VISITING WITH CHILDREN
Castle in the Clouds is a fun place to spend the day with your entire family. Much of the property is open for our guests to discover at their leisure so feel free to take as much or as little time as you’d like exploring. Please note that while entering the property via our main gate that provides access to our 3-mile scenic road does require the payment of Castle admission, you can enter the property to enjoy the rest of the grounds at no cost through our Ossipee Park Rd. entrance.
We were awarded a Silver medal for Best Family Attraction in the 2019 Best of the Lakes Region peoples’ choice contest!
Toggle between the below activities to learn how you can enjoy a day at the Castle fit for all generations!
UPDATE: For the health and safety of our visitors and staff, hands-on interactive activities at the Castle will not be available during the 2020 season. We hope you will still enjoy touring the beautiful Lucknow mansion and take advantage of the other ways to explore the property as a family!
The Lucknow mansion is a historic house museum and 90% of its furnishings are original. While touching of objects inside the mansion is very limited in order to preserve these historic pieces, children can enjoy the following hands-on activities:
- Sew Simple! A learn-to-stitch activity in the Attendant’s Room. Geared toward young children (ages 3-7).
- What is it? Hand tool activity in the Kitchen. Can be enjoyed by children and adults!
- Letters from Lucknow. Letter writing or picture drawing activity in the Green Room. For all ages.
- Curator’s Quest. Scavenger hunt for all children (young children will need help from a parent or guardian). See a Castle guide in the Main Hall for more information.
- Lucknow Look & Learn. Castle exploration activity for families. See a Castle guide in the Main Hall for more information; limited card sets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Plus, riding the vintage trolley up to the Castle can be an exciting experience for many ages!
If you’re visiting with small children, please keep in mind that for the protection of the mansion’s historic collections, car seats, strollers and back-pack baby carriers (both metal-framed and frameless) are not be permitted inside the mansion. Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older.
We appreciate your cooperation as we share this special estate with the public while making every effort to preserve it for future generations!
Photo by Outdoor Project Contributor Stephanie Graudons
Entering the property through our main gate provides access to the one-way, scenic road that offers fun pit-stops for all generations! Drive by a giant glacial erratic named The Pebble and once you reach waterfall parking, hop out so the family can get a closer look. Take a short walk to the Falls of Song, a 40-foot waterfall (the property’s tallest one) and then continue your drive to a beautiful vista for stunning views that make the perfect backdrop for a family photo. Once you’ve reached the visitor parking lot, the grounds are yours to safely explore!
NOTE: This road does require the payment of Castle admission, or a $10 per car scenic road fee. We do have a no-fee property entrance located at 586 Ossipee Park Rd. for those that wish to enjoy the grounds without touring the Lucknow mansion.
Shannon Pond is a 5-acre, man-made pond home to rainbow trout and many friendly ducks. Children of all ages enjoy walking onto the dock to feed the fish from fish-food dispensers – the trout often jump right out of the water to catch their food! The fish food dispensers accept quarters only, so be sure to bring some for your visit! Please do not bring your own food to feed the trout as foreign foods can be harmful to their digestive systems.
Café in the Clouds offers ice cream, snacks and light fare for the hungry visitor! A walk-up counter and outdoor, picnic-style seating makes this a great lunch time spot for families who’d like a quick bite during their visit. Who doesn’t love a delicious, cold ice cream at the end of a family outing?
Riding in the Clouds offers trail rides, pony rides and carriage rides 7 days a week during the open season! To make a riding reservation, please call them directly at 603-476-8350. Day-of riding requests may be accommodated based on availability.
The beautiful and relaxing trail ride takes you through the lush meadow, by Shannon Pond, and onto wooded trails with a stop at an overlook providing beautiful views of Lake Winnipesaukee. All the horses are gentle and good for riders of all levels. Riders will be matched with a horse that will accommodate their riding ability, no experience necessary.
Children who are too young to trail ride (under 8 years old) will be guided by an adult on one of the trail horses and taken for a walk down to Shannon Pond and back.
Enjoy a ride through the paved sections of the property in a classic horse-drawn carriage or wagon.
There are 28 miles of hiking and walking trails expertly managed by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust (LRCT) accessible from multiple trail heads on the property. Trail options vary from easy to strenuous, from taking a leisurely stroll through the woods to hiking to a mountain summit. Trail maps are available for purchase at the gift shop, and there is a large map of the trails located at each trail head for reference. You may also visit the LRCT’s Castle Conservation Area web page for details on each trail available.
Depending on what trails you choose, you can encounter quiet wooded scenes, epic vistas, waterfalls, and an abundance of wildlife. Ask a Castle team member for trail recommendations based on your interests, or feel free to contact the LRCT at 603-253-3301 to speak with the experts. There is also an interpretive trail that is great for children, with signs that point out unique trail features and prompt trail-goers to look closely at the nature around them.
As always when on the trail, be sure to wear proper footwear, dress appropriately for the day’s weather, and bring plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and fueled! Bug repellent is encouraged. Please respect all wildlife and follow trail etiquette of “leave no trace”, carrying out all trash and personal belongings so the trails remain natural for both the ecosystem and other hikers.
Our gallery space is located on the first floor of the Carriage House, and may be of interest to children ages 13+ or those with a special interest in history. Exhibit content and themes change every few years – visit our Exhibit Gallery page to see what’s currently showing in this space!
Admission is not required to access the Carriage House or enjoy the exhibit.
We offer a wide variety of programs and events for all ages and interests throughout the year, often teaming with our partners at the Lakes Region Conservation Trust and Moultonborough Recreation Department to offer free programs for families. Be sure to browse our Program Calendar to see what activities are available during your visit!
Some of our family-favorite programs include:
Solar Gazing with the NH Astronomical Society (FREE)
Family Camp Out
Castle Car Show
Star Gazing with the NH Astronomical Society (FREE)
Family Fun Day (FREE)
Halloween Pumpkin Walk (FREE)
Christmas at the Castle (FREE children’s activities in the Carriage House)