Maine Wildlife Park In Gray Now Open

The Maine Wildlife Park on Route 26 in Gray will open for the 2011 season on Friday, April 15 this year.

There still is some deep snow in shaded areas, the parking lot may be a bit soft, and all of the nature trails may not be open, but for the most part the park is ready to start the season! With more than 104,000 visitors in 2010, we are looking forward to welcoming both returning and new guests this year.

Visitors will be enjoying the six new small mammal exhibits featuring porcupines, fisher, woodchuck, raccoon, skunk and opossum. Under construction this year is a new mountain lion exhibit, funded by the Friends of the Maine Wildlife Park.

The free, guided audio tour of the park’s exhibits accessible via visitor’s own personal cell phones has been updated for 2011. Last year, more than 7,100 people dialed in to hear more about our wildlife. After dialing the access number, 207-228-1700, a short recording gives fun wildlife facts, information and history about the individual animal(s) visitors are watching. The only charge is based on the minutes plan with the cell phone service provider.

The kick-off day for our summer event schedule is May 7, with a Bear Bonanza! Full-size mounts of a black bear and grizzly bear will be exhibited, and there will even a polar bear rug and other polar artifacts! Bear mascots Kennebago Bear and Smokey Bear will be available for photo “opps”! A Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife bear biologist will have the “tools of the trade” used to manage Maine’s black bear population, and chain saw artist Tim Picket will be chain-saw carving a bear from a 10-foot tall standing white pine tree trunk right in the picnic area!

The wildlife park will be open just in time for school vacation week 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 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 MDIF&W.

A summer series of wildlife exhibits and demonstrations provided for our visitors are offered throughout the season at the Maine Wildlife Park. “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 a.m. to 2 p.m. (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 scheduled, when the park opens on a moonlight evening for a Saturday, July 16 “All About Owls” Night Visit with the owls of Chewonki: from 7:30-9:30 p.m. The ever-growing and very popular “Halloween Fest” will run on both Friday and Saturday nights this year, October 21 and 22, from 6-9 p.m.

The Maine 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 Maine Wildlife Park for wildlife exhibit improvements and new construction.

The Maine Wildlife Park has more than 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 11 from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; visitors must leave the premises by 6 p.m.

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.