5,000 square feet of indoor rock walls outfitted for top-rope belaying and bouldering entertain guests of all experience levels at Maine Rock Gym. Visitors can partner up to climb meandering problems across varying angles and overhangs while staff climbers remain on hand to serve as belayers and to fend off curious mountain goats. Indoor, onsite clinics instruct climbers at introductory or advanced levels, and guides lead outdoor excursions to Maine's granite cliffs and New Hampshire's White Mountains. The gym also sets up a portable climbing tower at outdoor events and orchestrates team-building challenges, which improve communication and problem-solving skills more effectively than trying to teach the quadratic equation through interpretive dance.
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.
At The BIG Adventure, summer campers, families, and even large group functions such as birthday parties spend quality time conquering myriad activities. While patrons can take their try at laser tag and indoor rock-climbing year-round, they as well can navigate the greens of the mini-golf course from spring until fall, or hurtle down water slides from mid-June through Labor Day. Visitors can also test their mettle against virtual villains in the arcade, which is flush games such as Ms. Pac Man and air hockey. In winter months, The BIG Adventure offers nearby off-mountain fun after a day on Bethel's ski slopes.