at Smithville Park.

  • Pro-tip: Bring your snacks or dinner as well as a blanket if it is a chilly night. Bring along jumper cables or a car jump starter in case your car dies. For our family we bring along our own radio so that we are able to turn off the car and the battery does not die. This is the one that has served us well for multiple drive-in movies (affiliate link) JENSEN MR-550 Portable AM/FM Radio with Aux Line-in.
Drive in movies at Historic Smithville park

Scarecrow Decorating Contest

The scarecrow decorating contest is usually held every October.

Scarecrow that looks like Shrek for Scarecrow Decorating contest at Historic Smithville park.

For 3 years we loved visiting the park in the fall so that we could also view the amazing entries into the Annual Scarecrow Decorating Contest. Last year our family decided to enter our own scarecrow as well. These are pictures of our entry. Once they are up in October they usually stay up for 3 to 4 weeks.

Scary pumpkin scarecrow

Fall Float Festival

The Fall Float Festival is usually held once each year in the Fall.

We have yet to see if this event occurs in 2021 but this is an amazing event to attend once it can happen again. My husband and I attended in the Fall of 2017. It included many fun things such as live music, food trucks, pumpkin picking, face painting and hayrides. We walked around the park to see the scarecrows in the park and also tried some circus tricks in a tent.

Fall Float Festival at Historic Smithville park

Our favorite part was the free canoe and kayak rentals throughout the day at Smithville Park. People lined up for these and then it was a lovely four miles of paddling along the Rancocas Creek. Along the way we also saw various backyards with people waving to the paddlers. There was a bus from Pinelands Adventures that took you back to the park at the end of your journey. Since canoeing and kayaking are very enjoyable but often more solitary ventures it was great to be able to experience kayaking with so many others at the same time.

  • Pro Tip: Pack a waterproof case for your phone, a foam keychain float for your car keys, water and a snack or sandwich if you are planning to paddle.

Christmas Tree Decorating Contest

The Christmas Trees from this contest are usually decorated and on display in the park every December.

A Dairy themed tree for Historic Smithville's Christmas Tree Decorating Contest

Normally Smithville Park is closed at dusk but during the Christmas Tree Decorating Contest in December the park is open at night as well. Take advantage of this to visit the park during this time. It really made me feel at peace with myself and the world as we walked around the silent village with just the glow of Christmas lights from the trees.

A decorated Christmas tree at Historic Smithville Park

Our family entered this contest this past December with our Dairy Christmas Tree as well. It was great to be able to go to the park in the daytime as well as the night to see how the trees were decorated in both circumstances. We also really enjoyed the tree decorated with dinosaurs and the Elf on the Shelf tree. This would be a great place for taking family Christmas pictures.

Candlelight Holiday Village Tours

The Candlelight Holiday Village Tours are usually held every December on certain dates.

During the month of December there are also nights where they offer Candlelight Holiday Village Tours. Here you can see various people in the garb of the Victorian era strolling around the village. You can get a tour of the village as well. There are also luminaries along the pathways which gives everything a more magical feel.

luminaries light the way at the Historic Smithville park candlelight holiday village tours.

I got goosebumps when we walked into a courtyard and some carolers were singing Silent Night. This past December my kids enjoyed walking past the windows of the different houses that had various Christmas scenes in their windows.

Victorian Holiday Celebration

This is another Historic Smithville Park event that we will have to wait and see if this can occur in 2021. In 2019 we attended with our children in December and they loved it.

In the History Exhibit building there was a Santa who kids could visit and take pictures with. There were carolers strolling about and other people who looked straight off the pages of a Dickens novel. There was a little train that people could ride around the whole park on and another spot where people could take carriage rides.

We also enjoyed getting a free family photo in front of a green screen. Towards the parking lot there were food trucks and a market with various vendors under a tent selling many Christmas items. It is also another great opportunity to see the decorated Christmas trees in the park and get a tour of the mansion. There was even a live reindeer!

A live reindeer is part of the festivities at the Victorian Holiday Celebration at Smithville Park.

Historic Smithville Park is a Burlington County destination that everyone should visit. It offers numerous things to do for people of all ages and is a great place to enjoy the outdoors in New Jersey with your family and friends.

Historic Smithville park

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Posted in: All, Things to do in New Jersey, Things to do in South Jersey

Lorelei is a mom to a 4 year old daughter and 1 year old son who are always on the move. She resides in Burlington County and grew up in Middlesex and Mercer Counties. Lorelei loves to explore new places with her kids every day. They enjoy frequenting farms, library events and hiking spots the most. She is eager to share her love of places in New Jersey with other readers so they can find new activities and places to visit with their own kids.

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