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The Natural History Center

6 Firefly Lane, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
207/801-2617
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97%
Ranked #14 of 60 Activities in Bar Harbor
Type: Tourist/ Visitor Centers, Sightseeing Tours
Owner description: This is a small business in Bar Harbor, Maine. From its retail store base, they are offering...
More attraction details
Attraction details
Type: Tourist/ Visitor Centers, Sightseeing Tours
Hours:
Sun 9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Mon - Sat 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Owner description: This is a small business in Bar Harbor, Maine. From its retail store base, they are offering nature-based tours, whether birding, tide-pooling, field ecology, or general natural history. They also lead adventure tours such as hiking, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, and sea kayaking for very small groups. For those wishing to delve deeper into the world of birds, there are even opportunities to engage in citizen science reserch projects.

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42 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Dallas, Texas
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2014

We stopped in Bar Harbor as part of our New England cruise. We hired Rich MacDonald to take us around the island and the national park. We hired Rich because a friend hired him a couple of years ago and said he was fantastic. We agree. Rich took us and another couple (our friends) for a 4 hour private tour.... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

Steve and Renette, thank you for the kind words. In addition to being your tour guide, I enjoyed our wide-ranging discussions and your inquisitive nature. Doing small group tours as we do here at The Natural History Center, it allows for intimate experiences with our guests, the ability to modify our agenda on the fly, and, we would like to... More 

Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2014 via mobile

I hired Rich MacDonald to guide me on two hikes in Acadia. He was AWESOME! Very knowledgable without being pretentious. I not only learned a lot, I had a great two days hiking the beautiful national park.. rich gave us great tips on restaurants, places to see and local history. As a guide I'd highly recommend him...I felt like a... More 

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Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

Tricia, it was so fun for me leading you on hiking tours of some of the mountains in Acadia National Park. Kind words such as yours make leading tours all the more worthwhile. Thank you. And I hope our paths cross again. More 

1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2014

I reserved a private bird watching tour with Rich and it was one of the highlights of my vacation in Maine. I spent 4 hours birding with him and checked off 11 new birds and I missed migration by 3 weeks. I think we reported among 35 birds that day. He really new his stuff and I recommend going on... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

We appreciate the kind words, Richard. Thank you! It was a pleasure birding with you, too. Here at The Natural History Center, we do our best to offer the best possible tour. And by generally keeping our group group sizes small, we better ensure doing just what participants want. In your case, helping you find 11 new life-birds was a... More 

Lakeland, Florida
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2014

When I recently vacationed in Bar Harbor with my 3 grandchildren, age 8, 11 and 13, we went on two private tours with Rich. We started with tide pooling. My 8 year old grandson, who had experienced tide pooling around Florida beaches, was not too excited and thought it would be “boring”. However, soon after finding crabs, starfish and even... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

Thank you for the glowing review, MaryAnn! This was the perfect tour for The Natural History Center! Your grandkids were a joy to take tide-pooling and sea kayaking: they were inquisitive, fun, relaxed, playful, cheerful, adventurous. And not just with me, but with each other! Clearly you and your daughter are doing something right in your raising of these wonderful... More 

Bar Harbor
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2014

Rich is a wealth of nature knowledge! We had such a fun and informative tour. I learned so much more than I expected. Rich was accommodating to our feeds as a family of various ages. Thanks Rich! We hope to see you in the future!

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Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

Imagine our pleasure to be in Europe, reprising our gig as naturalists for Garrison Keillor on his annual cruise-ship charter of A Prairie Home Companion, and to see your kind review. Thank you! It was a pleasure to take you and your family on a nature tour of Acadia National Park. We look forward to seeing you soon! More 

Richmond, Canada
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
12 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2014

Just went in by curiosity. Very nice little shop. Very friendly owner. Gave us great advice on things to do and see.

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Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

Thank you for the kind review, Raven 2278! Here at The Natural History Center, we strive for our staff to have a diverse knowledge of the natural world. And we also strive to have a broad array of books and guides on an equally broad range of natural history topics. We hope you will come and visit us again.... More 

Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
12 attraction reviews
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2014

Rich MacDonald, a trained ornithologist, runs a small shop in the center of Bar Harbor that sells binoculars, books and information about nature, birds etc. In addition, he leads tours through the local park, focused on birds and flora, with which he seems very familiar. Very congenial, informative, flexible and thoughtful, Mr. MacDonald gave my wife and I a private... More 

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Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

Thank you Alexander for the review. Taking people like you and your wife on tours is one of the many reasons I do this: I meet interesting people, have fascinating and stimulating conversations, and get to share my love of the natural world. I hope our paths cross again. More 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2014

During our tour of New England in June, by chance my wife and I met Rich at his Natural History Center (TNHC) shop - and what a find this was! Rich is not only the owner of TNHC, offering guided birding and nature tours, but is also active in field research and teaches at a local college. Rich gave us... More 

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Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

Tom (and Marissa), thank you for the kind words. As you learned, I like nothing more to share my love, passion, and knowledge of the natural world of the Acadia region of Maine. Besides, how can you have anything but a good day when you get such good looks at a Barred Owl as we did! We hope to see... More 

South Berwick, Maine
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2013

Fellow Birders and Nature Lovers! On a recent trip to Mt Desert Island and Acadia National Park, I was lucky enough to find Rich MacDonald, birder and naturalist extraordinaire. Rich leads group and private birding tours of the area, (as well as kayaking and other outdoor adventure trips), and I treated myself to a few fabulous hours with him, learning... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

Thank you for the kind words, Hershey. You were equally fun to spend time with. I like to think of my tours less as a monologue and more as a dialog, where we are both sharing our knowledge and thoughts. Afterwards, returning with you to see your magnificent horses at Wild Iris Farm was a highlight among highlights that day.... More 

Ann Arbor, Michigan
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2013

Rich MacDonald's 1/2 day tour is an excellent taste of what this part of Maine has to offer, even when Acadia National Park was CLOSED!!! My Mother and I had a 4 day excursion to downeast Maine at the time of the government shutdown. WITH rich we learned and saw where the salmon "jump" creak, wandered thru a garden and... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

It was a joy to take Mary and her mother, Marge, on a tour of the communities surrounding Acadia National Park. I first met Mary on a special Prairie Home Companion cruise-ship charter this past summer where The Natural History Center provided the nature programming: Mary joined us every morning on the bow at sunrise as we pointed out birds... More 

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