Squam Lakes Natural Science Center Opens on May 1

Redesigned "Celebrate Birds" building opens

Press release

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is preparing for opening day of the 2022 trail season which begins Sunday, May 1. The ¾-mile live animal exhibit trail features coyote, fisher, red and gray fox, bobcats, black bear, river otters, white-tailed deer, various owls and raptors, and more. Plan at least two and a half hours to walk the animal exhibit trail, which meanders through open meadows, mature forests, and marsh boardwalks on a packed gravel path.

Great Horned Owl

Regular hours are 9:30 AM to 5 PM, with the last trail admission at 3:30 PM. Trail admission rates are $22 for adults; $20 for seniors age 65+; $16 for youth ages three to 15; and free for children age two and under and for members.

Squam Lake Cruises begin in mid-May and run through mid-October. Visit NHnature.org for more information.

 Since 1966, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center has educated and enlightened visitors about the natural world through spectacular live animal exhibits, natural science education programs, and lake cruises. It is the only institution in northern New England accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). 

The Science Center has a few options to make visiting more accessible for all income levels. These programs include Museums for All, which allows SNAP benefit cardholders to receive $3 trail admission for up to four people; the Family Access Membership, which is a $25 six-person membership for New Hampshire families receiving food assistance; and Library Membership passes. More information about these programs is available at NHnature.org/visit.

This season the Science Center is hosting Giant Insects from July 1 through September 30. These giant animatronic insects will help visitors learn about the importance of insects in our natural world through educational interpretation, movement, sound, and even spray! 

Five giant insects, including bombardier beetle, blue-eyed darner, devil’s flower mantis, grasshopper, and stag beetle, will provide a dynamic larger-than-life experience for visitors to the Science Center. Giant Insects are included in regular trail admission and free for members. Meredith Village Savings Bank and Holderness School are generous sponsors of the Giant Insects exhibit.

The Science Center is also opening the completely redesigned Celebrate Birds building, which includes live Bittern, Black-crowned Night-Heron, and Broad-winged Hawk in addition to new interpretation and interactive exhibits. This complements the new Raptor Exhibit, which opened in 2021.

The Gordon Children’s Center will re-open for the 2022 season, which has been closed since 2020. Visitors will enjoy crawling through tunnels, on spider webs, and experiencing nature through sight, sound, and touch.

Kirkwood Gardens continues to add to the huge variety of plants with identification plaques identifying the plants and their benefits for the natural world.

Special Events

 New Hampshire Day: Saturday, May 7, 9:30 AM to 5 PM (last trail admission at 3:30 PM). New Hampshire residents may visit the live animal exhibit trail for $5 admission thanks to generous sponsors Dead River Company and New Hampshire Electric Co-op Foundation. Non-New Hampshire residents may purchase regular-priced admission tickets. New Hampshire residents must provide proof of residency upon admission.

Visitors will enjoy Up Close to Animals presentations at the Amphitheater at 11 AM, 1 PM, and 3 PM Advance tickets are required and available at NHnature.org.

 Virtual Science Pub: The Gulf of Maine – Changing Climate and Changing Fisheries, Tuesday, May 17, 6:30 to 7:30 PM. Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, Squam Lakes Association, and Squam Lakes Conservation Society partner to bring Science Pubs to a virtual audience. This virtual discussion about climate change will look at impacts on local animal populations. The presentation is approximately 45 minutes with time for questions and discussion after. Graham Sherwood from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute will talk about a changing climate and changing fisheries. There is no charge to attend, but advance registration is required at NHnature.org.

 Discover Squam Cruise: Daily 1 to 2:30 PM, beginning Saturday, May 21. This unforgettable guided tour has something new to delight everyone. Learn about the natural history of Squam Lake, look for majestic Bald Eagles, and listen for the haunting call of Common Loons. Hear about the people who have lived on its rocky shores surrounded by scenic mountains for over 5,000 years. Cruise on this beautiful lake where On Golden Pond was filmed more than 40 years ago.

Squam Lake Cruises are not recommended for children under age three.  All Squam Lake Cruises are 90 minutes in length on canopied pontoon boats. Binoculars are available for viewing, or bring your own. Cruises depart on Route 113 across from the Science Center. Advance reservations required by purchasing tickets at NHnature.org. The cost is $27 adult; $25 senior age 65+; and $23 youth ages up to 15. Members receive a $4 per person discount. To purchase cruise tickets and see the full cruise schedule visit NHnature.org

About Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

The mission of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is to advance understanding of ecology by exploring New Hampshire’s natural world. Through spectacular live animal exhibits, natural science education programs, guided Squam Lake Cruises, an informal public garden, and Blue Heron School, a nature-based Montessori early learning center, the Science Center has educated and enlightened visitors since 1966 about the importance of our natural world. 

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is located on Route 113 in Holderness, an easy drive from Exit 24 off I-93, and public trails are open daily from May 1 through November 1 with programming throughout the year. 

The Science Center is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is the only AZA-accredited institution in northern New England. For further information about the Science Center, call 603-968-7194 or visit NHnature.org.