Museums are cool. Even if they don’t have dinosaurs crashing around the exhibits and little soldiers shooting at you. When my aunt who lives in New Hampshire said she’d take us to two different museums, I told my friend Scott it would probably be boring because it sounded like we’d be walking around inside all day. Boy was I wrong!
First we drove to Portsmouth
and she took what she said was a back road by the ocean. We went past a place where there was a giant yacht parked at the dock and then we went through little narrow streets through a town called “New Castle.” At the edge of town there’s a fort that’s three hundred years old. It is also a Coast Guard station and you can see a lighthouse in the middle of the water. It’s where the ocean turns into the river (it’s called the Piscataqua) and my aunt said it’s the second fastest river in the world because of the tides. We didn’t have a lot of time at Fort Constitution
, but we’re going to go back another time and my aunt said she’d take us to a place where there’s a beach and a fort in the woods we can explore.
The reason we were in the Seacoast area was to visit the Children’s Museum
in Dover. It’s in an old brick building on the edge of another river (the Cocheco) and one of the coolest exhibits is all about the river and the critters and factories that build stuff on its banks. It’s called “Cochecosystem” and my favorite part is looking right out over the real river while you’re inside a pretend beaver dam.
There's an old ‘yellow submarine’ with computer screens that make it look like you’re in a real submarine. And the One World exhibit lets you dress up in costumes and watch yourself in a parade from that place on TV. But my favorite exhibit is right in the middle of the building. You put together foam wings and turn a wheel that carries it up to the ceiling and drops it off into space, so it floats down to the floor. I think it’s called “Build It, Fly It” and you never know where those shapes are going to fly! Some even come down on the ramp that goes to the second floor where they have toys for little kids.
There’s also this neat display with lots of soft-tipped nails that you press against and you get the exact shape of your hand or your face or your foot. When I told Scott I pressed my face into a bed of nails he didn’t believe me, but my aunt took a picture of me to prove it. Now he wants to go, too!
After the Children’s Museum we went to a place for lunch on the other side of the river where you can see a waterfall and some huge, old brick buildings. My aunt said the waterfall used to turn wheels that made power for the machines in the factories. The museum sort of explains how that happens, but all I know is the waterfall was really loud and the splashes were high enough to make the sidewalk wet!
The next day we drove to Concord
, which is the capital of New Hampshire. My aunt says it’s the oldest statehouse in continuous use in the country and I guess everybody’s interested in politics up here and that’s why the Presidential candidates come to New Hampshire first.
Our second museum was the Museum of New Hampshire History
. They have a lot of exhibits about Native Americans and the people who lived in New Hampshire before all the settlers came. They even have a canoe that is 500 years old and a hut made out of sticks like the ones the real tribes lived in. In the same room there’s an old stagecoach from before there were cars. Boy those things were big! I never knew they used stagecoaches in New England but they say in the museum that the “Concord Coach” was the limo of its time and that kings and queens imported them from here to ride around in.
Who knew museums could be so fun? The Museum of History has a whole room where kids can play in an old-fashioned store. It’s OK to touch everything there and they have neat old boxes and cans that stuff came in, in the old days when people didn’t have microwaves and freezers.
I had a great time and got to do things I never did before. My aunt says there are lots of other places like this to go in New Hampshire. She says there’s a huge LEGO model
at a place called the SEE Museum
in Manchester and a planetarium
named for astronaut Christa McAuliffe right here in Concord. I hope we come back soon.