Maine Wildlife Park Opening for the 2012 Season
GRAY MAINE — The Maine Wildlife Park on Route 26 in Gray will be opening for the 2012 season at 9:30am on Saturday April 14th this year. With close to 97,000 visitors during 2011, we are looking forward to welcoming both returning and new folks this year.
Visitors will be enjoying a new, state of the art mountain lion exhibit, funded by the Friends of the Maine Wildlife Park and the Park itself. This new, spacious exhibit is a total of 3500 square feet, the largest exhibit of its kind in New England! It features boulders, caves and large trees to simulate cougar’s natural habitat; as well as large glass viewing panels the length of the exhibit to allow for wonderful viewing and photography opportunities.
With the relocation of the mountain lions, our 4 bobcats have moved into the former cougar exhibit, giving them much more room to roam both horizontally and vertically. This active family of wild cats should provide great viewing for Park visitors.
In 2011, over 8100 visitors took advantage of our free, guided audio tour of the park’s exhibits via their own personal cell phones! By dialing the access number provided, and punching in the number of the exhibit they’d like to hear more about, a short recording gives fun wildlife facts, information and history about the individual animal(s) being viewed. The most popular animals were surprisingly the fisher and the raccoon – for the 2nd year in a row!
Over 20 weekend events have been scheduled throughout the summer and into the fall, as well. Our kick off day is May 5, with Maine’s Big Cats and the grand opening of the new Mountain Lion Exhibit. Other weekend presentations throughout the summer include the Endangered Species Coalition, Sparks Ark, ATV Maine, the Ancient Ones, Maine Apple Day and much more. The Final Charge, a museum quality re-creation of the final battle between 2 adult bull moose with antlers locked together will be exhibited at the park through the week of August 18th.
The wildlife park will be open just in time for school vacation in April, so pack up the kids and a picnic and plan a day long visit. There’s plenty to see and do, with lots of room for the kids to roam. Hope to see you this year!
The Maine Wildlife Park has over 30 species of native wildlife on display, plus wildlife gardens, nature trails, a fish hatchery and other interactive exhibits and displays. The park is open daily from April 15 through November 11th from 9:30am-4:30pm; visitors must exit the premises by 6:00pm.
Admission to the park is free for ages 3 and under; $5.00 ages 5-12; $7.00 for adults, and $5.00 for seniors. Groups of 15 or more are $3.50 per person. Bring a picnic and spend the day! Family and Community Season Passes are available, and are an incredible bargain for families and groups that visit the park several times over the course of the summer.
The Maine Wildlife Park is owned and operated by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The park exists to promote an understanding and awareness of the wildlife, conservation and habitat protection programs and projects of MDIFW.
A summer series of wildlife exhibits and demonstrations provided for our visitors are offered throughout the season at the MAINE WILDLIFE PARK, located on Route 26 in Gray. ‘Summer Wildlife Days’ are held on consecutive weekends through the summer, and are sponsored by the Friends of the Maine Wildlife Park. Presenters featuring a variety of wildlife topics set up their exhibits and demonstrations from roughly 11:00am to 2:00pm (unless otherwise noted) on most Saturdays and some full weekends. We encourage our visitors to stop by, observe, ask questions and even participate in some activities.
A popular and unusual ‘Night Visit’ is also scheduled, when the park opens on a moonlight evening for a Saturday July 14th ‘Predators of the Night Visit’ from 7:30-9:30pm. The ever growing and very popular “Halloween Fest” will run on both Friday and Saturday nights this year, October 19 and 20, from 6-9pm.
The Wildlife Park Nature Store is full of new wildlife and nature merchandise for all ages; and the Friends of the Maine Wildlife Park ‘Snack Shack’ sells ice cream, soda and light snacks, with all monies raised donated to the Wildlife Park for wildlife exhibit improvements and new construction.
Gems of Route 26
Rich in culture, ecology and history, the Maine Wildlife Park, Shaker Village, Poland Spring Inn and Resort, Poland Spring Preservation Society, Poland Spring Preservation Park, Harvest Hill Farm and the grounds of McLaughlin Garden truly are “The Gems of 26.”
Visitors are encouraged to go and experience the park, as well as five other unique sites — all less than an hour from each other on the picturesque Route 26 in Western Maine. Route 26 connects Western Maine to the rest of the State via Maine Turnpike’s exit 63 in Gray; meandering through gorgeous countryside and boasting culturally, historically, and ecologically significant attractions. Just thirty minutes north of Portland, a family can spend a day or several days visiting all five important and interesting destinations for very little money – a true value. www.gemsof26.com