Customers choose their own adventures when renting a kayak from Sebago Trails Paddling Co. Father-and-daughter team Bill and Katelyn Allen and their friend and business partner Virginia Arsenault use more than 30 years of business, kayaking, and local knowledge to suggest more than 30 adventures within 12 miles of the kayak rental site. Life-jacket-adorned paddlers explore a historic hand-operated lock from the 1830s, venture through the historic ruins of Gambo Mills, or head to one of the various beaches as their colorful kayak glides through the water, slicing the gentle waves with its bright red nose.
Moose and Photo Safaris relies on the expertise of two expert spotters: Dale, who brings 55 years of residency to the table, and Vicki, a trained professional photographer. Together, the duo whisks vanloads of sightseers to known moose hideouts to set up expertly framed shots of the animals and the puppeteers that control them. Depending on where the action was last, the guides might take their visitors anywhere within Baxter State Park's 200,000 untouched acres on some of the same roads traversed by the stars of the Discovery Channel’s American Loggers. To view the types of snapshots possible on each tour, check out the company’s Facebook page.
Urban Farm Fermentory aims to obtain as much of its ingredients from the local community as possible—even its founder, Eli Cayer, is a Maine native. At the Fermentory, juice pressed from Maine apples is allowed to ferment under the direction of yeast that occurs naturally in the air and on the fruit itself, producing a cider that is as tart as it is dry. Raw Maine honey goes into the experimental center’s crisp mead, and its kombucha is sure to please lovers of fermented tea and displease the ghost of Earl Grey. As it expands, the Urban Farm Fermentory is coming to serve as a hub for local artisans, providing a space for enthusiasts to provide workshops in such fields as making lacto-fermented foods such as kimchi, and harvesting mushrooms.
Whale watching was a relatively new concept when John Fish's grandfather started giving tours. "We kind of originated it," Mr. Fish says. "Thirty years ago we were the only ones doing whale watching." As the company became more successful over the years, additional captains were brought on to cover the demand. Today, these crews continue to ferry groups into the habitats of several whale species, including humpback whales and sperm whales. Though the whales seen along Cap'n Fish's Whale Watch's journeys still breach and refuse to sign autographs, other things have changed over the years. Below deck, the current fleet's engines work to reduce emissions and provide a fume-free experience. Above deck, 360-degree viewing decks and modern technology help bring whales into sight. Onboard computers display large maps of where the aquatic mammals are known to swim, and GPS systems reroute boats around mermen constructing new reefs. In addition to illuminating the behavior of whales for passengers, the crew's wildlife experts point passengers toward other animals they spot along the way, such as white-sided dolphins and harbor seals. Though some variables are beyond their control, the crew members almost always spot whales and boasted a 98% success rate in 2009.
The 4-year-old lion Mufasa Obama roams his cage, purring between bites of raw meat, as his sister, Tawana, roars behind him. Mufasa, dubbed “Maine’s Little Lion King” by D.E.W. Animal Kingdom and Sanctuary’s caretakers Bob and Julie Miner, may be the nonprofit sanctuary’s most visible inhabitant, but he’s far from its only attraction. Across 43 acres of land, the roars and deep purrs of big cats mix with the quacks of ducks and the snorts of pigs. A staff of volunteers tends to gibbons, spider monkeys, and lemurs as they swing from trees inside a primate enclosure. Meanwhile, orphaned and injured native-Maine animals such as owls are sequestered for rehabilitation before being released back into the wild or signed for exclusive Tootsie Pops endorsements.:m]]
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."
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