The logo for the International Cryptozoology Museum is a coelacanth, one of the science's great success stories. Believed to have gone extinct 65 million years ago, a specimen of the armored fish was caught off the coast of South Africa in 1938 and identified by museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer despite its false mustache. In the optimistic spirit of that amazing discovery, the International Cryptozoology Museum displays exhibits profiling such mysterious creatures as Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Jersey Devil, along with lesser known beasties such as the Dover Demon, the Montauk Monster, and the Fiji Mermaid.
Segway Tours of Portland gears up for the Halloween season by visiting notable haunts of the Casco Bay area and recounting sinister tales and little-known historical facts. Journeys commence with a 30-minute introduction to Segway technology and proper operation, including a brief history of the machine as well as tips on using its secret pogo function. From a starting point on Pearl Street, wheel-mounted adventurers embark on a 60-minute exploration of the waterfront and Munjoy Hill, as experienced guides describe spine-tingling tales of pirates and phantom naval officers via audio headsets. The tour pauses periodically to allow guests to take advantage of scenic photo ops or collect autographs from famous poltergeists at the East End Cemetery.
In the 1800s, windjammers and their mighty sails were a frequent sight up and down Maine's coast, where they would pull fish from the water and fill New England's insatiable need for goldfish crackers. By the 21st century, most had abandoned windjammers for engine-powered vessels—but not Hasket Derby Hildreth. A boat builder and mechanical engineer, Hildreth had a vision to re-create the windjammer's classic design on modern shores. Working with a friend who was a boat restorer, Hildreth and his team fashioned their own steel tools and built one of Portland's only engineless windjammers, which they affectionately christened Frances. Maine Sailing Adventures launched Frances in the fall of 2003. Though Hildreth has since passed away, his memory lives on through the legacy Frances continues to perpetuate with each voyage. Today, she can be found at Maine State Pier, where passengers board her shallow deck and sail out to enjoy Maine's scenic coasts without the noise or emissions typical of engine-powered boats. These trips stretch beyond standard tours, though. As they sail, the crew spins tails of Portland's maritime history, teaches passengers how to hoist the topsail, and transforms the boat into a floating classroom, where students can learn about lobster migration and how many wishes they can get from a starfish.
Bubbles break the surface of the water as the beast makes its way upward for a breath of fresh air. Suddenly, her back can be seen atop the waves as her spout releases a geyser-like explosion of air and water. From the decks of Odyssey Whale Watch’s vessels, passengers take in sights such as these and further their understanding of the creatures with the help of an on-board naturalist, who identifies humpback, finback, and minke whale species. His job is made all the easier by the cruise ship’s captain, an experienced mariner who has committed to memory the most densely populated feeding areas for Maine’s massive mammalian residents, which often hang out about 20 miles off shore. In addition to whale-watching tours, Odyssey Whale Watch takes passengers out on deep-sea fishing trips to reel in cod, haddock, and mackerel.
Vibrant wildflowers grow over acres of fields, streams trickle through woodlands, and birdwatchers gaze at creatures in flight. The scenery at Skyline Farm can be breathtaking, and thanks to a group of dedicated locals, 46 acres of its land are guarded in a conservation easement held by the Royal River Conservation Trust. These protected lands stay open to the public, who can explore a 1.7-mile trail network or attend antique auto gatherings and music festivals. The farm's grounds are also home to the Skyline Farm Carriage Museum, which displays classic vehicles used before Henry Ford discovered that there was a car in his garage.
From their outposts in Portland and Falmouth, Maine Surfers Union outfits aquatic adventurers with surf and paddle boards before sending them off to enjoy watery recreation. The staff boasts more than a decade of experience in the surfing industry, lending them the confidence to recommend specific gear from an inventory of boards by Hobie, McDermott, and Bing. They also set thrill-seekers up with rental surf and paddle boards, available in time increments from two-hour blocs to week-long rentals—long enough for beginners to get the hang of standing up, catching waves, and scaring off feral dolphins by shouting "cowabunga."