I’ve recently heard that the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover was a great place to take young children. After viewing their website, I was sold and decided to take my two boys to see for myself what it is they have to offer families.
Upon entrance, you see the staff counter just before you. This is where you pay. Cost is as follows:
$8 – adults & children over 1 year of age
$7 – seniors age 65+
No charge for museum members and children under age 1
Different membership` packages are available but as an example, the basic family membership is $70 for two people with an additional $10 charge each for other family members.
Don’t forget to check your local library as they may have passes that you can borrow for the day. With my library pass, each person was only $2.
The museum does not allow strollers around the exhibits for safety purposes and also, I imagine, because of limited space. If you’d like to take a stroller inside the doors then you are able to do so, but you must leave them in the coat room. If you don’t have a backpack carrier, you can borrow one of theirs, and they also have one baby sling for use as well.
The Children’s Museum has so much to offer young children! We explored each of their 16+ exhibits and these were my children’s favorites:
Primary Place: An area designated for babies to three-year-old’s, this room was wonderful. There is an absolutely huge train table for the children to use (my three-year-old spent a good majority of his time in this room right at this train table), a tunnel with a couple large holes where the children are able to stick a sort of pipe toy through (my 17-month-old adored this concept), and a small hut with steering wheels. In the Primary Place you’ll also find a small area where babies can enjoy looking at themselves in a mirror, playing with butterflies, and climbing over a small mat. There is also a small nook for nursing mothers which I thought was a nice addition. There’s a wall that separates the nursing nook from the rest of the room, which is great for privacy, but makes it difficult to watch for any older siblings that might want to play.
Dino Detective: Both of my boys loved this exhibit. There is an area where you can dig for dinosaur bones! Basically, just a small area of sand with imitation bones adhered to the floor where the children can dig with small tools. Once done digging, they can use one of the brushes to dust off their find. There was a section where you could do some rubbings with waxed paper and a crayon, a telephone where dinosaur sounds protruded, and a wall that explained the various sizes of a femur bone, easy enough for my three-year-old to understand when I showed him the chart upon the wall and the replicas of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Triceratops femur bone.
Pattern Place: Another hit with both the boys was the Pattern Place. Your child can sit in a royal chair and pretend to be a king or queen while they use the magnets on the back of this chair to make a pattern of their choosing. They can go to the windows of the “palace” and place triangles in any designated triangle spot they’d like (again, they can make a pattern if they wish to do so), and they can walk over to the fireplace where there are “stones” that velcro to the wall.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire does not sell lunch, but they do have a very small cafe with approximately four tables where families can sit and eat a lunch that they have brought with them. They also have a vending machine that sells some drinks, juices, and snacks. Propped on each table were cans of sanitizing wipes for our use, which I loved. If you’d prefer, there’s information on restaurants around the immediate area compiled into a binder on the staff desk that you can browse through.
The hand sanitizer machines mounted to the walls all throughout the museum were a great addition. I was very pleased with the cleanliness of this facility as well. Each exhibit was well maintained.
There are bathrooms both on the main floor and the floor above. There are restrooms for men, women, and family restrooms with a regular sized toilet as well as a toilet perfect for young children. There are changing tables in the family restrooms and I was pleased with the cleanliness here as well.
We attended the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire on a Wednesday. This was ideal as there were fewer people here at this time than I hear there are during the weekends or special events (i.e. a day with Curious George). Each of my boys were able to explore to their hearts content without crowds, although there was some turn taking and patience needed at times.
I would not hesitate to recommend the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire to families nearby. It’s a great place if you want to just spend an hour, but you can definitely spend a good amount of your day here as well if you choose to do so. Hands on learning fun!
For more information, please visit the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s website at:
Phone: (603) 742-2002
Address: 6 Washington Street, Dover, NH 03824