Exploring Beloved Treasures in New Hampshire
By Jen Buckley, Assistant Editor at Parent & Family Magazine

After a very long, cold and snowy winter, what better way to celebrate the warm weather than to go on a little adventure to our neighboring state of New Hampshire? Mainers are so lucky to live in such a beautiful state, but we are also blessed to live next door to an equally beautiful state, with so many family-friendly attractions. You can choose to make a day trip to “the granite state,” or you can plan for a longer stay! To get our creative juices flowing, let’s highlight some of the more well-known and beloved treasures in the mountains of New Hampshire and beyond. You will want to keep these family-friendly attractions on your radar when you are in the mood for a little excursion.

Santa’s Village
If you grew up in Maine, Santa’s Village, in Jefferson, NH was most definitely on your “summer to do list!” Let’s face it, this place is pure magic. It’s like Christmas in the summer!
Santa’s Village has so much to offer with their main attractions, dining and shopping options. You can kick off your visit with a scavenger hunt starting at Elf University and that continues through the park. This is a great way to break up the day and include all family members. You can visit with Santa’s Reindeer and give them a snack. The St. Nicholas Chapel was originally built in 1954 and besides being a peaceful stop, it has some great history to it. Grab a custom-made “Good Luck Ring” at the Reindeer Blacksmith Shop, which is included in your admission price. Don’t miss the classic rides like: Antique Cars, Bumper Cars, Log Flume and so much more. If you are looking for a couple scenic rides, take a spin around the park on the Jingle Bell Express, or go on the Skyweigh Sleigh, which is a monorail that goes as high as 30 feet above ground in some areas. For more interactive attractions try The Great Humbug Adventure and The Hot Shots Fire Brigade; little kids can drive the fire truck, while older kids can knock the fire down. If it’s warm enough and you are looking to cool off, head on over to the Ho Ho H20 Waterpark. There are plenty of places to dine and there are also live performances. Of course, no trip to Santa’s Village is complete without a trip to see the “big guy in the red suit;” he is always available for a visit.

Santa’s Village opens on weekends starting at the end of May and then seven days a week in mid June through the beginning of September.

Check out the website for admission rates, calendar, special events and other details.  www.santasvillage.com

Another classic childhood favorite is Storyland, in Glen NH. Storyland is a wonderful example of how New Hampshire couple, Bob and Ruth Morrell created something magical from a simple idea. The couple who were living in Germany, on a US Army assignment befriended a woman named Frau Edith Von Arps, who suggested they create a park around the dolls she was selling. They decided to go further and create a place where storybook characters could come to life. Storyland has been around for over 60 years and has over 20 attractions that are perfect for the whole family.

Some of the favorite attractions at Storyland are the Antique German Carousel, Antique Cars, Crazy Barn and Flying Fish. You can get wet on the Bamboo Chutes, Dr Geyser’s Remarkable Raft Ride, and the Splash Battle of Pharaoh’s Reign. If you are seeking a little thrill, ride the Polar Coaster or one of the newer attractions, a wooden roller coaster called the Roar-O-Saurus. If you are needing a break from walking, climb aboard the Huff Puff & Whistle, which can take you from one end of the park to the other. It’s fun to get a “driver’s license” of the kiddos to see how much they change each year. You can cruise around in Cinderella’s Pumpkin Coach and have “Tea Time” with her, too! There are plenty of shows, a splash area and lots of play spaces for the younger kids. You will find storybook characters roaming throughout the park and there are even Character Dinners, as an option. For nursing moms, there are plenty of places to sit down, out of the heat to feed your little one. If you want a bite to eat on your visit, there are so many options you won’t be disappointed. You can also bring in a picnic lunch and eat it wherever you like. This really is the place “where fantasy lives.”
Storyland is open at the end of May on weekends and then seven days a week starting in June, until the beginning of September.

Check out their website for admission rates, calendar, hours, special events and other details. www.storylandnh.com

Kahuna Laguna
Kahuna Laguna in Conway, NH is New Hampshire’s largest indoor water park, open year round, 7 days a week. If you are registered at Red Jacket Mountain View or Fox Ridge Resort, you may use the waterpark for a special reduced rate. Sometimes day passes are available for families not staying at the resort, but you would need to call ahead for availability. Either of these hotels are a great option for families with kids of all ages because they both allow access to the water park. It’s also great to not have to be dependent upon cooperation of the weather.

The waterpark at Kahuna Laguna consists of four fast moving water slides sure to thrill you. Be sure to check out the height requirements on these slides ahead of time. They have the Wiki Wave Pool, The Bamboo Bay Adventure Tower and the Kahuna Basketball Court (it’s in the water), as well. For the youngest visitors there is the Little Kahuna Play Area. This area has an activity pool, 3 person slide, water toys, 4 person baby bouncer and squirting fountains.There is also a 25 person hot tub that can be enjoyed by parents and kids age 6 and older. If you have worked up an appetite head over to the Tiki Tide Cafe. If you find yourself water-logged and need a break, Kahuna Laguna has you covered with the Aloha Arcade.

For more information check out these websites:

MWV Children’s Museum & Conway Scenic Railroad
Mount Washington Valley Children’s Museum (MWV Children’s Museum) is another place you’ll want to put on your list of attractions to visit and they are open year round. While most children’s museums focus the majority of their exhibits and programming around children eight and older, this children’s museum caters to kids from birth to age 7. Of course, kids eight and older can also be entertained here. The museum has ongoing programs; such as, Music for Kids with Sharon Novak, Craft Hour with Cindy and a Pokemon League. They have many exhibits and a thrift store. MWV Children’s Museum hosts Rayne’s Fairy Festival, and are part of” A Day Out With Thomas” at Conway Scenic Railroad. They have designated days for birthday parties and field trips, as well.

Check out these websites for more information and details.

Why not kick off your spring and summer with a trip to New Hampshire? A visit to any of these time tested favorites promises a new experience and the reliving of your own treasured memories! In the second half of this two part series, we will uncover some hidden gems in New Hampshire that you may not know about. In the meantime, check out the websites below to discover more of what our family-friendly neighbor has to offer.