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Seacoast Science Center. Courtesy photo.




Learn something new
Hands-on fun at museums, nature centers and more

11/03/16
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 Learning is fun at these local museums and educational centers. Kids can travel back in time at a preserved Shaker village, explore New Hampshire’s marine life with a tide pool touch tank or even sit inside an aircraft cockpit. From science and nature to history and specialty topics, there’s something for everyone.

 
Amoskeag Fishways Learning & Visitors Center 
4 Fletcher St., Manchester, 626-3474, amoskeagfishways.org
What it is: Nature center focused and located on the Merrimack River with interactive exhibits, games, live animals and educational programs. 
Coolest exhibit: New interactive watershed exhibit. “You move sand around in a sandbox and a projector reads the landscape and creates a topographical map of the sand,” Program Naturalist Emily Johnson said, “so you can see from a grander scale how the landscape changes.”   
Special events: Fishways Open House on Wednesday, Dec. 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature presentations, crafts, food and more. Admission is free. 
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 1 through March 1)
Cost: Free; donations accepted.  
 
Aviation Museum of New Hampshire
27 Navigator Road, Londonderry, 669-4820, aviationmuseumofnh.org
What it is: Museum dedicated to the science, technology, history and culture of aviation, with interactive exhibits and educational programs. 
Coolest exhibit: The new Embraer 110 refurbished aircraft cockpit, “complete with seats, instruments and more,” Executive Director Jessica Pappathan said. “This is an interactive exhibit, and our adult visitors have just as much fun checking it out as our young visitors.” 
Hours: Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. 
Cost: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors 60+ and veterans, $2.50 for kids 12 through 16, free for kids under age 12, $15 max for families.
 
Canterbury Shaker Village
288 Shaker Road, Canterbury, 783-9511, shakers.org 
What it is: Restored Shaker village and history museum with historic buildings, interactive exhibits and activities, educational programs and more. 
Coolest exhibit: “Really, the whole Village,” Marketing Manager Caroline Piper said. “Walking along the same paths the Shakers walked is pretty cool.” Be sure to check out the Dwelling House exhibits, which tell of the Shakers’ unique contributions and way of life.  
Special events: Experience a Shaker-style Christmas with entertainment, crafts and food at Christmas at Canterbury on Saturdays, Dec. 3 and Dec. 10, from 3 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults, $8 for kids ages 6 through 17 and free for kids under age 5. 
Hours: Weekends through the end of November, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with guided tours on Saturdays, Sundays and Friday, Nov. 25, at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Cost: $10 for adults (November only), $8 for kids ages 6 through 17, free for kids under age 6, $42 maximum for families (two adults and two or more kids ages 6 through 17).
 
Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
6 Washington St., Dover, 742-2002, childrens-museum.org
What it is: Family museum featuring unique interactive exhibits with a focus on art, science and culture. 
Coolest attraction: The STEAM Innovation Lab hosts drop-in science projects every day. “For example, kids could build structures out of toothpicks and mini marshmallows as an engineering challenge, or play with glow sticks in water to see how temperature affects chemical reaction,” Communications Director Neva Cole said. 
Special events: PizzaFest, an all-ages pizza-tasting event, is Saturday, Nov. 5, 5 to 7 p.m.; tickets cost $10, $7 for kids ages 3 through 10 in advance, and $12/$9 at the door, free admission for kids under age 3. Books Alive! with Clifford the Big Red Dog is Saturday, Nov. 12, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., free with museum admission. Mini Iron Chef cooking competition is Saturday, Nov. 19, with two-hour sessions at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., open to kids ages 6 through 12 with an adult; tickets cost $30. Jingle Bell Express, a Christmas program with DeMeritt Hill Farm, is on Fridays, Dec. 9 and Dec. 16, with sessions at 3:45 and 5:15 p.m.; tickets cost $25, free for kids under age 3. Family New Year’s Eve Celebration is Thursday, Dec. 31, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with countdowns at 11 a.m., 12:30 and 2 p.m., free with museum admission. 
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday (and Mondays during school vacation), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. 
Cost: $10, $9 for seniors 65+, free for children under age 1.
 
Massabesic Audubon Center 
26 Audubon Way, Auburn, 668-2045, nhaudubon.org/about/centers/massabesic
What it is: Wildlife sanctuary and nature center with live animals, exhibits and educational programs.
Coolest attraction: The live animals. “Our raven, turtles, frogs and others are available to view year round,” Program Director Angie Krysiak said. 
Special events: Get a close-up look at a live bald eagle, American kestrel and others at LIVE! Birds of Prey on Saturday, Nov. 12. One-hour shows begin at 10 and 11:30 a.m. Tickets cost $10, $30 maximum for families.
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays in December and January)
Cost: Free admission; donations accepted.
 
McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
2 Institute Drive, Concord, 271-7827, starhop.com
What it is: Museum focused on astronomy and aviation with interactive exhibits, simulations, an observatory, a planetarium and more. 
Coolest thing: The “New Views of the Universe” exhibit on loan from NASA, which highlights the discoveries made by the Hubble Space Telescope and features a 1:15 scale model of it. “It’s a very cool exhibit,” Executive Director Jeanne Gerulskis said. “Highly interactive and visually stunning.” On view through Jan. 8. 
Special events: Space School, a new planetarium show about NASA astronaut training, premieres Friday, Nov. 4, at 6:30 p.m. 
Hours: Friday through Sunday and daily during school vacations, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also 6:30 to 9 p.m. on the first Friday of the month. 
Cost: $10 for adults, $7 for kids ages 3 through 12, $9 for seniors 62+ and students age 13 through college, $7 per person in groups of 15 or more, free for kids under age 3. Planetarium show tickets are $5, free for kids under age 3. 
 
McLane Audubon Center 
84 Silk Farm Road, Concord, 224-9909, nhaudubon.org/about/centers/mclane
What it is: Nature center with exhibits, live animals and educational programs 
Coolest attraction: Raptor mews. “We have a bald eagle, a peregrine falcon, a red-tailed hawk, two barred owls and a screech owl,” Center Coordinator Craig Holmes said. “Inside, we also have live native turtles and a ball python snake.” 
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (raptor mews open dawn to dusk)
Cost: Free admission; donations accepted.
 
Millyard Museum 
200 Bedford St., Manchester, 622-7531, manchesterhistoric.org/millyard-museum
What it is: Museum dedicated to Manchester history, particularly the history of the Amoskeag Millyard. 
Coolest exhibit: “The one kids like the most is the steam fire engine,” museum educator Suzanne DiBella-Olson said. “It’s a really beautiful piece and always impressive to the kids when they see what it used to look like.” There’s also a scavenger hunt and other games for kids. 
Special events: American Girl Doll Tea Party is Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and includes a museum tour, refreshments and crafts with a focus on holiday traditions through the eyes of the American Girls. Tickets cost $10. 
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Cost: $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 62+ and college students, $4 for youth ages 12 through 18, free for kids under age 12. 
 
New Hampshire Telephone Museum 
1 Depot St., Warner, 456.2234, nhtelephonemuseum.com
What it is: Museum featuring nearly 1,000 telephones, switchboards and other telecommunication memorabilia. 
Coolest attraction: Interactive kids room. “It’s still growing,” Executive Director Laura French said, “but right now it has books about communications and inventing, switchboards for kids to play with and telephones they can use to talk with each other.” 
Hours: Tuesdays and Saturdays through the end of December, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Cost: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors 60+, $3 for students in grades 1 through 12 
 
Seacoast Science Center 
Odiorne Point State Park, 570 Ocean Blvd., Rye, 436-8043, seacoastsciencecenter.org
What it is: Museum focused on New Hampshire marine life and science with live animals, hands-on exhibits and educational programs. 
Coolest attraction: “The indoor tide pool touch tank is a favorite stop for all ages,” Marketing Director Karen Provazza said. “Visitors get up close and hands-on with some of the most fascinating creatures that live on the rocky shore just outside the Center’s door.” 
Special events: Learn how the center cares for its animals, be a marine biologist for a day and more at the Veterans Day showcase on Friday, Nov. 11, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hours: Saturday through Monday and all school vacation days, Nov. 1 through mid-February, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Cost: $10. $8 for seniors 65+, active duty military and veterans, $5 for kids ages 3 through 12, free for kids under age 3.
 
SEE Science Center 
200 Bedford St., Manchester, 669-0400, see-sciencecenter.org
What it is: Museum focused on technology, engineering, mathematics and more with interactive exhibits, demonstrations and educational programs. 
Coolest exhibit: The LEGO Millyard Project, the largest permanent minifigure scale LEGO installation in the world, depicting Manchester’s Amoskeag Millyard circa 1900. “It’s got more than 3 million LEGO bricks and more than 6,000 minifigures,” Development Manager Peter Gustafson said. “Other science centers have similar science exhibits, but the LEGO Millyard Project is something truly unique.”
Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Cost: $9, free for kids under age 3. 





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