52 Weeks of Fun

Not Just Destination Finders, But Destination Storytellers


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Squam Lakes Natural Science Center


Through spectacular live animal exhibits, natural science education programs, an informal public garden, and lake cruises, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center has brought people Nearer to Nature since 1966. The Science Center is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is the only AZA-accredited institution in northern New England. The mission of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is to advance understanding of ecology by exploring New Hampshire's natural world. Visitors can see these live animal exhibits on a 3/4 mile trail that meanders through open meadows, mature forests, and marsh boardwalks on a packed, accessible gravel path.

The wild animals at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center are ambassadors of their species, here for the purpose of educating visitors about New Hampshire's natural world. Most are orphaned, injured, or otherwise unable to survive in the wild. Observing these animals up-close, together with experiencing its hands-on exhibits offers visitors the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of native wildlife and an appreciation of the natural world.

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is committed to maintaining captive, non-releasable native wildlife to enhance the education of its exhibit trails and in our programs.

Visitors virtually explore the natural communities at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center using maps, still images, video clips and graphs that have been collected over the past few years. Four species, including red fox, white-tailed deer, coyote, and black bear are highlighted in the exhibits.

Visitors can also travel down a human-sized chipmunk burrow. An amazing number of animals make their living in the soil. In fact, just one handful of healthy topsoil may contain more living organisms than there are humans on Earth! Participants will meet ants and earthworms up close and peer at tiny soil animals through a microscope.

Colorful plants in full bloom bring an informal garden to life, naturally attracting bees, butterflies, and birds of many species. Kirkwood Gardens is free and open to the public. To better enjoy the experience, visit the Gordon Interactive Playscape: a Predator-Prey Adventure. Go on an adventure as you play the role of a red squirrel. Climb rocks and logs, scramble through tunnels and balance on branches to escape predators.

In addition to the bear, mountain lion, coyote, and bobcat exhibits, the Nature Center features the Ecotone Mammal Exhibit. This display reveals the interrelationships of creatures living in an "ecotone" or the edge between two natural communities. This exhibit is the home to three different types of animals that are generally found living in an ecotone: red fox, fisher, and gray fox.

New Hampshire is famous for its picturesque lakes and mountains, and Squam Lake is a gem among many. See its amazingly clear water, rocky shores, celebrated islands, historic homes, scenic mountain views, and remarkable wildlife. Visitors can also take a cruise on Squam Lake, choosing to join a naturalist as he or she explains New Hampshire’s biodiversity, search for osprey, loons, or even bald eagles, or enjoy a dinner while gazing upon a beautiful sunset over the lake.

Open meadows, mature forests, and marsh boardwalks connecting interactive natural exhibits where native animals reside: black bears, mountain lions, raptors, river otters, bobcats, and more. Spend a day - take a self-guided tour of the animal exhibit trail and hiking trails, enjoy a Squam Lake Cruise, take in the beauty of Kirkwood Gardens, and shop naturally in the Howling Coyote Gift Shop.

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A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

White-footed mice are known for a unique practice of drumming on hollow reeds or a dry leaf with their front paws producing a musical buzzing sound, though it is unclear why they do this.

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  • Squam Lakes Natural Science Center
  • Holderness
  • 603-968-7194