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."
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.
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.
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."