Polar Caves Park

My favorite stop during our family trip through the New Hampshire lakes district was the Polar Caves Park in Rumney, New Hampshire.

I admit I was skeptical at first: the park looks a little funky with giant (and somewhat weather-worn) polar bear statues and a cheesy gift shop at the entrance. But once we entered the park and started up the wooden walkway to the caves, I took back every snide comment. The scenery is beautiful, the caves are dark and refreshingly cool, and there’s even a little zoo at the entrance with some surprisingly exotic pheasants.

The cave tours are unguided, but you can bypass any one of them if it looks a little too cramped for your comfort. They are surprisingly fun to navigate, with a good number of tricky spots and tight quarters. We managed all but one cave with a three year old, and part of the fun was letting him figure out how to scramble up and down the boulders and explore each nook and cranny.

A few tips will help you get the most out of your visit. First, the website says that the park opens at 9am, when actually, the gift shop opens at 9 and the rest of the park opens at 10. We’re early birds, so we showed up well before the park opened and had to spend about 45 minutes wandering around a gift shop with a toddler. Enough said. Second, strollers and baby backpacks are not allowed in the caves and they mean it: there is no way you’ll get through the caves with a stroller, and there’s only one or two where a backpack might fit. That being said, we had a 10-month-old in a front carrier and went through all but one or two caves.

Distance from the interstate: Five miles off I-93.

Date last visited: August 24, 2011

Hours of operation: Polar Caves Park is a seasonal park, and is open until October 16. Hours are for ticket sales; the park is open a little later, but tickets must be bought during the following hours: summer hours are 9am–5pm, and fall hours are 10am¬–4:30pm.

Ticket prices: Ages 11 and up: $15, ages 4–10: $11, under 4: free

Food services: Food can be bought in the main lodge, but there is also a nice picnic area with barbeques available (the website even mentions that you’re welcome to borrow barbeque tools if needed!).

Contact info: http://www.polarcaves.com/ (603) 536-1888

Directions: Polar Caves Park is located at 705 Route 25, Rumney, NH 03266. From I-93, take exit 26 for New Hampshire 3/New Hampshire 25/Plymouth/Rumney, then merge onto New Hampshire 3A S/Tenney Mountain Hwy. At the traffic circle, take the 1st exit onto NH-25 W, then turn left onto Old Route 25.

About the author

Kate Lepore AUTHOR: Kate Lepore is Pit Stops for Kids' east coast editor and a mother of two preschool-aged children. Kate makes her home in Western Massachusetts when not traveling. Find Kate at Google.

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  1. This brings back a lot of happy memories. The teens made a number of trips to the polar caves in their youth – the favorite was always Lemon Squeeze!

  2. Glad you enjoyed our park! It is the year our Polar Bears on the sign get touched up. I also would like to point out that you listed our correct hours of operation above. In the fall we move to a 10am opening and in the summer it is 9am. Thanks and we look forward to your next visit and we are always working on improving our park!

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