10 Things to do With Your Kids in Manchester, NH


By: Justess Jacobson
March, 2015

Uh-oh! It’s that time of year… The dreaded “summer vacation”. You know, where things go all haywire and your children walk around like mindless zombies complaining that they are bored, but don’t want to do any housework or clean their room. So, what do you do? You can only take them to see so many movies and go to the lake before you are all bored. Yes, you can go camping and sometimes staying in is just fine… But 10 weeks is a long time for those same three activities. I decided to do the top ten greatest things to do with your kids because even though the weather doesn’t feel like it, summer will be here sooner than we know!

10. ICE SKATING AT JFK COLISEUM. I only put this so low because it is offered at a limited time of the year, but it is a BLAST! I used to go there and there is no way to have a bad time. I (somehow) didn’t fall when I was skating, but it was so much fun, and to watch all the little kids learn and have a fun time is so much fun. I think it was also really inspiring to watch the really young kids do incredible tricks and make it look flawless. This can be a bit on the pricier side of the scale, but it is so much fun, and the kids LOVE it!

9. RIVERWALK. This is an adventure the kids will love doing. It starts on Kelley Street, on the west side of Manchester (although there are many entry points, Kelly Street is where to begin if you want to do it from start to finish) and you follow the walking path as you come by the Piscataqua River and a nature trail, it comes out by the Auto-Tire repair center on South Main Street, cross the street, and follow the trail you walk directly over the infamous Merrimack River. The walk ends at a small trail behind the Fisher Cats Stadium. For those who are extremely adventurous, there is a trail that is on the riverbank that is well lit and taken care of. I personally loved doing this walk (the first half) when I was running for exercise, and there are always a ton of people walking their dogs on this trail! Bike riding, scooters, and rollerblades are also a common scene while on this walk! Best of all- IT’S TOTALLY FREE!

8. SPORTING EVENTS. Manchester has a bit to offer with the sporting venues. Manchester Monarchs are a minor league Hockey team and those games are so much fun. Max the Monarch will never disappoint in entertaining the little kids, and with dancing on the jumbotron and all the kid oriented games during half time (chuck-a-puck, random kids can compete in games on the ice), I have never seen a kid frowning! Not only do we have minor league hockey, we have a minor league baseball stadium that hosts the hometown Manchester Fisher Cats! These family oriented events are fun for the whole family with contests for kids and adults! There are activities and pictures with mascots and my favorite: the dance contests! I am 21 and still have a blast at these events. Tickets (depending on seats) can be affordable.

7. MCINTYRE SKI AREA. Ok, not summer material but there are two vacations in the winter that make this relevant! Skiing, tubing, sledding, lessons, you name it, they have it for winter fun. They have a cozy little cottage for refreshments and to warm up! They offer classes and birthday parties, or if you just want to go for a fun little trip, it is conveniently located right off of Mammoth Road in Manchester!

6. ICE CREAM!!! My favorite subject … I could talk about it forever. I am a huge ice cream fan, if anyone reads my Facebook, I get it at least twice a week. Manchester offers some of the best ice cream around. Golden Rods located in the east end of Manchester right on the Auburn border is homemade ice cream with dozens of flavors. With its close proximity to Massabesic Lake, grab an ice cream and go sit by the water! Also, more towards the middle city is Cremeland ,which is another ice cream stand that has homemade ice cream and fried dough. For that old time feeling, this place is great! We have restaurants that offer plenty of flavors like Blakes Restaurants and The Puritan (all of which make their own ice cream). When you’re done with the Puritan, you can go to…

5. LIVINGSTON PARK. The beautiful park is located directly across the street from the Puritan and is super clean! It has a pool (with an awesome water slide). There is a little kiddie area of the pool, and its deepest area is 8 feet. If you get tired of swimming or it isn’t your thing, then they have a soccer field, play equipment (swings, slides, monkeybars, etc), and a path around Livingston Pond that is adventurous and fun! I like to get ice cream then walk this path. One of the greatest perks- IT’S FREE! YAY!

4. “YOU’RE FIRED” is a cute little place where you pick out ceramics and paint them. The workers put them in a kiln and a week later, you have a great new decorative piece! They have many items to choose from including plates, jewelry holders, vases, wall items, etc. The staff is friendly, and a great way to let your kid’s creativity flow through them! People that aren’t artsy might not be the most thrilled when they hear the idea, but once they get there it is easy to get into. I am not one that can even draw a stick figure and I had a great time! You may want to check prices if you are on a certain budget, but it still is in the affordable range.
3. SEE SCIENCE CENTER. Located in the mill buildings of Manchester, there is a day full of activities here. At only $8 a person, it is relatively cheap entertainment. I remember going on a field trip and all my friends who HATED science loved it. There are so many hands on activities, and it’s encouraged to touch things and play there. Activities are also highly encouraged and there are exhibits for all ages! To this day, it is one of my favorite places to go. With a two-floor museum and a thirst for knowledge, any kid can have a great time!

2. AMOSKEAG FISHWAYS., Located at the Amoskeag rotary and artnering with Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH), the fishways is an incredible experience that allows you to understand the importance of water, the river, and electricity. If visiting in May and June, you get to see the migration of fish that include sea lamprey and other river fishes. You learn about the damn, the waterfall, river wildlife, river ecology, electricity, hydro and solar power, fish biology, urban wildlife, survival skills, Native Americans, and more. It is a WONDERFUL chance to learn about your local wildlife and is quite engaging!

1. MUSEUMS. Manchester is filled with them. The one I am going to highlight is the Currier Art Gallery, but there are plenty more to offer. The Currier Art Gallery is a wonderful place to look at art and history at the same time.

There are paintings, sculptures, and other forms of art that can please anyone. While this is the most famous art gallery around, there are plenty others to satisfy your tastes. There are Millyard Museums (focusing on the Millyard history), Native American Museum that focuses on the New Hampshire Native Abenaki Indians that founded the land and prepared to be what it was. There is a Lego Museum, and the Children’s Museum. So much is to be learned about the history of Manchester and New Hampshire. Part of the reason this is so high is because all the museums are family friendly, and offer tours for people of all ages. The younger ones can find solace in doing hands-on projects while the older kids get to understand things at their level. Fun and Knowledge for the whole family!

BONUS: Writing this list out, I wanted to include something, but I feel that this isn’t something exclusive to Manchester. The City Library is an architecturally brilliant building that is multi-levels of books and knowledge!

There is a whole floor dedicated to children’s books and activities. They have movie showings, special guest readers, and other activities the kids will love. Reading is such a fundamental part of a child and there is no better place to learn about alternate worlds than a library. The city library is incredible, but always remember to visit your local library, and bring the kids! Also, don’t forget to help donate to libraries to keep children reading, and to help supply the poverty stricken kids with books!

Not all children want to go see art pieces, or want to paint a piece of clay. However, there are plenty of things to do for any personality type. Kids don’t always learn the same way, but if you engage them, and try out some of these places, there is so much to learn without being in a classroom, and so much fun to have without being on a cellphone!

justessJustess Jacobson resides in Manchester NH, has a degree in communications, is now studying to be a juvenile probation officer and works at a local hospital as a nutrition assistant. You can email Justess at Justessjacobson@yahoo.com