A quick and beautiful trip to Rye, NH is the perfect spot to take the family on an ocean adventure or learning field trip. We were invited into the Seacoast Science Center located inside of the gates of Odiorne Point State Park for a day of exploring and ocean fun.
For the last 6 weeks, our family has been exploring and learning about the ocean. In our efforts to make this come to life, we have been visiting several unique and memorable locations for our Ocean Learning Unit. Whether you’re a teacher, homeschooler, or just a parent of kids interested in marine biology, the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH is a must visit and the perfect day trip.
Making a trip in person or virtually to the Seacoast Science Center.
Odiorne Pointe State Park — Rye, NH: 43.0486° N, 70.7202° W
One of the very best parts of visiting the Seacoast Science Center is that kids can learn both inside of the museum and then explore the tide pools and park outside to extend their learning, understanding, and fun.
The very first thing we were greeted with upon arrival at the building was a table with laminated guides to help families make their experience more meaningful. However, if you can’t make a trip in person or would feel more comfortable, SSC also hosts virtual field trips!
In the current pandemic climate, it is important to note that masks are required inside of the building and there are multiple cleaning supplies at all of the operating hands-on exhibits to clean at your discretion. Visits also require advanced registration in 2 hour blocks of time for indoor exploration – be sure to check their website for updates and to book your time.
What your kids will learn about the ocean & points of interest within the science center
One of the things we really enjoyed about the Seacoast Science Center was that it put our children in the middle of the story of learning about and caring for the ocean.
It was an immersive experience.
Instead of just being an aquarium, it was a hands-on educational experience to learn about everything from pollution to whale migration to tides and more. In all, the trip allows children to see, hear, touch, and smell each lesson about the ocean.
Our favorite exhibits were:
- The touch tank!
- Ocean Mapping interactive computer program
- Trash Travels magnetic PVC pipe game
- Exploring the park
The UV lights in the aquarium area helped the kids see the colors of the lobster, the anemone, and jellyfish — they were so beautiful and vibrant!
Throughout the science center there are exhibits to learn both about species living in and around the ocean as well as ocean health and patterns. In one area there is a simple display showing all of the trash from just their beach over one year. That really puts it into perspective to think of it globally!
One thing I wish we would have done is compile a simple list of terms like a scavenger hunt for the kids to have some focus as they bounced around through the museum. While we debriefed afterwards, this is great to think about ahead of time! Topics include:
- The difference between a turtle, tortoise, and sea turtle
- 3 Big ways to keep the ocean healthy
- Mussels and Oysters / Bioindicators
- Compare & Contrast
- Symbiotic Relationships within the ocean
A peek inside the Seacoast Science Center’s Gift Shop
While our family doesn’t normally peruse museum gift shops, we really loved the selection and great prices at the SSC. We purchased an ocean-themed activity book as well as some model animals for a sensory bin. they also had a really nice selection of educational children’s books.
A family place to eat in Rye
Petey’s Summertime Seafood, 1323 Ocean Boulevard, Rye, NH 03870
43.0171522 ° N,-70.7338794° W
If heading out as a family, we were told my the SSC staff to stop in at Petey’s. So we did! It was great seafood experience, but they also had plenty of other food options and they are indeed open year-round. So this is a solid recommendation from both the science center and us! …Even if you only treat yourself to ice cream.
Important extra information
- Bathrooms are available inside of the building.
- Again, reservations are currently required as well as masks. Check with staff for any updates. Please also note that policies both at the museum and state laws are constantly changing. Please stay up to date before planning your trip!
- Bring good shoes, an adventurous attitude, and a change of clothes in case you plan to explore the tide pools. Buckets are also helpful for examining fun finds within the water.
- Coming from Boston? The drive up 1A is a beautiful way to enjoy the scenery in and.or out of Rye, NH.
- There is a lot to explore at the park! There is also a playground so it is really easy to make a great day trip out of the experience.
- HAVE FUN!