The live animal exhibit trail and all hiking trails are OPEN every day! Squam Lake Cruises run daily.
Up close with a mountain lion

Your Visit

Open meadows, mature forests, and marsh boardwalks connect interactive natural exhibits where native animals reside. Spend a day among black bears, mountain lions, river otters, bobcats, and more. Spend a day - take a self-guided tour of the animal exhibit trail (plan at least two-and-a-half hours). Explore our hiking trails, relax and learn on a Squam Lake Cruise, enjoy the beauty of Kirkwood Gardens, and shop naturally in the Howling Coyote Gift Shop.

Hours and Admissions


View Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in a larger map

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is located in Holderness, New Hampshire.

  • From Interstate 93 (North and South)
  • Take exit 24 (Ashland/Holderness exit)
  • Follow Route 3 South (approximately 4 miles)
  • Turn left onto Route 113; our driveway is 200 yards on the left.
  • Our physical address is: 23 Science Center Road
  • GPS coordinates 43° 43' 58"N, 71° 35' 21"W or 43.7328°N, 71.5893°W


  • Certified Sensory Inclusive badge from KultureCity Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is a Certified Sensory Inclusive facility by KultureCity to improve our ability to assist and accommodate guests with sensory needs. Our objective is to provide an inclusive and seamless experience for all guests on the live animal exhibit trail including those with sensory needs. We strive to raise awareness of the needs and challenges faced by individuals with sensory processing disorders by supplying our employees with continuous training and by offering Sensory Bags to guests who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. The bags contain noise canceling headphones, fidget tools, and verbal cue cards and are available to borrow at the Admissions area of the Welcome Center.
  • If you are looking for a quieter time to visit consider coming later in the day (after 12:30 p.m.)
  • The exhibit trail is accessible with an ADA Recreational standard grade of 1 in 12 with difficult spots due to loose gravel.
  • The majority of the exhibit trail is packed gravel.
  • Contact us to reserve a four-wheeled motorized scooter or non-motorized wheelchair.
  • We try to make any and all accommodations for accessibility on Squam Lake Cruises. Please contact us to discuss your specific needs.


  • Parking is free to Science Center visitors during operating hours.
  • Parking areas are for Science Center visitors ONLY. No overnight parking. No boat trailers. Gates close at 5:30 p.m.


  • Many of our staff members have pets of our own. We understand our visitors often travel with their four-legged friends. However, because dogs and cats – or birds or rabbits or lizards – are not a good fit with the live animals on exhibit, we find it necessary to have a policy for our furry, feathered, scaled visitors and their people. Pets, emotional support, and therapy animals are prohibited from entering. Please leave your pets at home. Only Service Animals may enter, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • If your animal does not meet the ADA requirements for entry, please refer to Google Maps for local kennel options.

Service Animal Policy

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is committed to making our facilities and programs accessible to all visitors. It is our policy to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide the best possible experience for all visitors. We welcome guests with disabilities who wish to bring their Service Animals onto the grounds with them.

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center prohibits any pets or non-zoo animals from entering with visitors except for trained Service Animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act: A Service Animal means any dog individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

Guests with Service Animals must check in and out at Admissions upon arrival and departure.

If it is not readily apparent to Visitor Services staff that the animal is a trained Service Animal, they will ask:

  • Is this a Service Animal and has this animal been trained to assist someone here today with a disability?
  • What task has this animal been trained to perform?

Rules regarding Service Animals at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

  • Under the ADA, Service Animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the Service Animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devise.
  • If a tethering device is not possible, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls at all times.
  • Service dogs must by fully trained. Animals-in-training are not permitted.
  • The care and supervision of the animal is solely the owner’s responsibility.
  • Staff shall verify that the Service Animal is housebroken.
  • The Service Animal’s handler is required to clean up after the Service Animal.
  • Staff will visually assess the Service Animal for obvious signs of aggressive or erratic behavior, lack of control, or signs of sickness.
  • Service Animals are expected to stay off rock barriers, keep all paws on the ground at exhibits, and not bark at exhibit or program animals.
  • Service animals should be kept at least 10 feet away from program animals presented by interpreters or walking outside of exhibits. Direct contact between exhibit and program animals and Service Animals is prohibited.
  • The owner must comply with all applicable laws and regulation (town, state, federal), including vaccinations, license, and animal health and leash laws.
  • The owner must not take the Service Animal into a restricted area.
  • The owner must remove the Service Animal when a conflict or potential conflict occurs. This may include animals on exhibit and animals in programs, or any free-roaming animals such as chipmunks and squirrels, and so on.
  • Animal Care staff will be informed that a visitor with a Service Animal is on the grounds.

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is responsible for the health and well-being of over 100 animals and is subject to strict guidelines and regulations pertaining to their protection.

By law, Service Animals can be restricted from areas where the animals on display are the natural prey or predators of dogs, where the presence of a dog would be disruptive, causing the displayed animals to behave aggressively or become agitated. Science Center Animal Care staff have the right to alter or prohibit Service Animal entry to any part of the grounds without prior notice.

If a situation occurs when a Service Animal’s presence agitates or causes a Science Center animal undue stress or anxiety or shows a potential for injury to other guests, exhibit animals, itself, or its handler, Science Center Management reserves the right to designate such areas off limits or sensitive to Service Animals. Visitors must use extra caution in sensitive areas.

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center does not require any surcharges or fees for Service Animals. However, the owner may be held liable (and charged as applicable) for any damage, injury, or death caused by the Service Animal to the grounds, him/herself, the animal or plant collection, staff, or visitors to the same extent as others without Service Animals are held responsible or charged.

Owners should also be aware that Service Animals may be exposed to diseases of animals within the Science Center’s collection, and this risk is assumed wholly by the owner when bringing the Service Animal on site.

As an alternative to bringing Service Animal on the ground, the Science Center offers free electric carts for individuals with mobility disabilities. To reserve a cart, call 603-968-7194 x 132.

Service Animals in Programs and on Lake Cruises

In the event that a Service Animal is present in a program involving animals, the following policy is in place:

  • Service Animals must be well restrained and no more than an arm's length away from the owner.
  • Service Animals must be kept a minimum of 10 feet from all animals, those being presented and any in carriers.
  • Program animals will be put away immediately if it appears distressed by the Service Animal's presence or if the Service Animal appears too "interested' in the program animal.
  • ONLY Service dogs are allowed on Squam Lake Cruises and subject to all the rules listed here. Miniature Horses are not permitted.


ADA National Network
Provides Information, Guidance, and Training on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Here is a good resource from this agency: -animals-booklet

For more information about the ADA, visit their website or call a toll-free number.
ADA website:, 800-514-0301 (Voice), 800-514-0383 (TTY)


We sometimes take photos and videos for educational and promotional purposes. Entry to the Science Center grants permission for our use of these images.


  • The use or possession of firearms, fireworks, explosives, or any type of weapon is prohibited at the Science Center.
  • The Science Center campus is a smoke-free and tobacco-free property. Smoking, the use of smokeless tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and unregulated products will not be permitted at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center.
  • The use of alcohol is prohibited except for private events.
  • The animal exhibit trail is an unpaved gravel path through forests and meadows. Please wear appropriate footwear.
  • Two EV charging stations are free for use by Science Center visitors only during regular operating hours. Gates close at 5:30 p.m.