Before we start - yes, I know that VINS (Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences) is not in New Hampshire and that this website primarily focuses on Granite State matters (hence the name). However VINS is right over the border, and only about an hour from Concord, so I'm going to share about my recent trip. I visited on a work-related school outing with a 4th grade group, but saw a variety of ages and stages; this place is perfect for kids and their nature-loving adults!
Similar to Squam Lake Science Center, there are a few different aspects to VINS. First, you can learn about animals (specifically local birds), enjoy various presentations and visit with eagles, hawks and owls, among others. However there is also a lot of play! Kids can enjoy walking along a tree-top canopy trail and running around in a nature playground. Our students climbed various structures, including some walls and netting. There's even a fire-tower-style viewing platform, where you can climb to the top and enjoy a pretty view. We didn't get a chance, but also an interesting exhibit called "Birds are Dinosaurs" (who knew?), which I plan to hit next time I go. (This summer with my own children...) Visitors can explore nature trails and bring a picnic lunch. I told my colleague that it's a great place to spend the day with children under 2, because there are a bunch of wide open fields in which to crawl and learn to walk! All told, VINS is a great way to spend time outdoors, breathe fresh air and let your kids expend some energy!
The town itself looks super cute, as well. I'd love to browse through the stores (candy included!) or have an early dinner at a local cafe. If you want more nature, you can also hike down into Quechee Gorge and enjoy a small adventure. Regardless of your interests, VINS is a fun and easy day trip if you want to get outside, run around and have some fun! There's also usually never any traffic along I-89 during summer weekdays, and that's always a plus!