The Dover Adventure Playground just opened a few weeks ago and we hope you'll check it out! We have a few tips for families who plan on visiting.
Tip 1: For early risers, enjoy a visit to the playground before the Museum opens at 10am. It’s a great way to get outside before the heat of a summer day and will help you appreciate the cool air-conditioned Museum even more!
Tip 2: Make sure to bring towels, a change of clothes and sunscreen to the playground. Water and sand elements are sure to be a big hit for all ages (even you adults!) Museum members and visitors always have access to our bathrooms for changing during our normal business hours!
Tip 3: Bring your own refillable water bottles to the playground to stay hydrated. There’s not only a water fountain in the playground, but also a water bottle filler in the center of the park!
Tip 4: Plan to make a day of it! Your Museum admission is good all day, so you can visit the Museum, take a break for lunch and enjoy the playground, and come back inside the Museum to cool off and continue exploring our exhibits at the end of the day. The park is also home to the Cocheco Arts Festival. For a complete list of free concerts and events visit: https://cochechoartsfestival.org/
Tip 5: Speaking of lunch breaks, Henry Law Park and the Dover Adventure Playground house picnic tables and downtown Dover is home to many family-friendly restaurants. So pack a picnic lunch or ask to see our binder of restaurant menus at the Museum’s front desk. We even sell pre-packaged ice cream treats in the lobby!
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 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.
What an absolutely boring topic for a blog! Parking?! Directions!? Meh.
However, it seems to be a thing preventing many of you from coming to visit us! So let's address some of the misconceptions about parking at and navigating to the Children's Museum of NH.
Misconception #1: No free parking
All city parking is free on the weekends and after 7pm. As an amenity to our guests we sell the city of Dover's pre-packaged bags of 26 parking tokens for $5 at no mark-up. They are for sale at the front desk during normal business hours as available. That will give you about a 30% savings off the current rate. You can also purchase these tokens at Harvey's Bakery and the Dover Chamber of Commerce.
Misconception #2: Metered parking spots have a time limit
The metered spots along Henry Law Avenue, as well as the spots inside the Dover playground parking lot do not have a time limit. You can get a parking receipt for ANY length of time up to 7pm...at which point, parking is free! Metered spots cost $1/hour and accept change or credit cards.
Misconception #3: Not enough parking
We beg to differ! In addition to all the "pay and display" spots in the parking lot, on-street spots along Henry Law Ave, Central Ave, Washington Street and Main Street there are also metered spots in Dover's new 300+ space downtown parking garage at 45 Orchard Street, which is only a 5 minute walk to the museum! This new (opened in 2016) garage has a Pay by Space system and costs $0.75 an hour. You can actually download an app that will allow you to pay for more time remotely without having to return to the garage. Learn more about it here.
Misconception #4: Getting there is confusing!
Well, we'll admit to this one. Downtown Dover can be a bit confusing to navigate on your first trip. We've tried to make it easier with the handy map below. There are a couple of things to keep in mind. One, put in 10 Henry Law Ave into your GPS, not our mailing address, 6 Washington Street. This will put you on the right road to find the parking lot!
The second thing to keep in mind is that Washington Street, Main Street and Henry Law Ave are all one way. No matter which way you are coming from, North, South, East or West, if you get to downtown Dover and pass by the museum (in pink), you can just follow the yellow triangle around and try it again till you make it to the parking lot (orange).
Let's break it down by direction:
If you are coming up Central Ave (otherwise known as Rte. 9 or 108) and get to the Central Ave/Washington Street lights, take a hard right onto Henry Law Ave. (OR, avoid the light altogether and just past the bus stop across from City Hall, take a right onto Williams Street which will take you right onto Henry Law Ave. Your next left takes you into the parking lot behind the museum!)
If you are coming down Central Ave (otherwise known as Rte. 9 or 108), stay in the left hand lane but don't take a hard left. Take the soft left, across Washington Street onto Henry Law Ave.
If you are coming down Washington Street, stay in the right lane, but don't take a hard right onto Central Ave, take a soft right onto Henry Law Ave past the intersection.
If you are coming from Portland Ave, you have to take a right onto Main Street. Take your first left and swing around onto Central Ave (otherwise known as Rte. 9 or 108). Then stay in the left hand lane but don't take a hard left. Take the soft left, across Washington Street, onto Henry Law Ave.
Here's a closeup of the intersection that seems to give people the most trouble.
And of course if you get lost, just give us a call: 603-742-2002. We'll talk you through it!
A Public Art Collaboration
Have you been by the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire recently? There seems to be a group of characters climbing . . . sitting . . . jumping . . . flying? Are they climbing up . . . sideways . . . down? Are they friendly or not so nice? Where did they come from and what are they doing on the front of CMNH?
Ascent or Descent is a collaborative public art project designed by the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire with six Seacoast area artists and craftspeople. This project is designed to make you curious and wonder what it is, exactly, that's happening with these figures upon our facade and what the different stories may be behind each one. We purposefully kept our description of a 'humanoid sculpture' request very broad when potential contributors were contacted. We wanted to show a diverse group of 'people' created in a variety of styles using a multitude of materials.
David Masse is a local blacksmith living on the southeastern coast of Maine who used this opportunity to design and construct something different than he would typically.
Masse decided to create a superhero and shaped it by using forged steel. He then added a fabric cape that blows in the wind. What do you think this superhero's codename is? What are his powers and how did he get them? What if he (or she!) isn't a hero . . . but a villain?!
You can check out more of David Masse's work on his website.
Rick Burns, a sculptor working based in Berwick, ME, describes his work as "creating Industrial Symbolic Abstractions using metal, wood, clay and mixed media".
If you look closely at his sculpture, you can discover some hidden objects! Do you see the wrenches that make up the arms between the elbow and the wrist?
What about the gears inside the chest? Do the gears help this character move? Does he have to be wound up like a toy? And, of course, you can't possibly miss the incredibly cool medieval helmet with pieces of chain mail. This "humanoid sculpture" is ready for anything!
You can find more creative works of art from Rick Burns at his website.
Adam Pearson is a New Hampshire based sculptor and craftsman. His child-sized figure is jumping . . . or is he flying . . . off the roof of the Children's Museum! Is this the first time he's opened up his wings and flown? Is he looking for food . . . or is he playing a game? Is he headed towards the park . . . or higher into the trees?
This sculpture, the highest piece in the installation, was created by Pearson cutting, bending and welding the metal and steel of the green body and the large red tail and swooping wingspan.
More of Adam Pearson's work can be found on his website.
Chris Wright is a local artist and Director at the Port City Makerspace. For Ascent or Descent, Wright designed and created a piece that is fashioned almost entirely from aluminum. This includes the frame, bones, ribs, head, and extremities!
Wright fabricated every piece of the sculpture, including all the individual vertebrae in the articulated spine.
There was a time not too long ago that Nate Walker's Giant Blue Crab sculpture was one of the only pieces of public art in the city of Dover. Now, Wright's piece joins five other pieces of public art looking down at art in several places in Henry Law Park!
Like Chris Wright, Jeff Gunn is also a Director at the Port City Makerspace and a local craftsman. Gunn began with aluminum to create the general form of the body for this robot . . . or is it astronaut . . . or is it robot astronaut?
He then heated and bent PVC boards to create the white outer shell around the aluminum. To design and produce the hands and other smaller parts for this piece, Gunn used some newer technology: a 3D printer!
One of the coolest features of this piece is one that can't be seen from the ground - but its effect can! On the top of right shoulder, Gunn installed a solar panel. The panel is connected to the "eye" bulb of the robot figure. So after a long day of bright sunshine, a cyclopean beam of light emerges as dusk falls. Is he guarding the museum . . . or is he guarding the park? Is he taking a picture with his eye . . . or shooting lasers?
Kali Ann Rocheleau is an artist who enjoys exploring many different mediums, including charcoal, watercolor, sculpture, and cartooning. She lives in Portsmouth with her fiancée and loves to create art whenever she can.
Rocheleau chose to make sculpture with a more whimsical, pencil-sketch like quality. She created this sculpture using bent and twisted pieces wire. One of the coolest part's of this central piece of the installation is that depending on where you're viewing it from, it seems to change shape. From one angle it appears to be a woman, but from another - a man. From the outside you can see its hands and fingers in great detail, while the feet and toes are better viewed from inside. This piece also blends in with the building almost perfectly. Is it because the figure has the ability to turn invisible? Is she made up of water . . . or is it air?
More of Kali Ann Rocheleau's art can be found on her Facebook page.
The amazing . . . or is it magical . . . or is it scientific . . . or is it fantastical figures that make up Ascent or Descent will be visiting the museum and Henry Law Park from June to the end of October 2015. For those interested in previous public art projects by the Children's Museum of New Hampshire, check out our look at Bryan Rutland's abstract art piece that adorned our building through this last winter and spring or at the journey of how artist Nate Walker and the Dover Middle School Art Club designed, created and installed the Octopus Bike Rack in front of CMNH.
A Strange Communication Arrived This Morning . . .
When CMNH Staff arrived to work this morning things were definitely . . . different. The exterior facade of our building and our roof had received . . . visitors . . . in the night.
Who are they? Where do they come from? What do they want?
All that was left for us was this video . . .
Last year, I ran the Children’s Museum 5K Road Race with a 6 month old. It was definitely a different experience from the previous races I had run. My son, wearing a *slightly* smaller version of the Captain America shirt that Daddy runs in, mostly stayed quiet the whole race while I talked loudly and often to him throughout the race. It was the first time during a race that – when encountering a downhill portion of the course – I yelled, “Wheeeee!”
Like I said, a different experience.
This year, the experience changed again.
#1. That 6 month old suddenly (at least it felt sudden) had become an 18 month old, had a mouth full of teeth, is obsessed with his Thomas the Tank Engine sunglasses and waving and shouting to most people (and animals – especially animals) he sees on a leisurely walk around our neighborhood. A very busy Road Race & Fun Run? Would it be too overwhelming? Would he have a meltdown? Would I need to keep raisins in my shorts pocket? He loves raisins.
#2. As the museum’s Media Producer, I would be photographing and videotaping different portions of Race Day. And pushing my son in the stroller at the same time.
#3. If things turned upside-down (something that any parent of a toddler can attest happens roughly every 20-30 minutes), I would have to leave the course and head back to the museum for an extended raisin-filled time out.
Please enjoy the following look at our participating in the 30th Annual CMNH 5K Road Race and Fun Run.
Father & Son, pre-race, sporting the official hashtag of the CMNH Road Race!
Long time volunteers and former staff Ann, Gabe & Anne help man the registration tables for those picking up their race bibs and the many racers that wait to check the weather that morning and register the day of the race
It was still a little chilly about 15 minutes before race time.
One of the largest groups of runners at this year’s race!
Getting to the starting line on time can be difficult when there’s a . . . FIRETRUCK PIT STOP!
Face Painting is always a popular activity at our road races.
CMNH Volunteer and Miss Teen NH Caroline moments before she sings the National Anthem.
One more minute until the starting pistol starts the 30th Annual CMNH 5K Road Race!
On your mark . . .
Get set . . .
Making our way up Central Avenue!
Cutting across Chapel Street next to Kendall Pond Pizza II & Janetos!
“Horsies! Horsies!” the voice from the stroller cried out as we continued up Portland Ave. The Dover Mounted Patrol joined our volunteers at Rogers St in cheering on the races. (Which also convinced my son that there would be horses waiting for him at the end of every street we passed.)
CMNH Media Producer Zach and his son ran the 5K this morning. We checked in with them at Mile #1 to see how the father/son team was holding up. We'll give you a hint: Someone was missing the third member of their team! #CMNH #CMNH5K #CMNHrace #CMNHzf #SeacoastRoadRaceSeries #AtlanticAvenue #FamilyFun #FatherAndSon #Mile1 #SeacoastNH #DoverNH #NewHampshire
A video posted by Children's Museum of NH (@childrensmuseumofnh) on May 2, 2015 at 3:04pm PDT
Long time CMNH volunteer Frank prepares runners for the Fairway Meadows Cul-de-sac. What he DIDN’T prepare me for is that there would be cute puppy dogs that live on said cul-de-sac. Cute puppy dogs that my son INSISTED we stop the stroller for so we could point at them. Repeatedly. “Doggie, Doggie, Doggie!” was his repeated yelp. That is, until he came up to the top of the loop and quickly remembered that his grandfather was helping to man the water station!
After 1.5 miles mostly uphill, our Water Station volunteers were a very welcome sight for our course runners! #CMNH #CMNH5K #CMNHrace #CMNHvolunteers #WaterStation #SeacoastRoadRaceSeries #SeacoastNH #DoverNH #NewHampshire
A photo posted by Children's Museum of NH (@childrensmuseumofnh) on May 2, 2015 at 4:52pm PDT
It’s all (mostly) downhill after the Mile #2 marker! And this is about when the cries for, “Grampa!” finally gave way to “Balloon! Balloon! Balloon!”, which itself turned to excited garbles of “PONYHORSIEPONY!” as we approached the Mounted Patrol Stables on Cocheco Street.
CMNH volunteer & balloon wrangler Jess mans the hill leading from Cocheco Street to Portland Avenue.
Looking out over the Cocheco River as we round the bend towards Mile Marker #3!
Can it really be Mile #3?! Are we almost there?
These two long time CMNH members both participated on race day; 5K for Mom and Fun Run for Son!
Two local runners who run the CMNH 5K every year!
Long time Children’s Museum 5K mascot, Albert the Alligator getting ready for the Fun Run! (Has anyone else ever noticed that Doug is always missing when it’s time for the Fun Run? Hmmmmm . . .)
Stop the presses – BANANA BREAK!
CMNH Educator Sarah and Albert the Alligator lead the junior racers in some stretches before the race begins
And they’re off!
My wife and son running in the Toddler 50 yd. dash. He might just make this!
You’ve . . . um, gone . . . off course . . .
And . . . he’s decided he’s running an entirely different race now. To each his own!
CMNH volunteer extraordinaire Terri mans the CMNH/Hannaford Foodworks Yogurt Bar in Henry Law Park
You’d be bananas to miss out on the miles of food post-race at our Hospitality Tent! (See what I did there?)
Bookings Manager Caitlynne, Corporate Relations Manager Katie and CMNH Board Member Sarah were running behind the scenes all morning to make sure everything ran smoothly!
Well, that’s another CMNH Road Race & Fun Run in the books! We’re already preparing for Race #31! Did you run the race? We hope you had as much fun as we did!
Throughout 2014, the Dover Middle School Art Club collaborated with CMNH Artist-in-Residence Nathan Walker to create two Bike Racks for Henry Law Park in downtown Dover, NH. Made possible by the generous sponsorship of Kennebunk Savings, the bike rack design & completion process has been one of the most fulfilling and exciting projects that Children’s Museum has been involved in since moving to Dover in 2008.
At the beginning of the year, the Art Club – led by Dover Middle School Art teachers Marie Robicheau & Jo-Ann Gardella, met with Walker in his workshop in the lower level of CMNH. Before starting down the path of artistic collaboration, Walker wanted to show the students how he approached design. The students were able to see a large spectrum of Walker’s work in various stages of completion. Many of the sculptures viewed that day had one of Walker’s hallmarks: repurposed materials. From the Volkswagen Beetle hood that forms the back of the Giant Blue Crab in the front of CMNH to the various spiders, jellyfish and insects comprised of gears, hubcaps and Christmas Tree stands, the Art Club saw that their imagination was truly the limit in creating a bicycle rack for families visiting Henry Law Park. Walker also reinforced that the design process, where the eraser can sometimes be used just as much as the pencil, was equally as important as the building process.
The Art Club continued to meet under the guidance of Robicheau & Gardella while the students formed groups that would meet to discuss their ideas and draw up plans for their respective group’s vision for a bike rack. In addition to their design on paper, the groups were also tasked by Walker to create 3-D prototypes and models to better show how their bike rack design would work.
In April, Children’s Museum 0f New Hampshire President Jane Bard, Brendan Markey of Kennebunk Savings, and Walker met with Robicheau, Gardella and the assembled Dover Middle School Art Club as they prepared to pitch their completed ideas to the group.
Though the initial plan was to select one of the team’s ideas to make a single bike rack, Walker liked all of the ideas so much, that the choice was made that two racks would be created with each incorporating pieces of each group’s design ideas.
Three of the teams ideas would be incorporated into becoming the Steampunk Octopus Bike Rack, while two other teams would see their designs overlap to become the State of New Hampshire Bike Rack. After the Art Club members decided on which NH landmarks to include on the state themed rack, CMNH volunteer Barbara Albert got to work painting the finer details. Meanwhile, Nate began work on the foraging, welding, and color experimentation for the large steampunk cephalopod.
In October, the Art Club returned to the Museum with their original prototypes to see the final product of their combined visions. Dover Mayor Karen Weston joined Bard, Walker, the Art Club and their family and friends for the grand unveiling of the first bike rack, Steampunk Octopus, in upper Henry Law Park near the entrance of the museum.
The culmination of almost a year of work and cooperation between Kennebunk Savings Bank, the Dover Middle School Art Club, the Children's Museum of New Hampshire & Artist-In-Residence Nate Walker, the new Steampunk Octopus Bike Rack was unveiled this afternoon in Henry Law Park in front of CMNH! Pictured here with Nate and the Art Club members are CMNH President Jane Bard & Mayor of Dover Karen Weston. #CMNH #BikeRackProject #KennebunkSavingsBank #DoverMiddleSchool #DoverMiddleSchoolArtClub #ArtClub #NateWalker #Steampunk #Octopus #SteampunkOctopus #SeacoastNH #DoverNH #NewHampshire
A video posted by Children's Museum of NH (@childrensmuseumofnh) on Oct 2, 2014 at 2:15pm PDT
January in New Hampshire isn’t the best weather for families to ride their bikes, but we look forward to a few months from now when families visiting Henry Law Park will have two highly creative options for storing their bicycle while they visit the park, museum, stage, pool, river walk, picnic areas and playground.
We thank the incredibly imaginative and skilled members of the Dover Middle School Art Club, their teachers and mentors Marie Robicheau & Jo-Ann Gardella, the generous support of Kennebunk Savings – without which, this project would not have been possible – and, of course, Nate Walker, who took the inventive visions of the Club and made them a reality.B-r-r-r-r-r-r! See you all – and your bikes – in a few more months!