Learn And Play The New Hampshire Way
Family fun certainly isn't hard to come by in New Hampshire. Whether your loved ones want to learn together or find an adrenaline rush, The Granite State has plenty of kid-friendly activities to explore.
Most mines and caves you visit all have a look-but-don't-touch policy. Not at Ruggles Mine -- the major draw of this attraction is that you're not just allowed, but you're encouraged to go mining for yourself! Bring your own hammers, chisels, bags and buckets to save on tool rental fees, then have at the mine for a chance to collect some amethyst, quartz, garnet and more. Over 150-minerals are found in the mine, including prized uranium. When you need a break from rock collecting, tour the mine's museum to learn about the history of the mine and see samples of the minerals you're hunting for.
Location: Ruggles Mine Road, Grafton, NH 03240
Rates: Adults are $25; Children ages 4-11 are $13; Children under age four are free with a paid adult. Bucket and hammer rentals available at an additional charge.
Clark's Trading Post
Get a taste of the old frontier with a trip to Clark's Trading Post -- a quirky family entertainment center with so many fun, unexpected attractions. Take in the trained bear show, then hop on a 30-minute steam-powered train ride. After watching the Chinese acrobats entertain with a circus act, go on a mind-boggling tour of Merlin's Mystic Mansion or test your luck on the gravity-defying Tuttle's Rustic House. Round out your visit riding the blaster boats, scaling the rock climb tower or embarking on a Segway safari.
Location: 110 Daniel Webster Highway, Lincoln, NH 03251
Rates: Ages four and up are $19; Ages three and under are free
You've taken your family mini-golfing, but have you ever taken them adventure golfing? The miniature golf courses at Pirate's Cove will have your kids putting their way through caves, under waterfalls and over foot-bridges with the courses designed to tell a clever story. In Lincoln, you'll learn the simple life of the hobo while playing the 18-hole course, while in North Conway and Weirs Beach you'll find pirate-themed courses. At Winnisquam mini-golf isn't the only game -- the fun park also has bumper boats and Bank Shot basketball.
Locations: Lincoln, North Conway, Weirs Beach, Winnisquam
Rates: Varies by location and entertainment package
Who says you have to wait until December 25 to see Santa? At Santa's Village it's Christmas all year round! This holiday-themed amusement park has a whole host of Christmas-y rides, many of which are fun for all ages. Cool off during the summer months riding the Yule Log Flume, or put on your swimsuit and splash around in the Ho, Ho, H2O water park. Some rides, like Rudy's Rapid Transit Coaster and Santa's Chimney Drop are even open in winter (weather permitting), so you can even have fun visiting the village during Santa's busiest season.
Location: Route Two, Jefferson, NH 03583
Rates: Varies by season; Children ages three and under are free with a paid adult admission
Promising a fun-filled day of agri-tainment (that's agricultural entertainment!), Sherman Farms is a wonderful place to bring the family in the fall. Each year, Sherman Farms custom-designs a maze through their corn field, but that's just the beginning of the fun. There are also jumping pillow, grain train rides, hay rides, pedal tractors and a playground. And don't forget to pick up some tasty treats to take home, like fresh milk and fresh-picked produce.
Location: 2679 E. Conway Road, East Conway, NH 03813
Rates: $9 for an all-ages pass that allows admission to most activities; Children ages two and under are free
Seacoast Science Center
The Seacoast Science Center is dedicated to the preservation and education of New Hampshire's coastline, but a visit to the center is anything but boring. Inside the center, check out the informative aquarium exhibits, then get hands-on at the touch tank and the boat replica climb-around. When the weather's pleasant, head outdoors to hike the center's nature trails or explore the tide pools.
Location: 570 Ocean Blvd., Rye, NH 03870-2104
Rates: Ages 13 and up are $5; Ages 3-12 are $2; Children under age three are free