Children's Museum of New Hampshire
Other Ideas: Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame; Discovery Museum; Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art; Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; Boston Museum of Science
The Children's Museum of New Hampshire in downtown Dover on the banks of the Cocheco River includes a playground, picnic tables, and parking – perfect for family visits.
In the museum, new visitor amenities include an elevator and ramp system for full accessibility, a snack room, storage space for coats and strollers, and dedicated spaces for school visits, performances and birthday parties.
View Upcoming Events Calendar.
The museum does not serve food but offers a 1950’s-style snack area where families can take a break. The snack area features a vending machine with healthier snack options. Visitors may also bring their own snacks or lunches from home.
This two-story educational play structure is a reconstruction of a research and exploration submarine. Command the sub from the control room, send a Morse Code message to the surface, view the ocean environment above you through the periscope, then take a break in the sleeping quarters. Equipped with lots of ladders, stairways, tunnels and a fast slide.
Build it Fly it - An Aerodynamic Exhibit (our favorite!)
Learn about aerodynamics and exercise your creativity in our Build It, Fly It exhibit. Start at the construction station and engineer your own flying machine using colorful foam pieces in a variety of shapes. Next, place your unique invention onto a 30-foot vertical, hand-powered conveyor system and crank it up through the rafters. Watch as your creation is released at the very top to see if it flies, flutters or falls. Following in the footsteps of scientists and inventors, you can then redesign and retest your flying machine to try and improve your results. Anyone can be an engineer in this fun and creative environment.
Become a paleontologist! Put on your lab coat and goggles and dig for a Triceratops fossil. Take part in the scientific process as you compare the jaws, claws, and vertebrae of a Triceratops and a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Climb aboard this 15-foot lobster boat that comes with a working lobster trap, raincoats, life vests, and sea creatures. Plot your course through the port of Portsmouth with a full-size nautical chart, a marine compass, and simple navigational tools.
Visit the 'full-service' post office to mail letters, buy stamps, and check your PO box. Or, clock in and go to work behind the window -- sort letters, wait on customers, and deliver and collect mail along your route through the museum. Kids really get into delivering the laminated letters around the museum.
Play It Cool
Play It Cool is the museum's newest exhibit and it's a hit with all ages! This exhibit features Mindball, a two-player biofeedback game with a built-in electroencephalograph (EEG) machine. Each player wears an electrode headband which monitors alpha and theta brainwaves, the brainwaves of relaxation. The player who can become the most relaxed wins the game.
Dive in to the art project of the day!
The throne room is 'under construction.' Tie on an apron and join the crew of 'Ye Olde Construction Company,' where 'Patterns are our passion,' to help finish the job. Complete the royal throne, the stone fireplace, the 'stained glass' window, and the rich flooring. This regal environment surrounds you with visual and textural patterns to discover, ponder, and manipulate -- from the silvery tin-paneled walls to the one-point, perspective mural, from the hand-crafted throne to the royal dragon portraits. Patterns are everywhere!
The museum is available for birthday parties every evening (except Wednesday) beginning at 5:30 PM, Sunday mornings between 9 AM and 12:30 PM, and Monday afternoons beginning at 1 PM (school year only). You're welcome to bring your own party food or have it delivered. There is a refrigerator and freezer on site. They do ask that all eating during parties be confined to the Project Area.
Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Sundays: 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Also open most Monday holidays and school vacation days
Children Under 1: Free
6 Washington Street, Dover, NH, 03820 map
From the south: Take I-95 North to NH Exit 4 - Spaulding Turnpike/Route 16 North (note: exit is on left). Take Exit 7 and turn right onto Route 108 North. Drive one mile to lights at Washington Street, just past City Hall. Take a sharp right onto Henry Law Avenue. Museum is on left next to Rotary Arts Amphitheatre in Henry Law Park. Where to ParkThere is pay-for-use parking in the lot just past the Amphitheatre & Public Pool on the left. There is also pay-for-use parking on Henry Law Ave. (in effect Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm only) and many other city streets. Parking is free on the weekends and holidays.
From the north (New Hampshire): From Spaulding Turnpike/Route 16 South, take Exit 8E and follow Silver Street to lights at Route 108/Central Ave. Take a left onto Central Ave. and follow to next set of lights at Washington Street. Take a sharp right onto Henry Law Avenue. Museum is on left next to Rotary Arts Amphitheatre in Henry Law Park. Where to ParkThere is pay-for-use parking in the lot just past the Amphitheatre & Public Pool on the left. There is also pay-for-use parking on Henry Law Ave. (in effect Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm only) and many other city streets. Parking is free on the weekends and holidays.
Fun Very Clean and Worth a VisitWe made a trip up to Dover to visit the Children's Museum, since we hadn't been since they moved from their location in Portsmouth. We were pleasantly surprised with the new space. Lot's of interactive exhibits and open space to explore and exceptionally clean. The first exhibit that really got my kids attention was the build & fly machine. We spent a good 20 minutes here. Basically, you create different foam shapes and crank them up 2 stories on these nifty lifts and then you watch how each shape floats down. Right around the corner they enjoyed making music on the colorful wood wall. This exhibit explores music, beat and sound waves. My personal favorite was the loom area. There are two real wooden looms that you can work real textiles on. Adding to the atmosphere are vintage phtographs of real mill workers and an eye catching divider full of colorful spools of thread. Finally, nestled in the back corner upstairs was the castle room, where everything is a puzzle. You can create stained glass windows with stick on shapes, design the floor with carpet pieces, or build the fireplace with velcro bricks. Overall, a very nice time. We used our Museum of Science membership card to gain access for free. Then after we hopped over the bridge to Kittery to do some great outlet shopping, and dinner at Tulsi.
Outing With ToddlerThe new New Hampshire Children's Museum was a fun place to explore. There was a lot of things to do but most of the activities were much to advanced for my toddler. There is a room on the second floor that is just for toddlers (which most children's museum's have: Providence and Boston) but this is much smaller. we enjoyed out time but were very much done in less then two hours. I thought the price was a little high for a toddler (full price above age 1) since there was not much to do at that age. There is a playground outside (in the back) which we enjoyed before the museum opened. I wouldn't make the special trip again but might be fun on a rainy day if we were in the area or with older (school aged) kids.
Cute placeIf you happen to be in the Portsmouth area, this is a fun stop to make with the kids. It's not huge, but there is plenty of room to explore. There are three floors. The first floor is primarily the Big Yellow Submarine - a two story climbing structure that's pretty neat. The next floor is really one giant room that is chock full of hands on exhibits with lots of pretending and role playing centers. My kids spent a lot of time on the lobster boat and really enjoyed playing at the post office. They each took a postal bag and filled it with mail, and had a ball delivering the mail to the various mailboxes. It would be nice if there was more sitting room for parents, but it's definitely roomier than the Children's Museum in Acton, so there are more places to stand here without feeling cramped. (The Acton museum is what I would compare it too in size and scope). Overall, a nice time. We used our Museum of Science membership card to gain access for free. Then after we hopped over the bridge to Kittery to do some great outlet shopping.
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My day at the Childrens Museum, Grade 3 StudentAs usual when I walked in the entrance, my friend, his brother and I always go on the rug maze. It's so much fun. We had so much fun trying all of the different museum activities. The new exhibit was all about music of the world, and it was neat to see all the different instruments and listen to the different kinds of music. I also love the room with the golf balls and sending them down tracks and creating my own tracks for them. It was a great day and we had so much fun I can't wait to do it again.
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