Lucy the Elephant: A National Historical Landmark
9200 Atlantic Avenue
Margate, NJ 08402
Open: Check the website for the season as the hours change by season
Fee: $8.00 Adults/$4.00 Children/Children under 2 free
I visited Lucy the Elephant in the fall of 2015 right before Christmas on a tour I was taking of Southern New Jersey and the shoreline. This unique structure was built to attract people to the shore to buy land and for development. Their were two other ‘Lucy’s’ built one of them being the former ‘Elephant Hotel’ in Coney Island that burned down in the last century.
This well preserved building has been renovated and part of the Jersey shore lore. It is well worth the visit in the off season on a nice day. I unfortunately visited on a rainy day and was not able to go to the top and still have a free pass to go whenever I want to visit again. Still I was able to take the spiral staircase to her belly to learn the history of the structure and that is very interesting.
Lucy the Elephant in its full glory
I visited Lucy again recently and was finally able to visit the top of the statue, the howdah, and able to take in the view of the ocean and the surrounding area. Try to visit “Lucy” when it is a sunny day out. You will be able to take in the spectacular view.
Inside of Lucy the Elephant: the history and displays
*Lucy the Elephant, born in 1881, A National Historical Landmark
Lucy was built by a real estate speculator who owned a great many parcels of open land at the Jersey shore. In order to attract visitors and potential buyer, he built Lucy as a novelty amusement. He patented his idea, ensuring that Lucy would remain a unique piece of architecture. Eventually, a popular hotel business was built around Lucy. Presidents and royalty came from around the world to stay at the neighboring Elephant Hotel and climb the stairs to Lucy’s howdah.
During her history, Lucy has survived hurricanes, ocean floods and even a fire accidentally stated by some inebriated party-goers when she served as tavern. However, by the 1960’s, it became apparent there was one disaster Lucy could not overcome-neglect. By that time, the once proud jewel of the South Jersey Isles had become an almost hopeless, condemned structure. Eventually a developer purchased Lucy’s lot and intended to build a new condominium building on the site. The beach and the ocean could stay-but the elephant had to go!
Lucy the Elephant near the wrecking ball
To the rescue came the Save Lucy Committee. Within weeks, this small, concerned group of ordinary citizens had raised enough money to move the entire decaying structure two blocks away to a new site owned by the city. Thirty years and over one million dollars later, Lucy has been completely restored to her original splendor, inside and out. In 1976, Lucy was designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Government as the oldest surviving example of a unique form of “zoomorphic” architecture. Today, she is every bit as popular and beloved as she ever was.
About our Park:
Lucy the Elephant is located along the beach in Josephine Harron Park (named for our co-founder) in Margate, NJ. Lucy is six stories high and is listed on the National Park Registry of Historical Landmarks. Our park is fenced and contained, making child supervision easy. Picnic tables are on site for eating outdoors. We also have friendly, trained volunteers and staff to assist you during your visit. On the tour, you will learn about Lucy’s unique architecture and her colorful history. You will get to climb a spiral staircase through her insides and all the way up to the howdah on her back, providing a spectacular 360 degrees view of the surrounding shore area. Kids and adults alike are sure to enjoy visiting the only elephant in the world “you can walk through and come out alive”. Lucy is also available by appointment for schools, groups and special events such as weddings or birthday parties. There are guided tours, a gift shop, free parking and all major credit cards are accepted.
Lucy the Elephant by the Margate Shore
The hours for the structure change throughout the year, so please check the website for time availability of the park and structure.
Group Tours & Information:
Lucy is available year round for groups of 10 or more by appointment. For special holiday hours and weather closings, please call or check our website.
How to get to Lucy:
It is best to check the website for your location to the structure. For detailed instructions, please visit http://www.lucythe elephant.org.
*This information was taken from the pamphlet from The Save Lucy Committee. For more information, visit the online website at http://www.LucyTheElephant.org
*Disclaimer from author: All this information is located both on the pamphlet and on the website. Visiting Lucy is a treat and should be visited by all residents of New Jersey.