On our journey up to Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont, we decided to stop off at the Montshire Museum of Science, just across the New Hampshire border in Norwich, Vermont. My kids love science, so I thought they’d especially enjoy a visit to a new museum (to them). Although it was a somewhat overcast day, we still enjoyed both the outdoor and indoor exhibits at the museum.
All About the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont
The Montshire Museum of Science is a hands-on children’s museum offering 140 exhibits over 110 acres. The museum is located both indoors and outdoors, making it so unique among science museums (many of which are strictly indoor museums). The museum is open 363 days per year (closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas), although most of the outdoor features are best visited when the weather is cooperating in the late spring through early fall months.
Inside the Montshire Museum of Science
What struck me most upon entering the Montshire Museum is how clean and open everything is. There’s lots of light too, making it bright and inviting. Exhibits focus on both the natural and physical sciences, and are so appealing to kids. There is lots of room for the kids to stand around and do some hands-on exploring. In addition to the regular exhibits, the museum also regularly hosts traveling exhibits. Check their website for details and a schedule for these exhibits, as well as special programs that the museum may be offering during your visit.
My kids enjoyed visiting all of the indoor exhibits, especially the fog machine and the bubble exhibit (where they could have stayed for hours). Indoor exhibits include:
- Aquarium area with fish, frogs, turtles and more
- Making Music: The Science of Musical Instruments
- Discovering the Natural World (new exhibit relating to the natural world, including plants and animals)
- Andy’s Place (for kids aged 5 and under)
- Bubbles: Science in Soap
- Solve it! Puzzles, Math, and Problem Solving
While my kids loved the indoor exhibits at the Montshire Museum, the real fun for them was the outdoor water exhibits.
Outdoor Exhibits at the Montshire Science Museum
In addition to the indoor exhibits at the Montshire, there are dozens of exhibits outside in the David Goudy Science Park as well as the outdoor trails.
The David Goudy Science Park includes many water exhibits, including a Mist Fountain. Because we were traveling, we hadn’t put the swimsuits in a readily accessible spot in our suitcases. So, my kids just explored without their suits. They just loved it though – from following a small ball downstream to turning the fountains on and off, they had a blast.
If you are planning a visit in the warmer months, I definitely recommend packing swimsuits, water shoes, towels, and sunscreen. You may even want the kids to wear them under their clothes to make it easier. The water exhibits are open seasonally – from early May to mid-October. Check their website for specific details and dates.
The outdoor Woodland Garden was created in collaboration with New England Wildflower Society (NEWFS). It includes nature plants, flowers, and trees. There are also walking trails that showcase the plant life of the Upper Connecticut River Valley.
The Montshire Science Museum also offers a small pavilion for lunch in the summer and loads of walking trails through the property. You are allowed to bring your own snacks and picnic lunch of you’d like to eat at the pavilion. We were there on a summer morning, and didn’t find it to be overcrowded at all.
The Museum recommends that families plan to stay for about two to three hours. We were there for about two and a half hours, and would definitely have been there for even more time if we had packed swimsuits.
Tickets are sold at the door, and include admission to the outdoor and indoor exhibits. The cost increases a small amount in the summer months. A Montshire Museum membership is available which includes free admission. It could be a good idea if you’ll visit multiple times. There are also Montshire Museum ticket discounts available if you purchase a multi-day ticket or a passbook.
Montshire Museum of Science
One Montshire Road
Norwich, VT 05055
Originally posted in 2011, updated in 2018