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.
Staff Size: 25–50 people
Pro Tip: Allow at least 2–3 hours, but don't try to do everything on your first visit.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: 125+ exhibits, it's hard to pick one
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
The Montshire is a 100-acre science center delighting visitors of all ages with diverse exhibits and programs.
Apart from your business's main attraction, do you offer any "hidden" services or activities that visitors are always delighted to learn about?
Andy's Place is a special area for children five and under and the museum store is full of carefully selected gifts, books, puzzles, and toys.
Established: Before 1950
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 30–60 minutes
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Free street parking
Recommended Age Group: All ages
In his lifetime, William Lord amassed something of a treasure horde, including artwork, furniture, and articles of business. When he died in 1873, he left behind a fortune considered the greatest in Kennebunk, including several pieces of real estate. In 1936, Lord's old general store building came into the possession of his great-granddaughter, Edith Cleaves Barry. She decided to use the building as a museum, exploring the area's history through the lens of her family's story and possessions. The museum quickly grew to occupy other nearby buildings, all dating from between 1810 and 1860, and their architectural elements and antiques became the centerpiece of Brick Store Museum.
Today, the museum houses exhibits in six galleries spread throughout the buildings. Many of the exhibits feature interactive elements, and all tell the story of regional history, whether through photography, artwork, artifacts, or ghosts who can talk.
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.