Shaking hands with a starfish, choreographing a puppet show, and drafting a system of roads and bridges in a single day no longer requires a college degree or being a Nickelodeon executive's son. At Children’s Discovery Museum, hands-on, informative exhibits engage kids' bodies and minds, meting out a palpable understanding of the world under the guise of role playing and interactive fun.
Children can introduce themselves to their coastal counterparts in the Touch Tank for Kids, where crabs scuttle and sea cucumbers swim away from predatory pickle jars. A bona fide Maine campground, equipped by L.L.Bean with tents, backpacks, and live animals, makes a great stomping ground for active legs and imparts the importance of conservation. A functional theater provides a venue for young directors to stage puppet shows and musicals, and bank counters and restaurant kitchens spark imaginative scenarios as kids learn the basics of counting change, preparing healthy meals, and coercing ketchup out of glass jars.
During the course of its more than 50-year history, the Maine Maritime Museum has amassed a collection of more than 21,000 artifacts, including 140 small watercraft. Knowledgeable docents unveil this collection on tours, as well as guided walks through two shipyards and a Victorian-era shipbuilder's house. In warmer weather, guides also dispense nautical trivia during cruises down the Kennebec River. A series of rotating exhibits have focused on naval architecture, examined mariners' relationships with weather, and traced the history of nautical humor.
Reservations/Appointments: Not offered
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1?2 hours
Pro Tip: Don't miss our collection of more than 60 antique autos, from a 1902 Rambler to a 1962 Rolls Royce.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Narrow Gauge Steam Train Rides
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
Apart from your business's main attraction, do you offer any "hidden" services or activities that visitors are always delighted to learn about?
Apart from the antique autos and our collection of trains and train-related items, we also care for more than 28 historic buildings and structures, including the original Freeport Station (c1912), moved here in 1964 when Maine Central Railroad stopped cargo service on that line. For more than fifty years LL Bean shipped packages around the world from that station. Other buildings on the grounds include a rare octagonal crossing shanty from Portland (c1905), Thorndike Station (c1871), Boothbay Town Hall (c1847), and Spruce Point Chapel (c1927).
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
Maine?s Merci boxcar is part of the permanent collection at the Boothbay Railway Village. A restoration of the car and its beautiful plaques, bearing the coats of arms of all of the provinces of France, was completed in 2009. The Merci Train was a train of 49 French railroad box cars filled with tens of thousands of gifts of gratitude from at least that many individual French citizens. They were showing their appreciation for the more than 700 American box cars of relief goods sent to them by (primarily) individual Americans in 1948. The Merci Train arrived in New York harbor on February 3rd, 1949 and each of the 48 American states at that time received one of the gift laden box cars. The 49th box car was shared by Washington D.C. and the Territory of Hawaii.
Founded in 1822, the Maine Historical Society is the third oldest state historical society in the nation, and curates museums, programs, and events to celebrate the state's long history. The MHS Museum features a collection of more than 15,000 artifacts, including pieces of Native American archaeological material, political memorabilia, and pictures of the first governor with his head caught in a lobster trap. The society's 1-acre campus is also home to the the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, the childhood home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poet best known for penning "Paul Revere's Ride" and The Song of Hiawatha. Membership to the society includes invitations to exhibit openings, member parties, lectures, trips, access to the Brown Research library, a subscription to the Maine History Journal, and a 10% discount at the museum store, web store, and all vintage Maine image purchases.
Segway Tours of Portland gears up for the Halloween season by visiting notable haunts of the Casco Bay area and recounting sinister tales and little-known historical facts. Journeys commence with a 30-minute introduction to Segway technology and proper operation, including a brief history of the machine as well as tips on using its secret pogo function. From a starting point on Pearl Street, wheel-mounted adventurers embark on a 60-minute exploration of the waterfront and Munjoy Hill, as experienced guides describe spine-tingling tales of pirates and phantom naval officers via audio headsets. The tour pauses periodically to allow guests to take advantage of scenic photo ops or collect autographs from famous poltergeists at the East End Cemetery.
The Narrow Gauge Railroad train ride takes guests on a 35- to 40-minute adventure in an antique 1846 railcar scooting along the restored 2-foot track. From the plush, velvety seats, visitors can peer at the abundance of sights, such as the 1875 Portland breakwater lighthouse and the elusive Frankenmoose, while listening to factual orations by the conductor or guest docent. After ingesting the panoramic Casco Bay from the tassel-framed glass windows, riders can peruse the past in the museum, which collects informative displays, historic railcars and interactive conductors.