The live animal exhibit trail and all hiking trails are OPEN every day! Squam Lake Cruises run daily.
Gib Merrill showing off snapping turtle.


  • The completely reimagined Celebrate Birds building opened after renovations. The Celebrate Birds Exhibit takes visitors on a journey to learn about types of birds from songbirds, to water birds, to raptors.
  • The Science Center became Certified Sensory Inclusive by Certified Sensory Inclusive by KultureCity. The initiative promotes an accommodating and positive experience for all guests with a sensory issue that visit Squam Lakes Natural Science Center.
  • Giant Insects came to the Science Center! This temporary exhibit was in place from July through September along the live animal exhibit trail. Six larger than life insects were brought to life to educate the public about their importance to our natural world.
  • Birds of the Squam Lakes Region was published by the Science Center and authored by Robert S. Ridgely and Kenneth H. Klapper. The expanded and fully revised edition of Bev Ridgely’s classic 1977work, includes updated accounts of the more than 280 species of birds found in the area and includes more than 200 color photographs. This book provides a comprehensive overview of birdlife in the beautiful Squam Lakes Region.
  • The Family Picnic was held in July and well-received by over 250 attendees. The fun event for all ages features food trucks, ice cream, animal programs, edible insects, live music, games, and more.
  • The Science Center is growing initiatives to promote access to everyone through programs like: Museums for All for SNAP benefit recipients; Family Access Membership for New Hampshire EBT cardholders; and Library Memberships. These initiatives help expand access to the Science Center regardless of income level.
  • The Science Center was voted Best Summer Outdoor Attraction – Lakes Region by New Hampshire Magazine.
  • The Science Center was featured on "New Hampshire Life", a television show that showcases the best of what New Hampshire has to offer. The show aired on NESN and the New Hampshire Life YouTube channel.
  • Science Pub continued in the spring and summer to the delight of attendees. This event is a collaboration between Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, Squam Lakes Association, and Squam Lakes Conservation Society.


  • The new Richard and Jean Lovett Raptor Exhibit opened with new enclosures, interactive exhibits, and interpretation about raptors.
  • The live animal exhibit trail opened on May 1 with many pandemic related restrictions still in place. This included capacity limits, timed-entry tickets, outdoor retail operations, and increased cleaning.
  • The Family Access Membership program began offering families receiving food assistance a reduced rate Science Center membership.
  • 260 volunteers donated over 5,711 hours of service.
  • Naturalist Margaret Gillespie was awarded the 2021 New Hampshire Environmental Educator of the Year award by the New Hampshire Environmental Educators.
  • Summer Guided Discoveries resumed with limited capacity and program adaptations. The Blue Heron School summer program continued for the second year.


  • Like many other businesses, in March the Science Center paused public programs and asked all but essential employees to work from home.
  • The public trail season typically begin May 1 but was delayed until June 15 per state guidelines. Safety protocols in place for opening included capacity restrictions, one-way trail, pre-purchased timed entry tickets, mask requirement, physical distancing, some exhibit closure, cleaning exhibits and facilities every two hours, and other behind the scenes changes.
  • Virtual programs began for schools, libraries, and other groups.


  • Dinosaurs invaded Holderness with the Dinosaurs Alive! Exhibit from July through September.
  • Blue Heron School officially opened in its new location for the start of the 2019-2020 school year with capacity for 40 students.
  • Dave Erler retired in November after 40 years as a naturalist. Dave received a commendation from Governor Chris Sununu for his dedication to nature and ecology.
  • The Science Center joined Museums for All and offered trail admission of $3 per person for up to four people with presentation of a SNAP EBT card.
  • A hands-on Lake Turnover exhibit opened at Lake Cruise Headquarters.
  • Holderness Inn became home to Samyn D’Elia Architects.
  • Kirkwood Gardens debuted a new kiosk showing flowers in bloom and wildlife sightings.


  • Blue Heron School expanded its capacity to 30 students for the 2018-2019 school year.
  • Ownership of the Holderness Inn was transferred to Samyn-D’Elia Architects. Samyn D’Elia will renovate the Inn for their office space and a staff apartment. The Science Center will continue to maintain Kirkwood Gardens, adjacent to the Inn.
  • The BBC arrived in September with a crew over 100 to explore the nature and culture this area has to offer. The Science Center provided support and locations for the array of live trail cameras. The Science Center also provided live ambassador animals for the shows, which aired for four nights live in the UK and for three nights live on PBS stateside.


  • A new Lake Cruise Headquarters located on the Squam channel, provided an easy departure point close to the main campus.


  • Squam Lakes Natural Science Center celebrated its 50th anniversary!
  • The Science Center received accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for a third consecutive five-year term.
  • The Science Center published two books: Nearer to Nature: Selected WRitings and Photographs from Squam Lakes Natural Science Center was written by Naturalist Margaret Gillespie. 50 Nature Activities for Kids was written by Senior Naturalist Dave Erler.
  • The Water Matters Pavilion opened to the public with 18 interactive water-related exhibits including live fish, frogs, turtles, and mink.
  • Kirkwood Gardens celebrated its 20th anniversary.
  • The Board of Trustees adopted a new Strategic Plan laying out a vision and goals for 2016 through 2020.


  • The Gordon Interactive Playscape opened. The nature playground teaches the concept of prey and predator.


  • A new Wood Energy Exhibit  opened featuring two GARN boilers that heat six buildings.
  • A new Coyote Exhibit opened.


  • The “New Hampshire Geology” Exhibit opened.


  • Blue Heron School, a nature-based Montessori early learning center, opened.


  • Fifteen teens participated in a pilot First Guides program based on the docent program.
  • The first Loon Cruises were offered in partnership with the Loon Preservation Committee.


  • Weekly Turtle Talks, taught by volunteer docents, were initiated.
  • Two additional pontoon boats were purchased for Lake Cruises.



  • Dave Chase became the sixth Executive Director.
  • A new Volunteer Appreciation Display – “Volunteers Complete the Picture” – was created to recognize volunteers.


  • Two mountain lion cubs arrived from Montana for the new Mountain Lion Exhibit.
  • A new Life Underground Exhibit opened.
  • The Mead Discovery Place was dedicated to the late Bill Mead. It features changing exhibits.


  • Forging Trails: A Strategic Plan for SLNSC 2003-2008 was adopted by the Board of Trustee.
  • Started in 1998, the Horizon Project completed fundraising at just over $5 million. Twenty-three projects were created to: 1) expand endowment; 2) build new live animal exhibits and create enhanced learning opportunities to attract and accommodate more visitors without losing the “walk in the woods” experience; 3) expand and improve visitor services facilities; 4) make the exhibit trail wheelchair accessible and, 5) enhance infrastructure with new management information systems, animal care facilities, and collection maintenance and storage facilities.


  • New Bobcat and Ecotone Mammal Exhibits were completed. A moose sculpture was added near the Lower Pond.


  • The organization changed its name to Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, effective January 1, 2000.
  • The Tamworth Pavilion was winterized. An outdoor public amphitheater and garage were constructed.
  • A new Black Bear Exhibit opened and the White-tailed Deer Exhibit upgraded.


  • A collaboration with New Hampshire Public Television produced an instructional television series called NatureWorks.


  • A new Bird Exhibit and aviary replaced the former Bird and Loon Exhibits.
  • Docents were trained for the first time, with 45 volunteers taking part.


  • The capacity for lake ecology school programs and public cruises doubled with the addition of a second pontoon boat.
  • Board of Trustees establishes the Parsons Award to recognize extraordinary volunteer service.


  • A new mission statement was adopted by the Board of Trustees: to advance understanding of ecology by exploring New Hampshire’s natural world.
  • Kirkwood Gardens was landscaped as a free public garden exhibiting plants attractive to wildlife.
  • The Forest Trail was added, a 2/3-mile self-guided hike interpreting forest ecology and management.


  • Naturalists offered the first natural history cruises on Squam Lake.


  • Will Abbott became the fifth Executive Director.


  • The first New Hampshire Day, with admission free to NH residents, was held.


  • Bill Webb became the fourth Executive Director.


  • The Quarter Century Fund, a $1.25 million capital campaign started, and raised $900,000 for capital improvements and more than $500,000 for endowment, upon its completion in 1992.


  • A pontoon boat was purchased and Lake Ecology classes were offered for the first time.


  • Richard “Rick” Ashley became the third Executive Director.
  • The organization's name changed to Science Center of New Hampshire to highlight program expansion to a statewide audience.
  • A new marsh was dug by the stream from the Upper Pond.


  • The Webster Education Building was built, along with a new access road and parking lot. It was previously an office building, which was moved ¼ mile from its Route 3 location to be closer to prime teaching areas.


  • A collaboration with New Hampshire Public Television produced the educational television series, Up Close and Natural for Grades K-3.


  • The Orton Mobile Science Lab was the Science Center’s first outreach van. It was used to take live animal programs to schools across the state.
  • The Arthur Unsworth Memorial Library was created.


  • Robert “Bob” Nichols became the second Executive Director.
  • The Ecotone Trail was added. It borders the upper meadow and forest.
  • A summer intern program was established.


  • A new Animal Room facility was created in the Holderness Inn kitchen to house program animals.
  • The first Black Bear Exhibit opened.


  • A volunteer group was organized, starting with 20 people.


  • Squam Lakes Science Center opened for its first summer with lectures in the Red Barn, two trails on Mt. Fayal, live animal exhibits; small mammal hut, snake island, bird and reptile hut, deer knoll, goose pond, bobcat glen, frog pond hut, and three exhibits showing the early life of New Hampshire settlers: blacksmith shop, sap house, and steam-operated sawmill.


  • The first Executive Director, Gilbert “Gib” Merrill, and a small staff were hired. A Federal Title III grant was used to organize the first educational programs.


  • The original 180 acres was purchased with money raised from the local community, soon followed by the purchase of the Holderness Inn and surrounding facilities, as well as a tract of land atop Mt. Fayal. Squam Lakes Science Center was first incorporated as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization.