Acadia Air Tours grants passengers a birds-eye view of the coastal scenery of Acadia National Park and its surrounding environs—all while maintaining a respectful distance a half-mile outside the park boundaries to preserve the peace and quiet for park-goers down below. The company employs a fleet of biplanes that traverse the skies above Acadia on various tours. Each year, Acadia Air Tours donates flights to be auctioned off at various charity events.
Sporting three floors of exhibits on science, art, music, and more, the Maine Discovery Museum welcomes knowledge-hungry visitors with hands-on learning and family-friendly fun. Kids of all ages can ascend a two-story tree house and visit with live snakes and turtles at Nature Trails, then venture inside a giant human body in the Body Journey, where they can pump the heart, floss the teeth, and tickle the inner child with a mammoth moustache. The sound studio at Sounds Abound transforms kids into burgeoning Beatles and Beethovens as they create music videos and beatbox to different versions of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."
Though he was fed and cared for, the lion didn't have much room to roam aboard his owner's yacht. The owner didn't know what to do with the creature, which had grown too close to humans to socialize with other lions. So the owner reached out through a friend to Acadia Zoological Park, who took the lion in and gave him his own piece of land. Though the park's name has since changed to Kisma Preserve, the lion still lives on its grounds, alongside a host of other exotic animals that the three staff members have taken in from rehabilitation programs, zoos, and private owners. They care for a motley and majestic group of wolves, big cats, reptiles, birds, and primates in outdoor enclosures year-round.
The three guides—who also are handlers, feeders, and administrators—lead group tours among these habitats. During tours, they teach visitors the proper way to behave around the creatures and divulge details about the creatures' lives in the wild, as well as what brought them to the preserve. On animal encounters, zookeepers let visitors watch wolves during their daily socializing or feed and hold hands with gibbons, lemurs, and capuchin monkeys.
They can also grant visitors a closer look via private tours, in which guests experience one-on-one time with wolves, tortoises, alligators, and other animals. Though they love all the animals on their preserve, the guides are particularly proud of their tigers—a group of royal white and standard tigers, as well as one of only 50 known golden tabby tigers left in the world. Through each tour and encounter, the dedicated staff aims to engender the respect they have for these animals in others. To most visitors, that should come easily: as director Heather says about the tigers, "It's hard to stand in the presence of one and not feel something."
Staff Size: 1 person
Average Duration of Services: 4+ hours
Brands Used: P&H, Epic, NDK, Necky, Werner, Kokatat, NRS, Sea to Summit
Parking: Free street parking
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Full-day excursions
Recommended Age Group: Adults
Pro Tip: Dress appropriately for the weather
Apart from your business's main attraction, do you offer any "hidden" services or activities that visitors are always delighted to learn about?
We have a skills-based Quickstart Kayaking workshop for beginners and intermediate paddlers, as well as weekly sunset and sunrise excursions. We offer Epic Kayak workshops where you can try out your sea kayaking skills in these innovatively designed boats. We also provide comfy overnight accommodations.
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
We like to think that most folks can learn to paddle all day without getting tired, so firstly we'll provide you with an ultra-light carbon-fiber paddle, which is easy on the wrists and arms, and then we'll teach you some of the energy-efficient techniques you can use to help you get the most out of your paddling.
I'm a first-timer. How do you get me ready for the experience?
At the beginning of each excursion, we will plan the day's excursion using a nautical chart and have comprehensive on-the-water training in paddling technique and safety procedures. We also review what to do in an emergency situation. The planning and safety talk will take about an hour.
The northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail lies at the foot of Mount Katahdin. Beneath the mountain's silhouette, moose graze along the shorelines, and eagles roam the skies above Baxter State Park's chromatic woods. Nearby, outdoorsmen and environmental enthusiast Matt Polstein has unveiled the area's natural beauty and abundant adventure opportunities for more than 20 years through New England Outdoor Center.
During the early summer through fall, Polstein?s team leads whitewater-rafting adventures on the Penobscot River. The raucous waterway possesses a stretch that drops 70 feet per mile through a narrow, granite-walled canyon into Class V rapids with monikers such as Exterminator and Cribworks. Further excursions include trips on the Dead River and Kennebec River, as well as Family Float trips appropriate for kids as young as age 4. Come winter, Polstein rents snowmobiles so guests can zoom across the area's powdery expanses, perhaps to catch a view of the Northern Lights.
In addition to the plentiful year-round activities, New England Outdoor Center encompasses dining and lodging facilities, including cabins, green-built guesthouses, and campgrounds.
Staff Size: 11?25 people
Average Duration of Services: 4+ hours
Brands Used: White Water Rafting Maine - Kennebec, Penobscot, Dead Rivers
Pro Tip: Advance Reservations (2-6 weeks) required, vouchers only accepted with advance reservations and subject to availability.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Kennebec River Rafting
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
When and how did you first develop a passion for your work?
I began whitewater kayaking and rafting in 1980, and never turned back.
What special training do you or your staff have?
All river guides are Registered Maine Whitewater Guides. This requires extensive training and a state of Maine examination.
As the old adage says, "Stuff happens." What training do you and your staff have to stay ahead of the unexpected?
Extensive on-river and off-river training and company policies. 38 years experience.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
In addition to fun and exciting whitewater trips, Maine Whitewater offers kayaking, ATV tours, wildlife tours, snowmobile tours and packages including deluxe cabins, tent camping, RV camping, and meals at our Maine Resorts.