My kids are animals. At dinner time, I throw a single raw pork chop on the ground and hope for the best.
I jest, my kids are not like animals. Animals are soft and cuddly. But my kids do love being around animals (brethren, perhaps?) so I take advantage of every opportunity to get them face-time with the many animals living on the Seacoast. Have a Dr. Doolittle in your home? Check out these events they’re sure to love.
Running next week, July 20-23, the Stratham Fair is a great place to check out and learn about New Hampshire livestock and farm animal breeds. Within the barns, you can get up-close-and-personal with dairy cows, beef cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, poultry, and rabbits along with special 4H shows featuring dogs, oxen, horses and more. They even have a daily “How to Milk a Goat” demonstration. You’re probably going to wanna check that out. Visit strathamfair.com for fair and show schedules.
NHSPCA Storytime with the Animals
So fun! Visit the NHSPCA’s Learning Center every Thursday at 10:30am for kids ages 2-5 years. Children listen to a story about an animal, color a picture of an animal and visit with the animals in the classroom (hamsters, bunnies, birds, chinchillas and sometimes kittens or puppies, awwww!). No registration is required. A donation of $5.00 is appreciated. Visit nhspca.org for more info.
Animal Day at CMNH
On Wednesday, July 19, join the Children’s Museum in Dover as they welcome special animal guests from the Cocheco Valley Humane Society from 11am-2pm. There will be animal activities in the Muse Studio and STEAM Innovation Lab as well as animal sound identification games and much more. All ages welcome. Free with museum admission. Visit childrens-museum.org.
Summer Family Drop-In Series at ifarm
Over the MA border in the town of Boxford is ifarm, a restored 19th century farmstead that is home to farm and wild animals alike. Every Wednesday (July 5 – August 23) between 1pm and 3pm, families are welcome to explore the farm, meet the animals and try out that week’s craft activity. Explore the farm at your own pace and let the kids guide the adventure–get your hands dirty, see what’s flowering in the garden or explore the woods. Sessions are $5 per child aged 4 and up; caregivers and younger siblings are free. Advance ticket purchase recommended (walk-ins only welcome if space is available). Visit ifarmboxford.com for more info.
Center for Wildlife
This Cape Neddick facility has served as a wildlife rehabilitation facility for over 30 years. While busy providing medical care, safe sanctuary and humane treatment for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife, the CFW also offers educational programs, tours and events with animals such as owls, hawks, falcons, Virginia opossum, big brown bat, turtles and snakes. Throughout the summer, you can attend a Tuesday Tour where you visit a raptor enclosure and see a baby bird feeding. Or check out a Docent Tour each Saturday and Sunday to pick up your Get Outside with Wildlife Kit complete with activities and take-home crafts. If you are able, they will gratefully accept a $5 per person suggested donation for visiting the center. Visit thecenterforwildlife.org for more details.
Looking to make a day of it with the animals?
York’s Wild Kingdom in York, ME has a large number of animal exhibits, many where you can pet and feed the animals (don’t miss the Butterfly Kingdom). Charmingfare Farm in Candia offers many wildlife exhibits along with a feed-and-hug petting zoo. These two spots are as close to a zoo as you’re going to get on the Seacoast and are a lot of fun. Don’t forget the anti-bacterial wipes!
Looking to just pop in somewhere for a quick (and free!) hello?
Stop by Churchill’s Gardens in Exeter and say hi to their resident goats, chickens and donkey—don’t forget to ask for feeding pellets for the koi pond. If you’re in the Durham area, swing by Emery Farm and share a nuzzle with their donkeys, chickens, goats and bunnies. Both of these locations have a wonderful garden center and café area.
See you around the stables!