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."
Since the first swing in 1962, Pine Hill Golf Club & Course has been an oasis of outdoor recreation for golfers to hunt birdies and pars. The 9-hole course actually plays like an 18-hole course due to the two sets of tee boxes on each hole, which present unique approaches and shot-making opportunities when looped twice over. As an 18-hole course, the layout stretches 5,571 yards for a par 72. Golfers of all ages and ability levels delight in the course's numerous opportunities to overcome challenges and wave flagsticks over a conquered green.
Prior to a round, golfers hone swings at the driving range, where all-grass tee boxes mimic the feel of on-course shots. For a better grasp on the game, players can book a lesson with PGA professional Mark Hall, who offers corrective advice to improve swing mechanics, such as how to develop consistent muscle memory or how to maximize drives with a bedazzled scepter. An on-site snack bar refuels hungry golfers and a pro shop carries select equipment and apparel.
Course at a Glance:
At Playland Adventures, bowlers don’t need a bowling ball. They are the bowling ball. Safely ensconced in a globe, players get to experience what it’s like to hurtle down a bowling lane without getting tackled by security. This sport joins the bevy of other interactive activities hosted by Playland Adventures, which range from boxing with jumbo mitts to jousting with cushioned cylinders and trying to slam-dunk during basketball bungee. Adjacent to these challenges, the bounce zone invites jumpers age 2 and older to leap about in bounce houses, navigate obstacle courses, and whoosh down a pair of 22’ high inflated slides.
Playland Adventures also cools down guests during the warmer months with the splash zone, where inflatable slides lead into shallow, chlorinated pools. A fleet of ZORB globes allows kids to roll around in inflated spheres, and an airborne ride lets wee ones slip into harnesses and parachute upwards in a shuttle-shaped inflatable.
With an experienced guide at the helm, eager explorers pile into Maine Rafting Expedition’s brightly colored rafts, ready to crash over rumbling rapids throughout Maine’s rivers. Their excursions suit adventurers of all abilities, from more relaxed family- and kid-friendly jaunts through the Penobscot River’s Class III and IV rapids to white-knuckle-inducing trips through Canada Falls’ Class-V rapids and a 20-foot waterfall. The most popular trip runs down 16 miles of the Penobscot River, whose Class IV and V rapids offer a heart-pumping ride for paddlers and wild moose aged 14 and up. The seasoned guides also lead overnight expeditions, which break for slumber at fully equipped campsites along the river. On every trip, rafters can fuel up with the included riverside barbecues and commemorate their journeys with photos and videos available for purchase.
Chris Strout picked up his first paddle as a teenager, beginning an ongoing exploration of the Mount Desert Island area’s diverse waterways. Now, as a master guide and certified as a Level II standup paddleboard instructor by the American Canoe Association, Chris shares his passion for Maine’s dramatic terrain through SUP rentals, as well as lessons, tours, and morning SUP yoga. Within Alpenglow Adventure Sports, Chris supplies clients with high-quality gear from brands such as BIC Sport SUP and Hyperflex Wetsuits. He also recommends what to bring, and posts an FAQ page to answer questions such as, “Is the board better in water or deep fried?”