Are your children getting antsy and clamoring for something fun to do this summer? On the next three pages, we've rounded up a list of exciting places filled with adven- ture right in our backyard and in nearby New Hampshire -- from new escape rooms at Canobie Lake Park to a chance to see a baby Colobos monkey at Southwick's Zoo. Check out some destinations for summer fun, either for a day or for an extended stay.
Canobie Lake Park (Salem, N.H.)
What's new: "We've actually spent quite a bit of time this year revamping the entertainment experience, largely involving our gaming operations, so we have a new area called the Puzzle Rooms, which is similar to escape rooms," spokesperson Chris Nicoli told The Sun.
Also new is an open-air pavilion in the center of the park, where Nicoli said there are arcade games and expanded seating, as well as cellphone charging stations.
Biggest attraction: Canobie Lake Park's roller coasters are the biggest attractions, according to Nicoli.
"Specifically, our Yankee Cannonball Roller Coaster, which is a large wooden roller coaster that has been at the park since 1936," he said. "And then we also have a Corkscrew coaster as well as our newest roller coaster, Untamed."
Distance from Lowell: About 15 miles
How long has it been around? Since 1902
Admission Fee: General admission, $38; under 48 inches or over age 60, $29; ages 3 and under, free. Free parking.
Southwick's Zoo (Mendon, Mass.)
What's new: "We have new Red River hogs and our Colobos monkeys just had a baby," said Cindy Lavoie, a vice president of the Mendon-based zoo. "We have a new maze, and it actually has a conservation message to it, which is really great."
Biggest attraction: The zoo's giraffe habitats and, according to Lavoie, the lions, tigers, cheetahs and leopard.
Distance from Lowell: About 50 miles
How long has it been around? Since 1963
Admission Fee: Adults, $25; children 3-12 years, $20; 62 and over, $8.
Clark's Trading Post (Lincoln, N.H.)
What's new: "Arevik Seyranyan will be returning for the first time in seven or eight years with her circus act for hand-balancing," said Nola C. Grant, a member of the family that owns Clark's Trading Post. "She was here when she was just a young girl and has come back to be with us this summer. She will be joining Yandong Chinese Acrobats."
Also new this year is a remake of Tuttle's Rustic House into Tuttle's Shooting Gallery, a laser shooting game.
Biggest attraction: The bear show. "People are very interested in the history of the show, how we treat our animals, and the intelligence that they can show when working with them," Grant said.
Distance from Lowell: About 120 miles
How long has it been around? Since 1928
Admission Fee: During regular season, general admission for ages 4-64, $22; ages 65 and over, $20; military with valid ID, $20; ages 1-3, free. For season passes, $70 for general admission for ages 4-64, seniors and military with valid ID; free for ages 1-3.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston (Somerville, Mass.)
What's new: LEGOCity Builder, an interactive city to which visitors can add their own elements and designs right into the display, opened in February. It includes skyscrapers, police and fire stations, cafes, suburban streets, beaches and more.
Biggest attraction: Mini Land, which features mini LEGO-BUILT versions of the Boston area's landmark buildings, such as Faneuil Hall and Gillette Stadium, according to spokesperson Courtney Megliola.
Distance from Lowell: About 25 miles
How long has it been around? Since 2014
Admission Fee: Admission at the door, $23 per person; online price starts at $14.95; toddlers under 2, free.
Story Land (Glen, N.H.)
What's new: "We started a new character appearance area called Character Cove. At Character Cove, kids can go and meet our three mascots. They're there pretty much all day," said Lauren Hawkins, marketing director of Story Land. "We didn't have them available all day long before."
Biggest attraction: "I'd say our most popular attraction, at this moment, would be our newest ride, which came in 2014 -- that's our wooden roller coaster, Roar-o-Saurus," Hawkins said.
Distance from Lowell: About 140 miles
How long has it been around? Since 1954
Admission Fee: Day tickets for ages 3 and over, $33.99; ages 1 and 2, free; 60 and over, $30.99.
Conway Scenic Railroad (North Conway, N.H.)
Biggest attraction: "We have a 'Day Out with Thomas' event that's hugely popular," said Susan Logan, manager of marketing and events at Conway Scenic Railroad. "That event is our big summer attraction. We're talking about 3-to-5-year-olds, but in terms of young families, Thomas is hugely popular ... almost like a cult following."
According to a release, "Day Out with Thomas: The Friendship Tour 2017" includes a 25-minute ride with Thomas (plus an optional ride with Percy), and a meet-and-greet with Sir Topham Hatt, controller of the railway. The event takes place this summer over the course of two weeks -- July 21-23 and July 28-30. Tickets for "Day Out with Thomas" are on sale now; anyone interested in the event can call 866-468-7630 or visit www.ticketweb.com/dowt.
Distance from Lowell: About 135 miles
How long has it been around? The station has been there since the 1870s, but the Conway Scenic Railroad as a tourist attraction has been there since 1974.
Admission Fee: Prices for adults start at $17.50; children ages 4-12, $12.50; children under 4, free in coach seating.
Santa's Village (Jefferson, N.H.)
Biggest attraction: "The park features rides, live and animated shows, visits with Santa and his reindeer, and other memorable activities," said Becky Sullivan, marketing partner for Santa's Village.
Distance from Lowell: About 160 miles
How long has it been around? Since 1953
Admission Fee: Ages 4 and older, $32; ages 1-3, free with a paid adult; ages 62 and over, $29. If you enter Santa's Village within three hours of closing, you are given a return pass to go to Santa's Village the following day.
Water Country (Portsmouth, N.H.)
What's new: "This year, we are replacing the pirate ship that we've had for a very long time," said Brendan Striebe, assistant marketing manager at Water Country. "It's got a few slides on it."
Biggest attraction: "I would say our biggest attraction for thrill-seekers are Dr. Von Dark's Tunnel of Terror and Dragon's Den," said sales & marketing manager Lorraine Petrini.
Distance from Lowell: About 55 miles
How long has it been around? Since 1984
Admission Fee: Monday-Friday, $39.99 for those 48 inches and taller; $27.99 for those under 48 inches; ages 65 and over, $27.99. Saturday and Sunday, If purchased online, prices remain the same as those Monday-Friday; if purchased at park, it's $44.99 for those 48 inches and taller; $29.99 for people under 48 inches and ages 65 and over.
And don't forget:
Coco Key Danvers
Old Sturbridge Village
York Animal Park