Affectionately known as "Ol' Barney", after extensive repair, the lighthouse re-opened for visitors in 1991 as a non-functioning lighthouse.
The tower light was 165 feet above sea level and It functioned as first-class navigational light until August 1927, when the "Barnegat Lightship" was anchored 8 miles off the coast.
The tower's light was since reduced to 80 per cent of it’s original brilliance. It was decommissioned in January 1944.
However, as a result of a campaign by Members of Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park and a $15,000 donation from a Fraternal Order of Police Chapter, Ol' Barney will be re-lit on it's 150th birthday on January 1, 2009.
It's new beacon is a 100 watt bulb with a fresnel lens surrounding it for intense magnification. Ships as far as 21 miles away will be able to see it's beam. The new beam is a straight, pencil beam, whereas, the original beacon was a beehive, that lit up the immediate surrounding area.
The Barnegat Light is the featured attraction of a beautiful State Park that is popular with fishermen.
The Lighthouse is operated as an historical Museum with exhibits featuring the original light and other artifacts.
Visitors are able to climb the 217 steps to the light keeper's catwalk to experience a magnificent view of Island Beach State Park, Barnegat Bay, and Long Beach Island.
Interpretive signs throughout the tower interpret its history and its importance to early navigation.
The 31.8-acre park is also popular for nature observation, including a wide variety of birds during spring and fall migrations. Nesting birds are protected, and birds such as piping plovers, least terns, black skimmers, and others can be observed and photographed.
The Lighthouse is owned by the State of New Jersey. Group Tours are welcome, and though there are no formal programs for School Groups, a Tour is educational and fun. It can combine with several other sites to provide a most rewarding day out in the field. A short self-guided loop trail provides an opportunity to explore one of the last remaining maritime forests on Long Beach Island.
Visitors can also enjoy their picnicking facilities. Near the the Barnegat Bay there there is a paved area with numerous picnic tables and barbeque grilles. Two picnic shelters are also available for public use.