At low tide, kids can immediately see how Bar Harbor got its name—a large sand bar connects downtown Bar Harbor to Bar Island. Children love taking buckets and shovels onto the bar and exploring all the sealife uncovered at low tide. Across the sand bar to Bar Island, a nature trail rises to a summit, offering spectacular views of Mount Desert Island. If you go, don't forget to check the local tide schedule and leave plenty of time to get back before the tide rolls in —it comes fast!
Oceanarium and Lobster Hatchery
This hands-on nature experience lets kids play games as they tour the lobster museum. Propel wind-up boats in the boat tank, explore the water-cycle exhibit, tour the marsh, and visit lobster babies at the hatchery. Kids love to dress up like seals at the educational seal exhibit. Open mid-May to October, 9 am–5 pm (except Sundays). Special group rates available by reservation. 207-288-5005.
National Park Junior Ranger Program
Kids up to 18 can become Junior Rangers. First they complete activities in the Junior Ranger booklet. Then, after joining one or two ranger-led programs or walks and promising to take care of the park, they get their very own Junior Ranger patch. 207-288-3338.
Nature Center and Abbe Museum
The Sieur de Monts Nature Center of Acadia National Park features guidebooks and displays about park wildlife. Children get to record the animals they have seen in the center's logbook. Open daily from mid-June through September.
At the Abbe Museum, a short walk from the Nature Center, children learn about Acadia's earliest inhabitants. A rich variety of hands-on learning and arts activities teaches them about the culture and traditions of Maine Native Americans. The museum's collection includes prehistoric pottery, bone and stone tools, porcupine jewelry, trade beads, a large birch bark canoe, and a wigwam. 207-288-3519.
Children love playing in the salty ocean waves and the beautiful sand at Acadia's Sand Beach. Those preferring calmer, warmer waters may want to visit the freshwater beach at Echo Lake. Both swimming areas have lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Little ones can get their feet wet in the Glen Mary wading pool in downtown Bar Harbor.
Take a Nature Tour
Go by sea to watch seals, dolphins, porpoises, whales, and mysterious underwater creatures on a boat and underwater video tour. Or stay on land to spot bald eagles, ospreys, peregrine falcons, great blue herons, woodpeckers, warblers, and shorebirds on a beginning birdwatcher's tour.
Hiking and Biking
Hiking trails cover Acadia National Park. One, Gorham Mountain, is only 525 feet high, but it offers beautiful ocean views and wild blueberries (in July and August) along the trail. The carriage roads also offer 45 miles of groomed, auto-free roads for you to explore as a family—hiking or biking. Bar Harbor has a number of bike shops that rent everything from mountain bikes to touring models.
Mt. Desert Island Biological Laboratory's Public Tours
Kids get to see dogfish sharks, skates, and other marine animals up close. And they learn how marine biomedical research at the laboratory contributes to improvements in human health. Located in Salisbury Cove. 207-288-3147.
Park Street Playground
A favorite place for the young children of Bar Harbor, this playground has swingsets, sandboxes, teeter-totters, and slides. It's just down the street from Glen Mary Wading Pool in downtown Bar Harbor, next to the YMCA.
The YMCA keeps kids busy with a gym, track, indoor pool, fitness room, and rec room. Perfect fun for a rainy day. Open year-round, 7 days a week. 207-288-3511.
At Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf on Route 3, the legends of infamous pirates come to life. Enter the 18th century and see carousing buccaneers and an authentic, full-scale pirate ship. Putt your way through mountain caves, over footbridges, and under magical waterfalls. 207-288-2133.
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Enjoy an up-close experience with marine life. At the oceanarium at 1351 Route 3 take a guided tour of a salt marsh and the Maine Lobster Museum. At the working lobster hatchery we take you on a fascinating tour to see mother lobsters & baby lobsters & the hatchery process. We also feature a hands on Discovery Pool with lots of local sea life to learn about, have fun and get wet! Group discounts and tours.
Named a Best of New England destination by Yankee magazine in May of 2013 and one of the 50 Things to Do in Maine This Summer by the Bangor Daily News, The Naturalist's Notebook combines nature, science, arts and the frontier of knowledge in fun, engaging installations and activities. The original Notebook exploratorium in Seal Harbor offers three floors of interaction, shopping and learning for all ages. Smaller Naturalist's Notebook Annex spaces have opened on Main St. in Northeast Harbor and (as of Aug. 1) on the town green Bar Harbor. Open 10-5 every day from late June to late October in Seal Harbor and Northeast Harbor and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day through late October in Bar Harbor.The Notebook is just a short drive from Bar Harbor or Northeast Harbor. It's a great rainy-day (or sunny day) place for families or anyone who's even slightly curious about the world and the universe.
Sharon Joyce is a trainer/educator/chef and studied in Advanced French Cooking and French Pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. In 1981 she opened and operated a catering business and cooking school in Chicago and the Virgin Islands. She has taught various cooking classes including French, American and Cruzan in such locations as Chicago, Bar Harbor, California, and Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S.V.I. She was fascinated by Maine cooking and the abundance of local foods when she moved to Bar Harbor 25 years ago. The regional cooking of Maine brings together history and the availability of foods.
Too much great Maine food to try and not enough time?
The Regional Cooking of Maine . Le Cordon Bleu trained chef will explain history and foods of Maine. You will learn history, food facts, techniques and traditional recipes while tasting such favorites as lobster, blueberry muffins, etc. 2 ½ hr
Chowder and Popovers, please !
The meal that Mainers ask for and savor. Learn the Maine historical tradition of chowders and the technique to be successful at making a varieties of perfect popovers. After tasting the Corn chowder and popovers made during the class, you will want to duplicate these recipes at home. 2 1/2 hr.
CALL OR EMAIL FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO MAKE A RESERVATION AND INSURE A SPACE 207-288-4523 email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Located at College of the Atlantic, , 105 Eden Street Bar Harbor, Maine 04609
Ranked among the top-five family camps in the U.S. by Good Morning America and Family Fun Magazine, College of the Atlantic's week-long Family Nature Camp is the vacation you and your family will talk about for years to come.
Under the guidance of experienced naturalists, you will delight in the wonder and adventure of the outdoors as you sight humpbacks and seals on your whale watch and nature cruises, hold sea creatures on the Starfish Enterprise, dip your hand in warm tide pools, hike the trails of Acadia National Park, be “amazed” by arthropods, put together the bones of a Minke Whale, and delight in the tales of the "Bug Man." You will share all this and more with other families, who will become your life-long friends, in one of the most beautiful vacation spots in America. Most suitable for children 5 years and older traveling with their parents, grandparents or friends.
College of the Atlantic, , 105 Eden Street Bar Harbor, Maine 04609
Come aboard The Seal and watch live underwater footage as Diver Ed searches the bottom of Frenchman Bay for fascinating critters. Then roll up your sleeves and get ready to touch starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, lobsters, and whatever else he can fit into his catchbag to bring up to the boat! Diver Ed makes this vacation adventure entertaining as well as educational! Daily trips at 9:30am, 1:30pm & 5:30pm. Open: Memorial Day weekend-Columbus Day.
Personalized bird watching and nature tours for individuals, couples, families and small groups. Bicycle, hiking and cross-country ski tours; 1/2 day & full day, camping and more. We help you discover the flora and fauna of Mt. Desert Island and Down East Maine with special emphasis on native birds. Bald Eagles, Osprey, Shore-birds, Warblers. A truly unique and enjoyable learning experience.
Since its inaugural edition, the Mount Desert Island Marathon has earned the distinction of 'Most Scenic in North America' by ESPN. The event continues to grow and attracts both national and international competitors and spectators. The scenic, yet challenging foot race starts in downtown Bar Harbor. The course runs past the mountains of Acadia National Park, through pristine woodlands during peak fall foliage, along stunning sea-side vistas, and visits six separate towns and villages. It finishes in the center of Southwest Harbor. Like its name, the Mount Desert Island Marathon is a true island-wide event. As a not-for-profit organization the event benefits civic and local charitable organizations, making the MDI Marathon a popular community resource. The event is traditionally held the Sunday following Columbus Day.
25 yard, 6-lane indoor pool; full fitness center with Cybex strength training circuit, treadmills, bikes, elliptical trainers, free weights; gymnasium; land-based and aquatic exercise classes like zumba, indoor cycling, aqua aerobics and group power. Day passes: $16 family; $9 adult; $5 senior/student. Half-price for members of other YMCAs. We're a small YMCA that has served the island community for over 100 years. Your day fees help us provide scholarships and services to adults and children in our service area on a year-round basis. Thank you for helping us to continue to serve for generations to come.