Keeping busy can cost a pretty penny, especially when you’re paying for an entire family. Luckily, at these New Hampshire locations, you can spend quality family time together without spending a dime!
The Little Nature Museum
The best way to truly appreciate nature is to learn about it, and the Little Nature Museum is a great way to get that education for free. Explore exhibits on dinosaurs, bugs and beavers, then check out the collections of Indian artifacts and fluorescent minerals. Activities help keep younger guests interested as they solve puzzles, make crafts and guess what Native American tools were used for. When you move outdoors, there’s a discovery area specifically designed to teach and intrigue children in grades K-3.
Location: 656 Gould Hill Road, Contoocook, NH 03229
Rate: Free, however a $2 donation is appreciated
Hood Museum of Art
A part of the prestigious Dartmouth College, the Hood Museum of Art is primarily a teaching museum for students and visitors of all ages. On certain Saturdays and Sundays, the museum stages Family Days or Family Workshops designed to help parents and their children explore works of art together. On Family Days, self-guiding materials educate young guests through stories, puzzles, games and sketching activities. Family Workshops are led by the museum staff to provide interactive learning and the opportunity to create lesson-related projects in the museum’s art studio.
Location: Four E. Wheelock St., Hanover, NH 03755
Horatio Colony Museum
A picture perfect example of Federal architecture, the Horatio Colony Museum is a historic home that has been preserved and filled with the original family furnishings of author Horatio Colony. The guided house tour will take you through many well-appointed rooms, including the library, dining room, four bedrooms and two parlors. Excerpts from Mr. Colony’s writings, family anecdotes and local history help to accentuate the tour, as guests learn all about one of Keene’s most prominent residents.
Location: 199 Main St., Keene, NH 03431
Bear Brook State Park
New Hampshire has dozens of State Parks, but few have as many activities as Bear Brook State Park. Encompassing over 10,000-acres, Bear Brook is the largest developed park in the state, with over 40-miles of trails open to bikers (both trail and mountain), hikers and even horseback riders. In winter, the park attracts visitors who enjoy snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing and dog sledding, but in summer, the water draws the most attention. Bear Brook allows for swimming, fishing, canoeing and kayaking. And for a little extra fun, take the kids to the park’s playground or test your skills on its two archery ranges.
Location: 157 Deerfield Road, Allenstown, NH 03275
NH Audubon’s McLane Center
Operated by New Hampshire’s Audubon Society, the McLane Center provides year-round environmental education for children of all ages. While McLane’s has a number of educational exhibits, it’s their live animals that fascinate kids the most. The center is home to a bald eagle, a red-tailed hawk, a peregrine falcon, a screech owl and barred owls, as well as raptor mews. The grounds also feature several trails for hiking, and don’t forget to bring your binoculars for a chance to catch a glimpse of the over 60 bird species living in the sanctuary.
Location: 84 Silk Farm Road, Concord, NH 03301
Rates: Free, however donations are welcome