Winter explorations: Get outside and learn

Visit New Hampshire’s nature learning centers this February

With a wide array of kid-friendly learning programs planned for the winter months, New Hampshire’s many nature centers make it easy for families to explore the great outdoors. If you are ready for one last blast of winter fun, bundle up and enjoy a day of play in nature.

Fridays, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Every Friday throughout the fall, winter and beyond, the Seacoast Science Center in Rye welcomes kids ages 3-5 to its Big Fish Little Fish program. This is a hands-on, outdoor program designed to inspire curiosity and a sense of wonder, and to empower and build a child’s confidence as a young scientist and naturalist. Each week has a different theme, so there’s always something new and different to learn and explore. Those who pre-register will save $2 per child. Call ahead for holiday/weather closures.

December 7, 2019, and January 4, 2020, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Beaver Brook Association; February 9 from 6 to 8 pm, Massabesic Audubon Center

Take a full moon hike and watch the wintry landscape glisten and glow. What’s even better, full moon hikes can take place much earlier in the evening — perfect for young bedtimes. Bundle up and take your pick of hikes hosted by Beaver Brook Association in Hollis and Massabesic Audubon Center in Auburn. Beaver Brook provides snowshoes as needed and hot chocolate to warm up after the trek.

January 1, 2020, 12–3 p.m.

Get the New Year off to a refreshing start by taking a First Day Hike at Beaver Brook Association in Hollis. Check in at the Yurt, then start your 1.5 mile trek through the preserve. Don’t forget to stop by the bonfire by treats and to connect with other nature-loving families. Leashed dogs are welcome. Donations appreciated.

January 11 and February 29, 2020, from 1–2:30 p.m.

Ever wondered which animals make all those tiny and not-so tiny footprints in the snow? Learn the basics of animal tracking at Massabesic Audubon Center in Auburn. The interactive tracking walks take place around the center’s grounds.

January 25, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Even if you’re out exploring winter for just a few hours, you want to make sure that you and your kids have the know-how to handle whatever nature throws your way. The Massabesic Audubon Center’s Winter Survival program can help you learn the basics of winter survival, including shelter and fire building, clothing choices, food to pack and how to handle emergencies. Being prepared before heading into the great outdoors in winter means less worry and more fun, and fewer freezing toes, too.

Friday, February 14 – Sunday, Feb 16, 2020

Ready to take your winter fun up a notch? Head to Crawford Notch for a special Family Adventure Snowshoe Weekend, hosted by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and its Crawford Notch Highland Center. Learn how to use snowshoes and explore a water fall, hike up Mt. Willard, identify animal tracks, star gaze, take part in kid-friendly winter learning activities, and gather around the campfire to warm up. Lodging and meals provided by the Highland Center. The pace of each day’s activities will be comfortable with plenty of time to explore and learn.

Jacqueline Tourville is a freelance writer and children’s book author who lives on the Seacoast.

Categories: Winter Guide