If you’re one of those people who like to get outside in the wintertime, we can’t be friends. In the summer we can be friends, but not until May. Most likely, late May.

However, if you DO like being outside in the wintertime and you’ve talked your family into joining you, I’ve compiled a great list of fun, outdoor activities that will get you right back to nature. I’ll be inside by the fire when you return.

Family Wise Walks & Talks
Seacoast Science Center, Rye NH
“Family Wise Walks & Talks” are held every third Saturday of the month at the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. Each month, an SSC staff member guides you around Odiorne State Park to learn about the diversity of the ocean, flora and fauna in the park, seasonal changes and more. Sign up is not required; cost is regular admission and allows you access to the center. Perfect for families with children of all ages.

Winter Story Walk
Mt. Agamenticus, York ME
Open every day from dawn to dusk, Mt. Agamenticus in York has a new family program called “Story Walk” which combines time outdoors in nature with the joys of literacy. This year’s feature is “A Porcupine’s Promenade” children’s story which is broken up into pages along the hike starting at the base parking lot and ending near the summit. As you hike up the trail, continue the story and enjoy the fresh air. Best of all, it’s free!

Outdoor Trail Loop
Great Bay Discovery Center, Greenland NH
Another free adventure is waiting for you at the Great Bay Discover Center in Greenland. While the Discovery Center is closed for the season, the grounds are open year round from sunrise to sunset. They have a beautiful boardwalk trail that loops out into the marsh and is almost a half mile long. Visitors can see the salt marsh, the bay, wildlife, a replica of a Native American camp which includes a wigwam that kids can go inside! The boardwalk is self-guided and they do not shovel so be sure to have appropriate footwear. Visit greatbay.org to download various trail maps for your visit.

For families with pre-schoolers who are free during the week, here are some great outdoor programs you love.

Big Fish Little Fish
Seacoast Science Center, Rye NH
The Seacoast Science Center has a great program called “Big Fish Little Fish” designed for preschoolers and their favorite adult. Bundle up and be ready to get your hands dirty! Held Tuesday mornings from 9:30am-10:45am, attendees take a short guided outdoor hike to learn about the plants and animals that live the different habitats of Odiorne. Check their website for weekly activity themes and info, Cost is $8 for member children; $10 non-member children; no cost for adults.

Seabrook Science & Nature Center
Seabrook Nuclear Station, Seabrook NH
If you find yourself free on a sunny Tuesday, the Seabrook Science & Nature Center offers a hands-on indoor educational center. In addition, the center has a ¾ mile outdoor boardwalk that winds through the habitats of the salt marsh and surrounding woodlands. The Science & Nature Center is open Tuesdays only from 10am to 3pm. Admission is free. For more info, call 1-800-338-7482.

See, Think, and Wonder Walks for Preschoolers
Joppa Flats Education Center, Newburyport MA
The Joppa Flats Education Center in Newburyport, MA offers monthly “See, Think, and Wonder Walks for Preschoolers” program suitable for children 3 – 6 years. Each nature exploration will focus on local and migrating birds, wildlife, collecting techniques and environmental. The next program, “Imagine, Sing, & Learn: Penguin Pals” will be held on Thursday, Jan. 12 from 9:30am-11:00am. Non-member pricing is $8 for adults, $7 for children. Visit massaudubon.org for more info.

Other local resources!
The seacoast area has a ton of beautiful and interesting walking and nature trails including Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth, Odiorne Point in Rye, Parker River Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport, Dover Community Trail in Dover, Great Bay Wildlife Refuge in Newington to name a few. Most are free, however some charge a small fee. Don’t forget to stop by the visitor’s centers for a trail map which offer points of interest and/or seek-and-find activities.

See you on the trail!

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