Where to go if it rains (or it’s too darn hot!)
Where to go to beat the bad weather blues
Editor’s note: Summer 2020 looks and feels a whole lot different than years past, but there are still lots of options for family fun. While you may be focused on outdoor-only spots, many wonderful indoor places are open, too. As always, use your best judgment when in public spaces — adhere to all safety protocols, wear a mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing.
It’s raining, it’s pouring, and the kids are driving you crazy. But fear not, because there are plenty of places in New Hampshire where you can take your family, have some fun and retain your sanity. Here’s a list of some of our favorite educational centers, museums and indoor play areas. This list is also a great resource when you are looking for a place to stay cool during a heat wave!
Enfield Shaker Museum, Enfield
Spend the day at Shaker Village in Enfield and you will finally have an answer for the question: Who were the Shakers? Kids can watch skilled Shaker-style artisans demonstrate their crafts — from making brooms and basketry to building furniture– then try their hand at traditional children’s crafts.
Find more at www.shakermuseum.org
Seacoast Science Center, Rye
At this popular hands-on learning center and museum, guests can get up close and personal with the fascinating creatures that live just outside our doors. Kids will love learning about whales and other marine mammals that live in the Gulf of Maine and about the work the Science Center does to protect them. Find more at seacoastsciencecenter.org
Summer 2020: Right now, the Seacoast Science Center is only open to guests on weekends and reservations are strongly encouraged. Virtual visits are available any time.
SEE Science Center, Manchester
SEE Science Center, located on Bedford Street in the city’s historic Millyard District, has two floors of hands-on science, with something to keep every kid busy, including touch-and-try exhibits on light, electricity, forces, momentum, sound and the SEE’s centerpiece, the LEGO Millyard Project. The impressive – and huge – LEGO-made diorama shows Manchester as it looked in 1900.
Find more at www.see-sciencecenter.org
Summer 2020: the SEE Science Center will re-open to members August 1-2 and August 8-9; the general public is invited to join on weekends beginning August 15-16. More info here.
New Hampshire Telephone Museum, Warner
Hello? Have you heard about the New Hampshire Telephone Museum in Warner? The museum has more than 1,000 artifacts related to the history of telecommunications. You can take a guided or self-guided tour. In summer 2020, the special exhibit is all about railroad communications.
Find more at www.nhtelephonemuseum.org
NUThin’ But GOOD TIMES, Merrimack
Nuthin’ but good times! Is a huge indoor play space that caters to kids of all ages. Older kids can explore large indoor play equipment, complete with mazes, activities, tunnels, and slides; younger kids will love the soft-play structure. While the kids are tiring themselves out, parents can grab something to eat from the café, plug into the free Wi-Fi or read a book, and relax.
Find more at www.nuthinbutgoodtimes.com
NH Boat Museum, Wolfeboro
Want to build a boat with your kids? You can this summer at the NH Boat Museum in Wolfeboro. On display at the museum is an array of canoes, guide boats, sailboats and other water craft that have dotted the waters of the lakes region throughout the centuries. The Museum offers workshops where families can sign up to assemble a simple canoe, kayak or skiff.
Find more at www.nhbm.org
Aviation Museum of New Hampshire, Londonderry
If planes are more your thing, you’ll find airplane models, photographs and memorabilia of Granite State’s history in the air at the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire. The museum is housed in the original Art Deco terminal building built in 1937.
Find more at www.aviationmuseumofnh.org
SkyVenture New Hampshire, Nashua
If you really want to take flight, head over to SkyVenture for adrenaline-boosting activities. SkyVenture offers indoor skydiving, indoor surfing, and a rock climbing wall, just to name a few exhilarating things to do.
Find more at www.skyventurenh.com
McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Concord
The Discovery Center, named for late teacher Christa McAuliffe, and the first American in space, Alan Shepard, both from New Hampshire, has programs for all ages including the Super Stellar Friday workshop series. The Discovery Center has innovative, interactive exhibits that delve into the worlds of astronomy, aviation, Earth and space sciences.
Find more at www.starhop.com
Block Party Social, Hooksett
Formerly, the Space Center, Block Party Social is a family entertainment center with video games, virtual reality games, rope climbing, laser tag and concessions. Insider tip: games are half price all day every Wednesday.
Find more at blockpartysocial.com
These locations, usually on our rainy-day list, are currently still closed due to COVID-19, but we can’t wait for them to open:
Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, Dover
There is no shortage of things to do at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. Check out the STEAM Innovation Lab, where drop-in workshops are held every day. Start at the construction station and engineer your own flying machine at the Build It. Fly It. using colorful foam pieces in a variety of shapes. And don’t miss the Tinkering Lab, Cave Explorers, and several other exhibits. The museum also hosts a variety of special events and workshops.
View their schedule at www.childrens-museum.org.
Mount Washington Valley Children’s Museum, North Conway
For a rainy day (or hot weather!) escape, head to the Mount Washington Valley Children’s Museum in North Conway, where kids can put on puppet shows, play with trains, climb into a life-sized treehouse, explore outer space and more. The museum is in the heart of downtown, so you can walk to nearby restaurants and shops or even hop aboard the Conway Scenic Railroad.
View more information at www.mwvchildrensmuseum.org
American Independence Museum, Exeter
The museum features a hands-on exhibit for children. Have your child try on Colonial clothing; and learn what games were played, and how children lived in Colonial America. Knowledgeable guides can answer any questions. Parents can consult the exhibit directions online before visiting so they know what to expect. Story times and workshops are held throughout the summer.
View more information at www.independencemuseum.org
Sky Zone Trampoline Park, Manchester
Have you tried out an indoor trampoline park? Jump around at Sky Zone! Get a workout by trying out the Main Court (free jump), the Foam Zone (freestyle jumping into foam), Ultimate Dodgeball, SkySlam, and more. Sky Zone also offers a program for toddlers throughout the week.
View more information at www.skyzone.com/manchester.
Mount Washington Weather Discovery Center, Mount Washington
The Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center is an interactive science museum for all ages. Explore the science of climate and weather through fun, interactive exhibits like the air cannon, flow tank and wind room.
View more information at www.mountwashington.org
Cheshire Children’s Museum
Launch Trampoline Park