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Membership FAQs

Membership at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is a great value! From May 1 through November 1, you may come all day, every day, during regular operating hours.


Click on the question below to see the answer.

How many guests does my membership allow?

Except for the One-Person membership, members may bring guests for free, depending on the membership level purchased. All members may purchase extra guest admission tickets at a discounted price at each visit. Programs and cruises may also be purchased for guests at member rates when you accompany your guest.

How do I decide which membership level is best for me?

Except for the One-Person membership, members may bring guests for free, depending on the membership level purchased. All members may purchase extra guest admission tickets at a discounted price at each visit. Programs and cruises may also be purchased for guests at member rates when you accompany your guest. Consider purchasing a gift membership for your friends or family members.

May I use my Donor Advised Fund to pay for a membership?

Memberships paid through a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) are not eligible to receive extra benefits with a substantial fair market value. Payments from DAFs may only be used to pay for memberships with insubstantial or no fair market value ($125 or less). Payments from DAFs for memberships with substantial benefits having a fair market value ($150 or more) must waive extra benefits. See the next question, “Is my membership fee tax deductible?” for more information.

Is my membership fee tax deductible?

Membership fees are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Your payment, less the fair market value (FMV) of goods and services received, is deductible for income tax purposes.

The IRS allows members of qualified 501(c) 3 organizations to accept certain insubstantial membership benefits. Since the estimated value of benefits for some membership levels is insubstantial, the full amount of membership fees is deductible for those levels.

For annual membership payments over $75, you may deduct as a charitable contribution only the excess of the membership payment over the estimated fair market of the benefits included in the membership.

For upper level memberships, which receive Trail Passes (valued at $10 each) and/or Lake Cruise Passes (valued at $21 each), the tax deductible amount of your membership payment is reduced. Gift memberships offered as benefits for some levels do not affect the fair market value of your membership or reduce the deduction.

The tax deductible amount will be provided on your membership acknowledgment letter. You may also see more information in the chart below.

Member Level Fee Deductible Amount FMV of Benefits
One-Person $50 $50 $0
Two-Person $60 $60 $0
Four-Person $90 $90 $0
Six-Person $120 $120 $0
Eight-Person $150 $150 $0
Wetlands $180 $138 $42
Field $250 $158 $92
Forest $500 $358 $142
Mt. Fayal $1,000 $858 $142

Should you wish to have your membership be fully tax deductible, you may waive your substantial benefits and you will not receive Trail or Cruise Passes or gift memberships, but will continue to receive free admission and discounts.

Memberships paid through a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) are not eligible to receive extra benefits with a substantial fair market value. Payments from DAFs may only be used to pay for memberships with insubstantial or no fair market value ($125 or less). Payments from DAFs for memberships with substantial benefits having a fair market value ($150 or more) must waive extra benefits.

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. Our tax ID number is 02-0271824. Prices and fair market values are subject to change. Please consult a tax advisor with questions.

How old must I be to have a membership in my name?

You must be at least age 18 to have a membership in your name, but ages 16 or 17 maybe be named on a membership card if another member is at least 18. We do not list youth ages 15 and under on membership cards.

May I give my membership card to a friend or family member to use for a visit?

No. Memberships are not transferrable. At least one member named on the card must be present during each visit. The Science Center is a non-profit organization dependent on income from admission fees and memberships. Membership policies are designed to protect the integrity of the membership program and its benefits for participating members.

May I use my membership to bring a group such as a Girl Scout troop or my child's school field trip?

No. Memberships are not are not valid for any type of group or school admissions or transferable to other people not listed on your membership card.

How old must I be to have a membership in my name?

You must be at least 18 years old. Those ages 16 or 17 may be named on a membership card if the primary member is at least 18. Youth ages 15 and under will not be listed on membership cards.

May I send my children with their Nanny?

As a courtesy, a childcare provider - Nanny - may accompany a named member’s children, up to the number of guest spaces on your membership. There is no fee, but you must contact Kim Beardwood Smith at 603-968-7194 x 131 in the Membership Office and give her the Nanny's name before using this privilege.
    These rules apply:
  • Members must hold a current Four-Person or higher membership.
  • The Nanny must present the family’s membership card and photo ID at each visit.
  • There is a limit of one Nanny name per membership, valid for the duration of your membership. You need to renew this privilege each year.
  • The Nanny must be at least 18 years old.
  • Additional adults or children not covered under the membership must purchase tickets at regular rates.
  • The Nanny does not receive the full benefits of membership and is not entitled to member discounts on programs.
  • The Nanny name may only be added or changed once a year.
  • The Nanny may not enter alone. They must have at least one child with them. In other words, this may not be used in place of a One-Person membership.
  • Children under the age of 16 are not allowed to visit without an adult.
  • The Nanny name will not appear on membership cards, but will be kept on a list at Admissions.
  • The Nanny Privilege is not valid for any reciprocal admissions discounts.

May I send my children with their grandparents?

Membership cards are not transferable. Grandparents must buy a membership in their own names or attend with an adult named on the membership card.

If I forget to bring my membership card, can I still visit for free?

We strongly encourage you to bring your card with you every time you visit, but if you forget, Admissions will verify your status (you may be asked to show a photo ID). You will be issued tickets valid for free admission for those in your party eligible under your membership level. You will also be able to use your 10% discount in the Howling Coyote Gift Shop.

How do I replace a lost membership card?

Please contact the Membership Office at 603-968-7194 x 131.

How do I submit an address change?

You may change your address for your membership in person at Admissions or by contacting the Membership Office at 603-968-7194 x 131. Please list your old address if you've recently moved.

When and where may I purchase extra guest trail admission tickets?

You may purchase extra guest trail admission tickets for a discounted price each time you visit, for members of your party not covered through your membership. Guest of member tickets must be purchased online when you reserve your tickets.

Do I get discounted admission to Science Center programs and events as a member?

Yes. Members receive discounted rates for most programs, courses, cruises, and some special events and activities throughout the year. Programs and cruises may also be purchased for guests at member rates when you accompany your guest.

Is my membership accepted at other organizations?

Yes. We participate in a reciprocal admission to zoos and aquariums through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Reciprocal Admissions Program (www.aza.org) and the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA) Reciprocal Membership Program (www.natctr.org). Please contact the organization you would like to visit before you go to verify the admission discounts offered.

What is the discount offered to members of other AZA or ANCA organizations?

Members of organizations participating in the AZA Reciprocal Admissions Program and the ANCA Reciprocal Membership Program receive discounted trail admission of $7.50 for up to two adults and two youth at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. Reciprocal admission tickets must be purchased in advance over the phone by calling 603-968-7194 x 7.

How can I purchase or renew my membership?

You may purchase a membership by contacting the Membership Office at 603-968-7194 x 131. You may purchase a membership through the mail by filling out the membership form and mailing it in with your payment or purchase it online.

May I purchase or renew a gift membership for someone else?

You may purchase a gift membership by contacting the Membership Office at 603-968-7194 x 131. You may purchase a gift membership through the mail by filling out the membership form and mailing it in with your payment or purchase it online.

If I buy my membership today, when may I begin using it?

You may use your membership immediately. If you purchase or renew your membership online, you will receive an email confirming your purchase, which you can print and bring when you visit until you receive your permanent membership card in the mail. Membership cards are normally within two to three weeks. You must show proof of membership purchase or your membership card to take advantage of your 10% member discount in the Howling Coyote Gift Shop.

If I give a gift to the Annual Fund, am I a member?

No. Annual Fund gifts support operations and do not provide the donor with any membership benefits or services in exchange. Annual Fund donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

Is my membership good for a calendar year or for a full year from time of purchase?

Memberships are good for one full year. Your membership is active from the day you join and expires at the end of that month the following year. For example, if you sign up or renew your membership on October 1, 2020, it is active that day and expires October 31, 2021.

What happens if I upgrade my membership before the expiration date?

Your membership will be upgraded to the new level for the remainder of your current membership. The fee to upgrade is the difference between your current level and the new level. Upgrading your membership will not change your expiration date. You may upgrade your membership by contacting the Membership Office at 603-968-7194 x 131 or at Admissions when you visit.

I've already renewed my membership, but I continue to receive renewal notices. Should I be concerned?

Sometimes your renewal payment and our reminder simply cross in the mail. If you renewed your membership and received another reminder, please contact the Membership Office at 603-968-7194 x 131.

Will I receive a renewal request before my membership expires?

Yes. We will mail or email a reminder before your membership expires. If you do not renew, we will mail a follow up request after your membership expires. Periodically after that, we send renewal requests to lapsed members.

Do I lose any time on my membership if I renew early?

No, you do not lose any time on your membership. If you renew early, a year will be added to your existing expiration date.

When is the best time to visit?

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is open every day from May 1 through November 1 from 9:30 a.m. through 4:00 p.m., with the last admission at 2:30 p.m. Trail attendance varies, but is highest during July and August. School group visits are heaviest on May, June, and October mornings. Animals on the live animal exhibit trail tend to be most active first thing in the morning and later in the afternoon.

Do members have to pay for parking?

Parking is free for Science Center members and visitors to use only when they are on the trails or attending programs. Please, no overnight parking without permission. Parking gates close at 5:30 p.m. Members and visitors driving vehicles with boat trailers must park in the nearby NH Fish & Game parking lot when boating on Squam.

How will I keep informed about Science Center events and news?

As a member, you will receive the quarterly Tracks & Trails member newsletter four times a year, notification when Guided Discoveries summer children's programs are posted online, and an online version of the Annual Report. You may elect to receive most publications as a print copy via mail or a PDF via email. You may also choose to subscribe to our email newsletter Happenings.

Don't see your question listed?
Contact the Membership Office at 603-968-7194 x 131.
We appreciate your support!

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