In 1993, the Great Bay Discovery Center (formerly known as Sandy Point) was constructed on the shores of Great Bay. Located in Greenland, NH, it serves as the education headquarters of the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Inside the Discovery Center, visitors are treated to interpretive exhibits about the Great Bay Estuary and the amazing creatures that call it home. Children can get their hands wet in an estuarine discovery tank as they learn about horseshoe crabs, oysters, mud snails and more! Interactive displays about salt marsh farming, salmon migration, plankton, tides and research on the Bay, allow children and adults alike to learn about the Estuary.
The center is open to the public 10am-4pm, Wednesdays through Sundays, May-September. We are open weekends only October, with our last open day being October 25th for the 2015 season. The grounds are open year round, dawn to dusk.
The Hugh Gregg Coastal Conservation Center, constructed in 2005, is a modern education facility that provides valuable meeting space as well as exhibits on the upland habitats of the Great Bay Watershed. Built in the old New England post and beam style barn, this facility has several sustainable design features, including a geothermal heating and cooling system and composting toilets.
At this time it is not available to rent for meetings or workshops.
The exhibits focus on the upland habitats of Great Bay and include a life-size diorama depicting how the land was shaped by Native Americans and the early settlers.
On the lower level, there is a Special Collections room featuring artifacts of Great Bay and seacoast New Hampshire with a focus on hunting and fishing. The Special Collections room will be open the first Sunday of each month (excluding July) from May to October 2015, from 10am-1pm.
The grounds are beautifully landscaped and include a waterfall and stream feature that connects the two buildings. A universally accessible trail and boardwalk allow visitors to explore a variety of habitats including upland hardwood forests, freshwater wetlands, salt marsh and mudflats. Newly installed interpretive signage allows visitors to learn about the diverse habitats found along Great Bay. The boardwalk is being replaced and is currently closed to visitors. The outdoor play boats may be inaccessible because of construction equipment and materials.
Visitors can stand on the deck of a 19th century Gundalow replica, explore a replica Native American camp or wander through the native gardens surrounding the center. Birders find the Discovery Center an excellent location to watch for Great Bay's wintering eagle population, migratory warblers, waterfowl, and nesting pairs of osprey.
With the exception of service dogs, pets are prohibited on the boardwalk and in the facilities.
Pets are permitted at the boat launch.
Hours of Operations
Great Bay Discovery Center is open from 10 am - 4 pm
Wednesday through Sunday: May through September
Weekends in October
Grounds are open from dawn to dusk year-round
From the North on I95 or the Spaulding Turnpike, take I95 exit 3B and turn left on Rte 33. Follow Rte 33 for 5 miles. Turn right on Sandy Point Road for about a quarter mile and turn right again on Depot Road. Follow Depot Road to the end.
From the North on 108, take a left on Squamscott Road after the bridge over the Squamscott River, take another left at the lights. Take the second left onto Depot Road and follow it to the end.
From the South on I95, take exit 2 (just before the Hampton Tolls) and head West on Route 101 for 4.5 miles until you come to the exit for Rtes 33/108. Turn right at the bottom of the ramp. Follow Rte 33 for approximately 4 miles. Take the second left (Depot Road) after the Squamscott Road traffic lights. Follow Depot Road to the end.
From the West on 101, take the exit for Rtes 33/108 in Exeter, turning left at the bottom of the ramp. Follow Rte 33 for approximately 4 miles. Take the second left (Depot Road) after the Squamscott Road traffic lights. Follow Depot Road to the end.
Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department