General Public Programs

The Great Bay Discovery Center hosts a variety of programs for the general public throughout the year. Each is designed to help you and your family discover the unique natural and cultural resources of the Great Bay Estuary.

Guided Kayak Tours

Kayak prow at shoreline

Join the Great Bay Discovery Center’s Interpretive Naturalists as they guide you through the fascinating habitats of the Great Bay Estuary. Explore secluded tidal creeks, rocky shores and salt marsh. Watch osprey dive for fish and herons as they gracefully glide across the water.

Each two- to four-hour experience includes basic instruction on how to safely enter and exit your kayak and paddling techniques and strokes. All kayaks, necessary equipment, and safety items are included, but you may use your own kayaks if you prefer.

While paddling experience is not necessary, kayaking is a moderate to vigorous activity and you will spend approximately up to two hours on the water. The remainder of your time will be spent receiving instruction, assisting guides in loading and unloading boats, and washing down and putting away equipment at the end of your paddle. We look forward to your enthusiastic participation from start to finish!

Contact Kelle Loughlin for more information.

We have not made any decisions about the 2021 kayak season yet.  We hope to offer “bring your own boat” programs and will update this page once a decision has been made.

Bayventures for Kids

During 2021 we will feature Bayventure Grab and Go kits….self guided learning oportunities for familes!  Weekly themes will be listed in a Facebook event and on our website on the calendar of events. We hope to continue these kits through August.  To learn more about this please read our blog post.

Are you looking for an outdoor estuary adventure for your children? Look no further. Bayventures is an environmental education program series based at the Great Bay Discovery Center in the summer and winter (bundle up!)

  • Summer Bayventures, 2021: We will offer small in person programs this summer for children ages 6-11 where they can enjoy looking for wildlife signs, exploring the mudflats, seining for fish in Great Bay, and more. Programs would be Wednesdays in July, 9:30 am to 12 pm, all outdoor, and registration is required.  Please see the flyer for more details and contact Beth with questions or to register.

  • Winter Bayventures: Children in first through sixth grades can enjoy a day of exploring wildlife signs, bird feeding, how maple syrup is made, Native American winter survival techniques, and more. Held during the week of February Winter Vacation or winter Teacher Workshop Days. Programs are from 10:00 am  to 2:00 pm. Registration is required and the cost is $25 for Great Bay Stewards members and $30 for non-members. Call 778-0015 to register. Contact Beth Heckman for more information.

child looking at fallen tree

Once Upon an Estuary for Kids

Kids aged two to five will love these hour-long hands on programs at our Great Bay Discovery Center. All kids must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is required and the cost is $3/child or $5/family (no fee for parents/guardians).  Call 778-0015 to register.

  • Once Upon a Winter Estuary: On select Thursdays in January, February, and March, 10:30 to 11:30 am. Come dressed ready for some wintry fun outdoors! This series engages kids through outdoor activities and games, followed by story time, a craft, and hot cocoa.
    toddler playing in woods
  • Once Upon a Summer Estuary: On Thursdays in July and August. Children will listen to a story, play a game, and make a craft that follows the weekly theme of the older children’s Bayventures summer program.
    • The summer 2021 programs
      are on hold until further notice.

Contact Kelsey Hanson for more information.


Winter Lunch & Learn Series

Enjoy your lunch hour engaged in an adult lecture series, featuring local presenters discussing a variety of issues relevant to the Great Bay Estuary and its history. These free programs are open to the public and normally held at noon on select winter weekdays.  For the 2021 season all lectures will be held via Zoom. Registration is not required.  The 2021 lectures will be recorded and can be found on our YouTube Channel.

Please see our Calendar of Events page for details about scheduled programs. Or contact Melissa Brogle for more information.  The Zoom link can be found on the Calendar of Events details page and in our Facebook event.

Jan 21st, 2020, History of Glenn Cove
February 18th, 2020, Animal Movements
March 11th, 2020, Nutrient Processing in Great Bay

Baywalks-Guided Public Programs

Everyone can have fun searching for mud snails, holding a horseshoe crab, or watching a flounder swim! Baywalks are perfect for small groups, including summer camps, Scout troops, or senior citizen groups. Your program can be tailored to meet your group’s needs, but generally includes a guided exploration of our waterfront and a facilitated experience at our Discovery Tank.

A staff member or experienced volunteer educator will be your guide during this interactive interpretive experience. Designed for a minimum of 8 participants, a two-week advanced registration is required. Call 778-0015 to schedule a Baywalk or contact Kelsey Hanson for more information.

Program Cost:

1-8 people @ $50.00 group rate

9-16 people @ $100.00 group rate

17-24 people @ $150.00 group rate

Get in Touch with Us

There are many education and resources at the Great Bay Reserve. Please contact us if you have questions.

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