Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts began as a high school. Built in 1929, the town's first steel-beamed building was filled with bright young minds for more than half a century. But when the school outgrew its building, it moved, and set the stage for for the structure's second life. Emerson Umbrella's group of founding volunteers created a community-arts center that saved the building from demolition while also sticking to its original spirit, ensuring it be used for education. Today, owned by the town and managed by Emerson Umbrella, the center hosts studio space for more than 50 artists, workshops and classes for kids and grown-ups, a performance space for arts events of all disciplines, and just as many standardized biology tests.
Baby goats and calves lounge on straw in a petting zoo while wolves and black bears frolic just yards away. It's not a radical experiment in natural selection, though; it's just part of the varied attractions at Charmingfare Farm. After taking in the entire zoo—from pigs to camels—guests can avail themselves of such diversions as trail rides atop one of the farm's friendly horses. Horse-drawn hayrides and sleigh ride socials culminate in a stop at a roaring bonfire where guests can cook all the hotdogs and 'smores they've captured in the wild.
Since moving from Portsmouth to Dover in 2008, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire has educated and entertained more than 280,000 children and families from New England and around the world. Devoted to sharing arts, sciences, and cultural experiences with families from all walks of life, the museum houses 16 static exhibits highlighting local art and literature as well as interactive science displays. In addition to daily learning visits, the museum hosts birthday parties, and special events throughout the year teach valuable skills, such as spotting trick candles before blowing.
A maze of megalithic chambers and hallways made by man more than 4,000 years ago nestles into the snow- or moss-covered woods at America’s Stonehenge. Guests meander along a trail, marveling at one of the oldest constructions in the United States, complete with inscriptions, eating areas, and evidence of prehistoric art classes. Explorers delve into Stonehenge's history, learning about its use as an accurately aligned astronomical calendar, its role in the Underground Railroad, and the theories about who actually built it. Nearby, eight fuzz balls graze in the alpaca habitat, offering up skeins of yarn spun from their fluffy locks. Winter months coat the site's 105 sprawling acres with crunchy layers of snow, perfect for adventurous snowshoe outings or piggybacking on a snowman.
When a Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration of Independence was found in 1985 inside a historic Exeter house, the founders of the American Independence Museum knew they needed a special space to show off the amazing discovery. Today, their dream is manifested in the form of the museum, which is made up of the 18th century Ladd-Gilman House, Folsom Tavern, and an acre of land in downtown Exeter. The history museum is dedicated to the men and women of revolutionary America, from the signers of the Declaration to ordinary families who played large roles in the revolution. Here, visitors can take tours and check out historic documents relating to the birth of America, as well as view early American furnishings and household goods.
Gundalow Company likens its namesake to the tractor-trailer rigs of today. Flat-bottomed cargo barges with a single mast, gundalows once sailed down shallow rivers, carrying fish, lumber, bricks, and coal to towns in the Piscataqua region. The company’s mission is to preserve the history of this ship and the maritime life it once facilitated. They are aided in this mission by two vessels. The Captain Edward H. Adams is a historically accurate replica of the Fanny M., the last commercial gundalow. It was helmed by Captain Adams, who was also known for gathering awareness for the health of the Great Bay Estuary. Visitors can hop aboard this permanently docked ship and participate in an array of hands-on educational programs. The Piscataqua, on the other hand, offers on-the-go lessons, as it is US Coast Guard–certified and available for public and private sails. During two-hour tours, passengers travel along six inland rivers, picnicking, helping the crew pull up lobster traps, or searching the water’s surface for a third eye in their reflections.