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Pretend Play

Build It! Fly It!

Fascinated by flight? Learn about aerodynamics and exercise your creativity in our Build It, Fly It exhibit.

Start at the construction station and engineer your own flying machine using colorful foam pieces in a variety of shapes.

Next, place your unique invention onto a 30-foot vertical, hand-powered conveyor system and crank it up through the rafters.

Watch as your creation is released at the very top to see if it flies, flutters or falls.

Following in the footsteps of scientists and inventors, you can then redesign and retest your flying machine to try and improve your results. Anyone can be an engineer in this fun and creative environment.

More Flight Fun:

Try out our Bernoulli Blower in the corner of Build It, Fly It, underneath a giant sculpture of a rocket ship! Bernoulli’s principle, named after Daniel Bernoulli, is all about air speed and pressure and relates to the science of flight. Kids can explore this concept by introducing balls of different densities, and scarves into a steady flow of air and observing what happens!

Then enjoy airplane cockpit with an instrument panel for imaginative play is being constructed and will be installed soon in the corner opposite the Bernoulli Blower.

Mini Wini Vet Clinic

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire has opened a new Mini Wini Vet Clinic play exhibit sponsored by Winichahanat Veterinary Care in Dover. Children can pretend to be a veterinarian with our stuffed animal patients, and learn about what vets do. Look at real x-rays, take care of a furry friend, and learn about pet care in this fun interactive exhibit.

Pattern Palace

Our throne room is "under construction." Join the crew of Ye Olde Construction Company, whose motto is "Patterns are our passion," to help finish the job.

Complete the royal throne, the stone fireplace, the "stained glass" window, and the rich flooring.

This regal environment surrounds you with visual and textural patterns to discover, ponder and manipulate – from the silvery tin-paneled walls to the one-point perspective mural, from the handcrafted throne to the royal dragon portraits.

Patterns are everywhere!

Post Office

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Visit our full-service post office to mail letters, buy stamps and check your PO box.

Clock in and go to work behind the windows – sort letters, wait on customers, and deliver and collect mail along your route throughout all the museum exhibits.

Thank you to our exhibit sponsor, Berwick Academy.

Yellow Submarine


Identify the creatures that live here in the Gulf of Maine.

Operate the periscope to secretly search the museum above you. Identify mysterious deep-sea sounds at the listening station, and use sonar to measure your distance from approaching objects.

Take a shift at the propeller or take a break and choose a bunk.

Go for a 'swim' outside of the submarine and scare away the fish on our Motion Sensor wall.

Cave Explorers

We invite everyone to duck inside this darkened environment to explore the properties of light and dark.

Put on an explorer's vest and use your attached Cave-Light to read glow-in-the-dark books and find cave paintings. You can even draw your own glowing cave paintings!

Press the buttons in the corners to reveal more glowing surprises up high. Design your own spider web or geometric shape with our flexible Glow Rods.

Everyone has fun in the dark here!


The Cochecho River flows right through the Children's Museum of New Hampshire's backyard, so what better place to learn about it? The multi-faceted Cochecosystem exhibit explores the life of the river, both natural and industrial, as engineered by both animals and people.


Explore the water cycle and divert or damn up the "water" in our River Model. Step back to the time when Dover was a bustling center of textile manufacturing. Enter a mill environment to see how waterpower was harnessed to operate the machinery that transformed raw cotton into woven cloth. Engineer a power train, then comb cotton fibers in a carding machine, wind cotton yarn, and try your hand at a simple weaving loom.

Outside the mill, board a trolley like the ones that transported millworkers. Through photo essays of current descendants, learn more about the people who came here to work in the Cocheco Mills.

Back at the waterfront, a Piscataqua gundalow waits at the dock. This boat brought bales of raw cotton to the mills and carried bolts of newly woven cloth down the Cochecho River to Portsmouth for shipping to distant markets. Step aboard to help load and unload cargo, operate the mast and "navigate" down the river.


Then enter a concentrated river environment to experience how animals use the river to engineer their lives. Become a tiny caddisfly in the quiet upper river as you build yourself a protective case to hide from predators. Midriver, you'll become a busy beaver as you use saplings to construct a lodge. As an osprey in the lower river, you'll put together a nest for your chicks high above the river. Then operate a fish ladder to help alewives swim upriver from the ocean to lay their eggs in the still water where they were born.

Dino Detective


Learn how geology affects where paleontologists dig for dinosaur remains with our Augmented Reality Sand Table. You can shape the landscape, creating rivers, mountains, dams, even making it rain or snow!

Don a pair of goggles, climb into a mountainside dig site and help unearth Triceratops fossils.

Take part in the scientific process as you compare its jaws, claws and vertebrae to those of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Which one was a carnivore and which one was an herbivore?

Measure your thigh against life-size replica femur bones to see how big these dinosaurs were.

Make rubbings of ammonite fossils to complete your scientific investigation.

Come pose next to a life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex skull replica and see just how gigantic these creatures were!

See yourself as a Paleontologist, and dream about a Triceratops!

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