When approaching the Science and Nature Center at Seabrook Station, there are just a few, subtle signs that this is not your average educational venue. First, you will have to stop at the security checkpoint, hand over your i.d., receive a handout with instructions to follow in the event of a nuclear emergency, and then proceed past the guard armed with a high-powered rifle. You know, little stuff. But once in, the place closely resembles most other similarly sized nature centers. The interpretive exhibits are very basic, and sometimes weird (the write-up on the sand dollar, for instance, is all about how some people believe the sand dollar is a visual representation of the birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ. Um, ok.) But a touch tank is a touch tank, and this one is well stocked with the usual tidepool suspects.
The exhibits on nuclear power paint the rosy, kind of cheeseball “nothing-to-be-alarmed-about-citizens” picture you might expect from the company that runs the station, but they’re not inaccurate on the main points–nuclear power is pretty clean, the station is not constantly irradiating local residents, you get more radiation from a dental xray, and so on.
Outside, there’s 3/4 mile, well-maintained nature trail including a boardwalk out into the salt marsh and through the adjoining woods. A wildlife blind gives fine views of wading birds and the nuclear reactor in one glance. And on your way out of the center, you can pick up nuclear swag! My boys got Next Era Energy pencils and little plastic pinwheels. Sweet.
Overall, I recommend this place. After all, in the event of nuclear catastrophe, we’re no worse off on the grounds of the station that we are here at home a few miles away, so why not take advantage of the free touch tank, small number of mostly functional exhibits, and a really quite lovely short trail perfect for little kids. You might learn a little bit too. And the security checkpoint/rifle guys are very friendly.