I’ve been shooting (photographing and filming) weddings for over 15 years at this point. I’ve literally done over a thousand. Never once have I been to Garden Falls. If I had known what it was, I probably would have come here sooner at my own leisure to enjoy it.
This place is more than an hour from me, so on an early Saturday morning I decided to get there early in case there was traffic on the way to the Jersey Shore. Luckily it was raining and I got there with at least a half hour to waste.
When I pulled up and saw a sign that said Tiki Room I just had to go see what it was all about, especially since I could not possibly imagine there was a tiki bar within a 2 hour radius I have not been to or even had known about.
So I drove all the way around back and it was eerie. The place was a bit creepy as if it was frozen in time like an abandoned ghost town. But once you get past all the creepy clowns and McDonalds figures like the Hamburgler, you will find a large room which can easily fit 300 people, and it is pre-decorated with large tiki statues. This is probably the smallest of all the rooms and spaces on the property.
Once you walk outside you will see a pond with a well lit bridge with tiki torches.
I will be the first to admit that I though I’ve lived in New Jersey all my life, I don’t know a lot about South Jersey outside of spending Summers down the shore. It is like two different states, and this is proof. I mean where else can they hide a 50 acre private space which can accommodate up to 500 guests with 400 parking spots and 40 busses and a helicopter pad about an hour outside of New York or Philadelphia?
This place as a very interesting history. It was created by an orphan who promised the woman that raised him, that should he ever become rich, he would donate half the money to charity. He became a successful landscaper and was hired by the likes of rock legend Jon Bon Jovi and writer Judy Blume. This park now has had over 800 parties for children and adults with disabilities. All profits from renting one of the banquet rooms at Garden Falls goes towards funding Greek’s Playland and the Stone Museum. The Greek is now working on making the entire facility non-profit.
I really cannot compare this place to anything. If I could, it would be reminiscent of the Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale Florida, but on a much much larger scale. It is also completely outdoors. There are sections which have overhangs but it is all open air sections and facilities.
The most charming thing about this place is the outdoor waterfalls and lake with floating lily pads. It is a very Asian and Oriental feel and it is peaceful and tranquil. I attended a wedding here and learned that the bride paid $20,000 to rent it for the day.
The Ceremony was in one area, cocktail hour another, and the reception was down at the far end. This place is a wedding photographer’s dream. There are countless options and it would be hard to exhaust all the scenic backgrounds and surroundings in a full day.
There is a lot to see here and you should visit their website for more information about the grounds, rentals, museum and other aspects of this park…