July 21, 2014

Docent Guided Tours

By Madeline Warren, Marketing Intern

If you’re looking for something fun to do on a Thursday at 10:30 a.m., the Docent Guided Tours offered at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center are a great way to spend your time. Docent Guided Tours are approximately ninety minutes long. These tours are given by trained Science Center volunteers who provide an in-depth look at the animal exhibit trail. Docent Guides have an extensive degree of knowledge about New Hampshire wildlife and the natural world.

Last week I was fortunate enough to join one of the Science Center’s Docent Guided Tours. My tour guide was Rachel, a volunteer Docent who spends a few months out of the year here at the Science Center working in animal care and leading tours. The tour began at the Welcome Center where Rachel introduced herself to the group of seven other visitors. I quickly learned that when Rachel is not giving tours or working in animal care at the Science Center she spends her months all over Africa giving wildlife safari tours. I could hardly believe I was about to take a tour with a true wildlife expert!

The tour then proceeded to the Trailhead Gallery where Rachel showed us the Barred Owl and explained the various adaptations owls have for living in the wild. One adaptation owls have that I thought was particularly fascinating is that the layout of the owl’s feathers is specially designed to allow the animal to silently swoop down and snatch their unsuspecting prey. Rachel was such an animated tour guide she demonstrated how the owls wings slice right through the air silently.

After giving the tour group a few minutes to walk around the Trailhead Gallery we continued to the exhibit trail. On the trail it felt as if I was taking a stroll through the woods because the wildlife was so abundant. We saw different song birds flying in the sky, chipmunks with their cheeks full of food, and an array of wild flowers. Rachel was just as knowledgeable about the wildlife at the Science Center that was not contained to an exhibit and was able to answer everyone’s questions. One couple in the group was specifically interested in learning about song birds and Rachel was able to identify all of the birds flying above and provided the couple with a great deal of information. It soon became evident that I was not just getting a tour of the animals at the Science Center but of all New Hampshire’s wildlife.

Having walked the trail dozens of times I thought I already knew everything about the animals here at the Science Center, however, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Rachel was telling me things about our exhibit animals and New Hampshire wildlife that I didn’t know before taking the tour. I especially loved that she knew so much about the stories behind each individual animal, and why they were brought to the Science Center. For just two dollars extra per person with trail admission, you will learn more than you ever thought you would about New England wildlife. I especially recommend this tour to anyone who has come to the Science Center before and wants to learn more about the animals here.

Docent Guided Tours are truly an unforgettable up close experience with New Hampshire’s animal ambassadors. In addition to gaining educational insights about the Science Center’s exhibit animals you will hear fun facts, and stories about all our animals. Docent Guided Tours truly provide an exclusive educational experience that will give you memories to take back with you.

Docent Guided Tours are offered every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. through August 28.

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