Summer fun in the Merrimack Valley
Find minor league baseball, rich history and museums, outdoor adventure and more in the Merrimack Valley area.
For off-the-beaten-path excitement, visit the mysterious rock formations at America’s Stonehenge in Salem. The estimated 4,000-year-old archaeological site is a maze full of rocky chambers and ancient ceremonial meeting places. Elsewhere on the grounds, kids can dig for gemstones they can keep.
Aviation Museum of NH
If your kid is obsessed with airplanes, take them to the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire. It is filled with exhibits and located right off the runway of Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. Don’t miss the museum’s 4th annual Aircraft Fly-In featuring antique and vintage aircraft on Saturday, August 11, 2018. It features free plane rides for kids ages 8-17.
Grab an Ice Cream
Axel’s Food and Ice Cream, Merrimack
It’s always time for ice cream. For soft serve, Axel’s in Merrimack is a sweet place to stop. The soft serve contains all-natural ingredients like real fruit. If you have your canine companion along, order the Doggie Sundae – a vanilla soft serve ice cream topped with a dog bone.
Beaver Brook Association
Sample just how fun it is to get outdoors in New Hampshire at Beaver Brook Association in Hollis. Filled with forests, gentle hills and streams, the land preserve’s well-marked and easy-to-follow trails are perfect for young hikers. One trail leads to a Native American wigwam kids can explore. Don’t forget to visit the nature center and gardens.
Blueberries typically ripen in New Hampshire in mid- to late July. Great spots for a morning or afternoon of pick-your-own fun include Bartlett’s Blueberry Farm in Newport, Berry Good Farm in Goffstown and Blueberry Bay Farm in Stratham.
Canobie Lake Park
At Canobie Lake Park in Salem, the state’s largest amusement park, there is excitement all summer long. Ride the antique carousel, get lost in the mirror maze, or climb aboard the Canobie Express for a steam train ride around the park. And don’t forget to ride the thrilling Yankee Cannonball. In 2018, Canobie Lake Park’s Castaway Island is expanding into a water park, complete with tidal river.
Canterbury Shaker Village
Explore the history of the Shakers at Canterbury Shaker Village, the National Historic Landmark Village dedicated to preserving the legacy of this religious group devoted to peace and harmony. Explore 25 restored original buildings, enjoy crafts and games, and go for a nature walk.
Where can you get up close and personal with chickens, pigs, goats, and...a camel? At Charmingfare Farm in Candia. Kids can feed and pet lambs and llamas, then head off on the trails to visit more exotic creatures like wolverines, wolves, reindeer and yes, a camel. Hayrides, pony rides, and a playground make for a day of fun.
Currier Museum of Art
Stop at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, ranked as one of the best fine arts museums in New England. Check out art from such luminaries as Picasso and Georgia O’Keeffe. Visiting families receive a special Family Guide map and can visit the Discovery Gallery for hands-on art activities.
Stop by the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, a planetarium and science learning center that offers star shows, exhibits, and special family programs that inspire everyone to reach for the stars.
McLane Audubon Center
The McLane Audubon Center in Concord, headquarters of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Audubon Society, has a learning center filled with animal exhibits of rehabilitated hawks, owls, and a bald eagle who call the place home, plus several miles of hiking trails.
Massabesic Audubon Center
It’s located just outside the biggest city in New Hampshire, but the Massabesic Audubon Center in Auburn, with its quiet wooded paths leading to the sparkling waters of Massabesic Lake, feels like a world away.
Manchester’s Millyard Museum
Housed in what was once one of the largest textile mills in the entire world, exhibits delve into the city’s history, from the region’s pre-Colonial times to the Industrial Revolution and beyond. Fun for kids includes a scavenger hunt and a mystery objects game.
Mine Falls Park
Mine Falls Park, Nashua’s urban forest oasis, shows that even in the midst of one the state’s busiest cities, there’s still room for hiking trails that wind under forest cover and along gently flowing river waters, without a building in sight. Access Mine Falls Park off Coliseum Avenue.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
Enjoy an afternoon cheering on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, an AA-affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Off the field at the Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, kids can spend part of those extra-long innings in a special children’s play area, with bouncy house, games, and an obstacle course. Check out the calendar for special themed days, giveaways and fireworks.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Are you a family of NASCAR fans? The New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon hosts the only NASCAR Cup Series race in New England, so start your engines and get ready for the excitement of Loudon’s "Magic Mile.” Several family-friendly events held throughout the summer.
Hiking with kids is always better when there are interesting sights to see along the trail, and that’s where Pulpit Rock in Bedford shines. The Bedford Trust natural area features wetlands, waterfalls, giant glacial erratics, beaver lodges, a gorge, ledges, and the remnants of an old saw mill. Best of all, most trails follow easy terrain that even little legs can manage.
Pawtuckaway State Park
There are so many New Hampshire State Park gems, including Pawtuckaway State Park in Nottingham. Trails lead to marshes, up and down hills, and past super-sized glacial erratics. Check out the state park trail map (pick one up at the entrance gate) and plan your hike to end up at Pawtuckaway's popular swimming beach. You can even camp overnight.
Robert Frost Farm
See what inspired Robert Frost’s famous poems about life in rural New England by visiting the Robert Frost Farm, a former home of the famed poet. Tour his quaint farmhouse, spend time in the children's garden, and learn about some of Frost’s favorite plants and animals during a nature walk along the Hyla Brook trail.
SEE Science Center
Stop by the SEE Science Center in Manchester, a science museum that offers hands-on exhibits and a LEGO replica of the city’s historic millyard that holds the record as the largest permanent LEGO mini-figure installation in the world. On Saturdays and Sundays, take part in special drop-in workshops for families.
Kids as young as 3 can experience the freedom of flight at Nashua’s SkyVenture, with its state-of-the-art vertical wind tunnel. With the help of a certified instructor, families can take flight after a 20-minute training class. It’s all the fun of skydiving without the ripcords or parachutes.
New Hampshire State House
In Concord, it’s hard to miss the golden-domed State House, built in 1819 and still the heart of the capital city’s bustling downtown district. For a free self-guided tour, stop by Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Kids will be intrigued by the Visitors Center diorama depicting the Battle of Bunker Hill, which was led by New Hampshire militiamen.
Indoor Rock Climbing
Vertical Dreams, Manchester and Nashua
Learning the basics of rock climbing at an indoor climbing gym is fun all on its own, or can make outdoor rock climbing a little less daunting. Start your climb to the top at Vertical Dreams in Manchester and Nashua. Both locations offer lessons for all ages and skill levels.