Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Montshire Museum of Science (Family Fun in New England)

For quite a while now I've been excited about running a new series and I've decided that kicking it off in January is the perfect time! Although we'd love to be able to travel farther abroad, at this point almost all of our family travel takes place in New England. We look for easy day trips or car trips where we may stay for just a night or two.

We have family and friends across New England, and as we travel to see them we always are on the lookout for family friendly activities across the New England States. Sometimes we've visited big attractions, other times we've found our way to smaller, less frequented locations. But now, we're excited to share these great places with you and your family as you look for things to do in New England!

For our first post, we're happy to share about a location that's local for us, and definitely a family favorite: The Montshire Museum on Science in Norwich, Vermont!

The Montshire Museum has been operating for 40 years. A hands-on museum with over 140 exhibits, it has something that will interest all ages. Even as often as we go there, I feel like I learn something every time!

Exhibits range from the science of bubbles to fog to energy & motion to aquariums that display many different types of local aquatic life. On it's second floor the museum has a unique collection of preserved eggs and nests, a large colony of leaf cutter ants, a contained bee hive, and even a stuffed moose. Visitors can also expect several opportunities during the day to make something at the science lab. Recently my boys were thrilled with the "straw rockets" they had made.

In addition to their regular exhibits the Montshire also creates and borrows special exhibits. Two recent favorites for us included an exhibit on the science of music and a visiting exhibit that allowed us to explore the world of dinosaurs and paleontology. Kiddos ages 5 and under can expect to find a special area just for their age level, which is slightly removed from the rest of the museum. Of course, they still love exploring all the other exhibits too!

The Museum is located on 110 acres alongside the Connecticut River and has several hiking trails extending from the museum center. Several are easy and flat enough that a stroller or wheel chair could be used on them. During the summer months the Museum also has an outdoor water park where children are encouraged to get wet while they explore the fun on water based science. (Please note, this is not a place where children can actually swim, just get wet. But they love it!)

The Montshire has several amenities that make it accessible to everyone. Check out the list below of what to expect.

The Basic Details: 
• Best age level:
All age levels, something for everyone

• Price Range:
Moderate (see their web page for their current rates)

• Parking:
On Site, free, and easy to access

• Meals/Food:
Winter/Fall/Spring: A small vending machine; tables inside of the Museum which are accessible during the lunch time hours for eating.
Summer: A food vendor near the water park under the picnic pavilion, plenty of outside picnic tables both at the pavilion and elsewhere.

• Diaper Changing Stations: Yes, contained within the bathrooms.

• Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible: Yes, an elevator within the building to get to the second floor. Sloped paths outside (however they are gravel.)

• Gift shop on site: Yes

• What we recommend you bring:
Pack a lunch and enjoy several hours at the museum.
In the summer months kids will want to bring a change of clothes/bathing suit and a towel. (Children still in diapers will need a swim diaper.)
Don't forget your camera, some great opportunities for some very cool pictures!

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