Squam Lakes Natural Science Center prepares to open May 1April 25. 2018 3:37AM
HOLDERNESS — Squam Lakes Natural Science Center staff and volunteers are busy preparing for the opening of the 52nd trail season on May 1.
“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,” states a news release from the science center.
“It is the only institution in northern New England accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For the 2018 season, the Science Center has fresh activities, a new focus on Squam Lake Cruises, and more visitor amenities.”
The center celebrates the start of the trail season with New Hampshire Day on Saturday, May 5.
New Hampshire residents pay $5 for trail admission to the animal exhibit trail. Regular admission rates are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors (65-plus), $15 for youth (ages 3 to 15); children 2 and under are free.
In 2017, the Science Center constructed a new Lake Cruise Headquarters, located across the street from the main Science Center parking lots and directly on the Squam Channel. This new location officially opens for the 2018 cruise season.
“It provides easier access to boats, a covered pavilion for guests to gather before boarding, private restrooms, interpretation about the lake and solar energy, and a dedicated departure and arrival location,” the news release says.
In addition to Lake Cruise Headquarters, passengers may notice changes to cruises and cruise schedules.
Cruises have an enhanced focus on wildlife and ecology specific to Squam Lake and the surrounding area.
“And cruises are scheduled to better accommodate passengers throughout the entire cruise season from mid-May through mid-October,” the news release states.
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center surveys its visitors regularly to learn ways to improve or change what it is doing. Since the opening of the Gordon Interactive Playscape in 2015, visitors have requested additional restroom facilities closer to the halfway point around the live animal exhibit trail.
This season the Science Center will open a new restroom facility between the River Otter Exhibit and the Playscape. According to the news release, the composting toilet system conserves water resources while providing visitors with a bathroom facility close by one of the most popular features at the Science Center.
Another visitor request has been a map to show the hiking trails at the Science Center.
A new printable or downloadable hiking trail map shows a topographic map and gives trail distance and information for the Ecotone Trail, Forest Trail and Mt. Fayal Trail.
The map can be found at https://www.nhnature.org/visit/animal_info_sheets.
Also this season, the cafe that serves visitors will be relocated closer to the Science Center’s main entrance and picnic areas.
The Owl’s Roost Café, as it will now be called, will be open from the last week of June through mid-August serving gourmet snacks, sandwiches, ice cream and beverages. It will be located inside the Trailhead Gallery.
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center will be open daily May 1 through Nov. 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last trail admission is at 3:30 p.m.).
Visit www.nhnature.org for more information as well as cruise ticket purchases.