A new family attraction several years in the making is opening in downtown just in time for summer fun. The Dover Adventure Playground at Henry Law Park will open to the public on Saturday, June 24 at 9:30 a.m.
The playground will feature a life-size flat-bottomed vintage gundalow; a net climber; swings and slides; a three-story Garrison Hill tower; a 1,200-pound, 3-foot by 8-foot climbable Alewife granite fish sculpture; a splash pad and water pumps; sand play area; musical instruments and more.
“The Children’s Museum of NH has been thrilled to partner with the city of Dover, its citizens and businesses to create the new Dover Adventure Playground,” said Jane Bard, Museum President. “It is sure to become a destination for seacoast families and visitors looking for outdoor play and exploration in a setting that is uniquely Dover.”
Dover Recreation Director Gary Bannon agrees. “The new playground is the result of years of planning and enthusiastic collaboration,” said Bannon. “This playground promises to be a significant attraction to downtown.”
After the playground opens, visitors to Dover will have one more reason to spend the whole day in the city, visiting the Children’s Museum, playing in the playground, having a picnic, shopping with downtown merchants or eating at a local restaurant.
“This playground is really unique to Dover and I don’t think there will be anything quite like it in New Hampshire,” shared Neva Cole, CMNH Communications Director. “The history of the area is highlighted throughout the design.” The gundalow, a 32-year-old replica of the Capt. Edward H. Adams, is one of only two gundalows in the region.
Thoughtful touches abound in the new playground. The three-story tower was picked specifically to mimic the Garrison Hill fire tower in Dover. The climbable fish sculpture by Thomas Berger from Kittery is a nod to the alewife who spawn in the Cocheco River, bordering the playground. One of the swings is made for an older child and an infant to swing together, a highlight for parents with multiple children. The net climbing structure has a slack line and percussion instruments are installed nearby. Tree stumps provide balancing practice for children or additional seating. The splash pad will be open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. this spring and summer. Nearby is another play area featuring hand pumps and wooden sluices.
Two features in the works will debut after the June 24th opening. The Museum’s community teaching garden currently located on the riverfront adjacent to the Museum will relocate to the park for the next growing season. Also planned for the roof of the Dover pool bordering the playground, is an 18-foot metal “Whale’s Tail” sculpture created by artist Dale Rogers. The whale will appear to be diving into the pool building.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is holding a naming contest for the alewife fish sculpture, who is a female, throughout the month of July. The public can vote on the fish’s new moniker either by casting a ballot inside the museum, or on the museum’s facebook page. The public will then vote to narrow down the names to the 10 most popular. A judging panel will then choose the winner.
“Even though it’s a playground, it’s really designed to be enjoyed by people of all ages,” said Jane Bard. “I think I’m most excited that we’re bringing this right to the center of Dover and I really think it’s going to be a shining example of what Dover has been, and will be. It will be a safe, engaging, and joyful gathering spot for people of all ages.”
To learn more about the Dover Adventure Park, visit the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s website: www.childrens-museum.org/visit/dover-adventure-playground or contact Dover Recreation at 603-516-6401.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire participated in the 2nd annual NH Gives program, an initiative of the NH Center of Nonprofits, and within 24-hours raised a total of $1890, exceeding their goal for the day.
NH Gives is designed to bring the state together as one community, raising as much money and awareness as possible for New Hampshire’s nonprofits within a 24-hour flood of donations. The museum’s goal for the day was to raise $1,000.
“With the support of 25 generous donors, we managed to smash that goal!” said Paula Rais, CMNH’s Vice President of Development and Community Engagement.
The day started at 6pm on June 6th with many non-profits vying for cash prizes handed out by NH Gives for honors such as “Most Raised 6pm to 9pm” or “Most Donors.” “We’re really proud of how we did in comparison to other non-profits,” shared Neva Cole, CMNH’s Communications Director. The museum came in 23rd in terms of number of donors, tying with Wentworth-Douglass Hospital and Polaris Charter School. “The Center for Non-profits makes the day very easy to promote, and they even manage to keep this amazing community of non-profits competing in a friendly way!”
What does this money go to support? “We want everyone to be able to learn and grow with us,” said Cole. “We’ve had generations of children visit our exhibits, and many have returned with their own children. The donations we receive through NH Gives go to support the families who might struggle to pay our admission fees. Over 30% of our families are only able to visit because of our ‘Museum Access for All’ programs.” A few examples of that program include subsidized bus visits for Title 1 Schools, families paying only $1 per person when they present an EBT Card, and even free programs for families with children on the autism spectrum.
“This museum is not just a space for kids to come on a rainy day,” said Jane Bard, President of the museum. “It’s a community of educators, parents, children, artists, sponsors and donors who believe in the power of play. We are so thrilled and thankful to have this community support to further our mission of inspiring all to be the next generation of innovators and creative thinkers.”
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is offering a wide range of summer camps. One of the newer camps, Eco-Explorers, will be taught by the museum’s newest educator, Colie Haahr.
Eco-Explorers is a 5-day camp scheduled for Monday, August 14 through Friday, August 18, 9:15am-1pm, for children ages 7-11. The camp will give kids an opportunity to learn about the wonders of the natural world. “Kids will be introduced to animal communication and adaptations, as well as local plants, animals, and ecosystems through nature exploration, games, and art projects,” shared Haahr, CMNH’s STEAM & School-Aged Programs Coordinator.
Colie has joined the museum recently and is excited to spend her first summer at CMNH. She joins the education team after teaching for Nature’s Classroom, an outdoor education company with different sites all over New England, and traveling the world while leading YMCA leadership trips. She has her BA in English and Secondary Education from Alfred University and recently completed her Masters degree in Recreation Management and Policy at UNH. Through her teaching experiences she has gained a genuine love and respect for the environment.
“Some of my favorite topics will be incorporated into this Eco-Explorers Camp, and I’m really excited to share my knowledge and experience with the kids,” shared Colie.
Eco-Explorers is just one of 8 camps being offered at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire this summer. Topics and more information can be found on the museum’s website at www.childrens-museum.org/things-to-do/camps-classes. To register for Eco-Explorers or any other camp, please call 603-742-2002. Registration for camps closes one week before they begin.
T-Rex Takes over CMNH
A visit to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover just got a bit more Cretaceous! A life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex skull cast, along with a life-size footprint cast, have been loaned to the museum for the summer and now live in the popular Dino Detective Exhibit.
Generously loaned to the museum by Shawn Warren of The PAST, and made possible by the love and support of June Marie Warren and William Donald Warren of Neillsville, Wisconsin, the T. Rex specimens (known as AMNH 5027) join an augmented reality sand table, Triceratop fossil casts and an area to dig for fossils and make ammonite fossil rubbings.
“We’re very excited to have these replicas on loan to the museum,” said Eric Erwin, CMNH Exhibits Manager. “They make a great compliment to the hands-on pieces that make up our Dino Detective exhibit, and I have a feeling the kids will love posing with this giant skull and footprint!”
Specimen AMNH 5027, the fossil of an adult Tyrannosaurus Rex, was discovered over 100 years ago in the Hell Creek Formation of Montana in 1907 by Barnum Brown. The T. Rex, while living would have measured 20 feet in height, 50 feet in length and weighed 7 tons. The original skull fossil was on display at the American Natural History Museum in 1915, where it fueled a generation of imaginings about this towering and impressive carnivore. There have since been many additional discoveries of T. Rex specimens, and the AMNH mount is no longer the only or most complete T. Rex around. But, it was the first.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is now open seven days a week for summer hours. Guests can visit anytime Mondays through Saturdays, 10am-5pm and Sundays, noon-5pm. Fun in all the exhibits is included with museum admission which is $10 per person for everyone over the ages of 12 months. Seniors 65+ pay only $9.
The Children's Museum of New Hampshire will hold its annual 5K Road Race/Walk & Kid-venture Course on Saturday, May 6, 2017 and is looking for participants. The Children’s Museum’s 5k is the first race in the Seacoast Road Race Series. Proceeds from all races in the series benefit non-profits like the museum.
“Our race is different from a lot of races in the area,” said Neva Cole, CMNH Communications Director. “It is a certified course and is for runners as well as walkers, but on race day it’s like a giant party in Henry Law Park in downtown Dover. We have amazing food including a Tasty Toppings Yogurt Bar, sponsored by Hannaford Supermarkets and featuring Stonyfield yogurt, music by our MC and local radio personality Mike Pomp, and a newly designed Kid-venture Course for kids who might be a little too young to run in the 5k just yet!”
The 5K for adults begins at 9am at the intersection of Central Avenue, Washington Street and Henry Law Avenue. The course runs up Central Avenue to Chapel Street, up Portland Avenue and back down to Henry Law Park. Post-race activities, including an awards ceremony and refreshments, will take place in Henry Law Park following the race. The 5K registration fee is $22 in advance and $25 on the day of the race. Walk-up registration for the 5k will be available at The Children’s Museum on race day starting at 7:30am up until 15 minutes prior to the start of the 5k.
Children ages 12 and younger can participate in the Kid-venture Course, which takes place at 10am in Henry Law Park. “The KidVenture Course will feature a series of zany, exhibit-themed challenge,” shared Jane Bard, CMNH President. “From crab walking under the ‘sea’ and crawling through caterpillar tunnels, to transporting dino eggs to their nest and crossing the (pretend) Cocheco River, there is something fun for everyone! We’ve partnered with The Works Family Health and Fitness Center to create this course and I think it will have children moving, grooving and stretching their creative muscles!”
All Kid-venture Course participants will receive a ribbon and t-shirt while supplies last. The entry fee for the Kid-venture Course is $8 in advance and $10 on race day.
Also new this year, the museum invites participants to raise donations through CrowdRise. “You can sign up to fundraise as an individual or a as a team through CrowdRise and the fundraising team who raises the most money by May 5 will get to enjoy an exclusive VIP hospitality tent on race day, stocked with food, beverages and attendants!” shared Cole. Visit www.crowdrise.com/ChildrensMuseumofNewHampshire5K to sign up to fundraise. Fundraising teams can raise money together, but cannot sign up to race in the 5k or Kid-venture Course as a team.
To learn more or to register, visit www.childrens-museum.org/things-to-do/events/5k-road-race-fun-run. The museum thanks it’s 2017 Road Race sponsors including Sprague, The Works Family Health & Fitness Center, Formax, Relyco, Weathervane, Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin, PA, Willem Verweij Physical Therapy, Bob’s Discount Furniture and Hannaford Supermarkets.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
How do you do?
Did you know that today,
is special for you?
It’s Dr. Seuss’s birthday!
So give him a cheer,
Because the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
is inviting you to the party this year!
There’ll be crafts and activities
in the MUSE Studio
We’ll read your favorite books
like Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
A scavenger hunt
will put your wit to the test.
So put on your striped hat
for this amazing quest!
All these fun things
are included with the regular admission fee.
What a fun day of laughs
just come for yourself and see!
by Kelly Sorge,
CMNH Intern and Enthusiastic Student of Dr. Seuss
Halloween is celebrated at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire with science experiments with the resident “Wacky Scientist,” Fairy Bubbles, fairy wand-making, scavenger hunts, a costume contest, pumpkin clay and bat hat creations. During the Not-So-Spooky Spectacular on Saturday, October 29, parents and children will be offered lots of spook-free activities, crafts and fun, all free with museum admission.
This annual family-oriented event mixes costumes with hands-on learning, trades in candy for crafts, and offers little ghosts and goblins a chance to discover something new with interactive science experiments. “And as a bonus,” adds Jane Bard, CMNH President, “No one will jump out and scare you!”
This year’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular is set for Saturday, October 29 from 10am–5pm inside the museum at 6 Washington Street in Dover.
The day’s activities for kids and families include:
- Touring our exhibits in your costumes
- Experiencing amazing science experiments with the museum's own Wacky Scientist at 11:30 am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm and 2:30pm
- Visiting ‘FairyLand’ where the fairies will guide you in making your own fairy wands
- Trying your hand at a Fairy bubble experiment
- Enjoying a trick-or-treat scavenger hunt around the museum and collecting stamps to receive an extra special prize
- Competing in a costume contest at 3:15pm with your fellow ghouls
- Creating crafts with pumpkin clay and crafting funky bat hats
All Not-So-Spooky Spectacular festivities are included in regular paid admission ($10 for adults and children, no charge for children under 12 months old) and free for Children's Museum of NH Members.
Families with children on the autism spectrum are invited to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire for a free visit on the first Sunday of every month. Exploring Our Way provides opportunities for guests to enjoy family time at the museum in a safe, understanding environment, allows parents to network with one another and helps families discover new resources.
“Sunday mornings are very quiet,” said Paula Rais, CMNH Vice President of Development and Community Engagement. “The museum doesn’t open to the public until noon, so we invite these families in to experience the museum for a stress-free morning from 10am-noon. Siblings are always welcome, and the families can stay after we open the museum to the public if they feel comfortable. We hope their visit during Exploring Our Way will give them the confidence to come back and explore during regular hours.”
Often, a children’s museum can be a loud and overwhelming place, especially for children with sensory issues. “The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s mission is to actively engage families in hands-on discovery,” said CMNH President Jane Bard. “And that means, ALL families. We take that very seriously here and do everything we can to accommodate families facing these unique challenges.”
Exploring Our Way Autism Partnership Program takes place next on Sunday, October 2, 10am-noon and is sponsored by H.O.P.E. Behavioral Consulting. This program is free.