Look at iOS Troubleshooting Wi-Fi networks and connections http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1398
iPad: Issues connecting to Wi-Fi networks http://support.apple.com/kb/ts3304
iOS: Recommended settings for Wi-Fi routers and access points http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4199
Additional things to try.
Try this first. Turn Off your iPad. Then turn Off (disconnect power cord for 30 seconds or longer) the wireless router & then back On. Now boot your iPad. Hopefully it will see the WiFi.
Go to Settings>Wi-Fi and turn Off. Then while at Settings>Wi-Fi, turn back On and chose a Network.
Change the channel on your wireless router (Auto or Channel 6 is best). Instructions at http://macintoshhowto.com/advanced/how-to-get-a-good-range-on-your-wireless-netw ork.html
Another thing to try - Go into your router security settings and change from WEP to WPA with AES.
How to Quickly Fix iPad 3 Wi-Fi Reception Problems
If none of the above suggestions work, look at this link.
iPad Wi-Fi Problems: Comprehensive List of Fixes
Fix iPad Wifi Connection and Signal Issues http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwWtIG5jUxE
Fix Slow WiFi Issue https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2398063?start=60&tstart=0
Unable to Connect After iOS Update - saw this solution on another post.
Note - When troubleshooting wifi connection problems, don't hold your iPad by hand. There have been a few reports that holding the iPad by hand, seems to attenuate the wifi signal.
If any of the above solutions work, please post back what solved your problem. It will help others with the same problem.
Since you're an iPad newbie ....
You can download a complete iPad User Guide here: http://manuals.info.apple.com/en/ipad_user_guide.pdf
Also, Good Instructions http://www.tcgeeks.com/how-to-use-ipad-2/
Apple - iPad - Guided Tours
Watch the videos see all the amazing iPad apps in action. Learn how to use FaceTime, Mail, Safari, Videos, Maps, iBooks, App Store, and more.
How to - Articles & User Guides & Tutorials
iPad How-Tos http://ipod.about.com/lr/ipad_how-tos/903396/1/
You can download this guide to your iPad.
iPad User Guide for iOS 5