The live animal exhibit trail and all hiking trails are OPEN every day! Squam Lake Cruises run daily.
Loons on Squam Lake

Philosphy on Captive Animals

The wild animals at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center are ambassadors of their species, here for the purpose of educating our visitors about New Hampshire's natural world. Most are orphaned, injured, or otherwise unable to survive in the wild. Observing these animals up-close, together with experiencing our hands-on exhibits, offers visitors the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of our native wildlife and appreciation of the natural world.

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is committed to maintaining captive, primarily non-releasable native wildlife to enhance education on our exhibit trails and in our programs. The following guidelines uphold this commitment:

Standards for accepting or obtaining a new animal:

  • Science Center must have a determined need/use for the animal
  • Science Center must have the resources to care for the animal (space, budget, time)
  • Science Center must be able to obtain the necessary permits
  • Animal must be native to New Hampshire (snakes are exception)
  • Animal must be a species that can be legally possessed and/or imported to New Hampshire
  • Animal must have no long-term health problems Animal must be cosmetically acceptable (no full wing/limb amputations, etc.)
  • Animal must be comparatively easy to maintain and able to adapt well to captivity


Squam Lakes Natural Science Center's live animals serve as valuable teaching tools to educate our audiences about each species’ role in its environment. To reduce focus on the individual animal and the inherent risk of making wild animals appear as "pets," the Science Center does not use "pet" names for exhibit or program animals.


As a general policy Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is a non-breeding facility. With few exceptions the animal collection does not contain threatened or endangered species, and as a result, animal breeding creates a burden of care and deposition of surplus animals. In circumstances where multiple animals of the same species are housed together the male(s) will be neutered.

Adopted by the Board of Trustees on April 17, 1999.