To get up close and personal with the wildlife in the Lakes Region, visit the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. Four nature paths weave through the woods and around the marsh. The highlight is the Gephart Trail, leading past trailside enclosures that are home to various creatures, including bobcats, fishers (a kind of marten), mountain lions and a bald eagle. Note that last admission to the trail is at 3:30pm.
The best boat tours of Squam Lake are run by the center; among other tours, it offers pontoon-boat cruises that observe the loons and eagles, visit sites from On Golden Pond or watch the sun set over the lake. Combination tickets for the center and tour are available.
Children will love the Gordon Interactive Playscape, which invites kids to assume the role of red squirrels as they climb, crawl, swing, balance and slide through a series of structures, learning about predator-prey relationships as they go.
The nearby Kirkwood Gardens (free), featuring many species of New England native shrubs and flowers, are specially designed to attract birds and butterflies.