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“Worth a visit” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Natural History Center

The Natural History Center
6 Firefly Lane, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
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Ranked #14 of 60 Activities in Bar Harbor
Type: Tourist/ Visitor Centers, Sightseeing Tours
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Attraction details
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.
va beach va
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
29 attraction reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Worth a visit”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2011

Very nicely done. The people are very informative & friendly.

Visited September 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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42 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Estes Park, CO
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Precious store”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2011

This precious little store is full of all the items you need to learn about the natural history of Bar Harbor area.
As I wandered around the store I found wonderful gifts for all ages, from birdopoly to bird mobiles, organic store logo t-shirts to the funny Bird Geek t-shirts, bird, plant and flora guide books, jewelry, binoculars, walking sticks to cool original print art work. Every turn you take, you find something to ask about, touch or purchase. In discovery of visiting this store, I learned that the owner takes people on bird guiding tours which also include details about the history of Bar Harbor. Next time I visit I will definetly have to sign up for one.
The owner and manager were a delight to talk to and were sincerely passionate about their work and made each feel welcomed. Look forward to revisiting next time I'm in Bar Harbor.

Visited September 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mount Kisco, New York
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“A wonderful day.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2011

Looking at the above reviews, it seems this tour is just for birdwatchers. I was travelling with my wife, and 11 year old son, and I have never been birdwatching nor have my wife or son. This tour was amazing.
Over the last trip through Acadia National Park, I wondered what I was seeing. I even bought Peterson's field guides to try to identify what I saw, with little success.
Walking through the park with Rich is like having every Peterson's guide as well as an Acadia historian with you. His knowledge of the area is amazing. Start your trip here, and you will know where to eat, shop, relax, and hike for the rest of your trip.
When you walk through, he can identify every bird, tree, rock, and animal you see or hear. He can identify tracks of animals that you don't see.
Despite having a biology major, and studying marine biology on this very island, Rich was able to teach me a lot.
He doesn't do this in a know it all manner. He answers any questions you have with ease, and if you don't have questions, he'll ask some of his own.
My son loved it, and he didn't feel like he was in school. My son can now identify 3 crab types, 3 algae types, 2 different types of snails, and several trees. We also saw sea stars, sea urchins, and fish, While many people have seen barnacles. I can say we have now SEEN barnacles. We've seen them open and feeding. My son now knows what "economic extinction" means.
My son can be somewhat difficult at times, and Rich was patient with him, and kept him entertained and on track.

Regarding price, it was very affordable. It's inexpensive enough, you may think it's per person, but the price is for the entire group. Rich brought everything we might need (water, coats, field guides, binoculars).

You can't go wrong with this tour. Rich is flexible and knowledgeable enough to adapt to whatever you need. Plan it early, so you can get ideas for the rest of your trip.

Visited August 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Wonderful nature tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2010

I am a twitcher from England and was able to book a morning bird tour with The Natural History Center. Now that I am retired, I travel the world over looking to twitch birds. Rich's knowledge and passion for the birds, which was quite catching, turned a grey day into one of the best outings I have had in some time. He knew his birds like nobody's business. A single chip was identified as an immature White-throated Sparrow. When he successfully spished the bird out, it was, indeed, as he said. A chunky drab bird was identified as a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow. And would you believe it, Rich was right on. By the end of our allotted time, Rich helped me add six species to my lifelist. Of all the bird guides I have had the pleasure of travelling with over the past two decades, Rich's knowledge ranks him in the top 10 per cent while his enthusiasm and ppassion certainly pushes him into the top few. Thanks for a wonderful tour, Rich! It was certainly among my favourites!

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bar Harbor, ME
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Fantastic! Get outside, enjoy nature and learn something!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2010

Just came back from a tour provided by The Natural History Center and I enjoyed every minute of it. Now, it's nice to go hiking/ walking in Acadia National Park. It's a beautiful park, anybody will tell you that. But taking a walk with Rich from The Natural History Center is a whole different experience. It simply enhances the whole hike to have Rich, a trained ecologist and naturalist, along to make you think differently about what you're seeing, smelling, hearing. Like walking through a museum with an extremely knowledgeable docent, but Rich's museum is outside! It should be noted that there was no "lecturing," or dry "lessons" on this tour. Everything was presented conversationally, like saying "hey, isn't this neat?" Rich's friendly and laid-back enthusiasm and passion for the natural world was evident, and that wonder was infectious and lots of fun. But enthusiasm only goes so far, you also need a guide who is knowledgeable, and really, Rich is the guy. To call his knowledge "encyclopedic" is not an exaggeration. A bird darted by in a blur, I hardly saw it, and Rich commented "there's an American Redstart." Amazing. We must have seen almost a dozen other species, all of which were identified with ease.
I should mention the shop located downtown too. Lots of great things related to the outdoors: birding, "aquascopes" for looking underwater, bug nets, games, books, etc. Lots of good stuff for kids, and lots of field guides and other books for adults. Also plenty of souvenirs too, but nothing tacky or cheap-looking. Very nice stuff.
In short: if you want a great nature experience, do yourself a favor and stop in here. Browse the shop and definitely go on a tour. They are offered daily, tailored to all levels and abilities. You won't regret it.

Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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