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Address: 6 Firefly Lane, Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, ME 04609
Phone Number: +1 207-266-9461
Website
Today
9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Closed now
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Hours:
Sun 9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Mon - Sat 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Description:

The Natural History Center is a family-run business based in Bar Harbor,...

The Natural History Center is a family-run business based in Bar Harbor, Maine, specializing in leading birding, nature, and adventure tours in the Acadia and Downeast region.

        Whether you are interested in learning about birds or adding to your life-list, learning to kayak or build on skills you already have, The Natural History Center has a staff of experts to help. Families with children of any age can go on tide-pool adventures. Go on a photo safari to capture birds or the hidden gems of the natural world. Take a scenic tour of Acadia National Park, learning about the history of the natural and cultural landscape. In the winter, cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing in Acadia National Park is an excellent activity (February is a particularly good month to plan winter activities).

        Join The Natural History Center for any of your favorite outdoor adventures. Tours are generally geared to small or private groups. All ages and abilities are welcome; they will customize the tour to fit your interests and needs. Tours are available year-round. Their personable staff are sure to add to your visit to the Acadia region of Maine.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 49 reviews
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  • 48
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  • 1
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Amazing kayaking trip in Somes Sound!

My husband (35) and I (27) were on vacation in Acadia National Park and wanted to do something on the water other than a whale watching tour. We both have kayaked in the past and... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed October 1, 2015
JerseyOrganic
,
Tabernacle, New Jersey
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49 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 49: English reviews
Tabernacle, New Jersey
Level Contributor
152 reviews
88 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2015

My husband (35) and I (27) were on vacation in Acadia National Park and wanted to do something on the water other than a whale watching tour. We both have kayaked in the past and thought that might be fun. Eventually, we found Rich at the Natural History Center as he was actually recommended by another company whom I called... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank JerseyOrganic
Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

Christina, thank you for the glowing review. We here at The Natural History Center believe one of the benefits of our tours is the fact that by offering private-guided adventures, each outing is customized to the individual(s) we take. Your high praise shows we have succeeded again. It was a joy to take you and Chuck out and I look... More 

Plattsburgh, New York
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2015

Looking for nature-based books, toys, and equipment? Want to explore the outdoors, including the birds, in Acadia National Park with the expertise of a friendly, knowledgeable guide? Do you want personal attention and shopping experience or a tour filled with fun? Then The Natural History Center is a must see experience when in Bar Harbor any time of the year!... More 

Helpful?
Thank Kathryn B
Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

Kathryn, you have a way with words -- well, you should, you are an English teacher, after all. Everyone here at The Natural History Center always look forward to seeing you and Barry. I hope you can join us on another adventure soon! More 

Bar Harbor, Maine
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2015

What a wonderful experience! A bird walk in a beautiful mixed habitat landscape on a gorgeous morning with an experienced, knowledgeable and entertaining guide. Rich McDonald clearly loves his work and he's good at it. We saw or heard a representative array of summer residents of Mount Desert Island from owls [Barred] to warblers [ such as Black-throated Green, Redstart,... More 

Helpful?
2 Thank 825walter
Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

Thank you for the glowing review! I was so glad the Barred Owl family has continued for so long, allowing me to share the majesty of this magnificent creature with you and your family. -Rich More 

Folly Beach, South Carolina
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2015

If you are interesting in learning more about the local ecology of Mount Dessert Island & Acadia National Park, then the Natural History Center is the place for you! Through the Natural History Center, we had a lovely bird walk that lasted 3 hours and covered a couple of miles of diverse & beautiful habitat in Acadia National Park. Our... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Kimcounts
Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

Thank you for the wonderful review, Kim! As you rightly note, we here at The Natural History Center generally keep our groups small so everyone can get highly individualized attention, whether it is getting them on a bird, teaching them particular kayaking skills, finding the perfect photo op, etc. We look forward to seeing you again! More 

Charleston, South Carolina
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2015

What a great tour! Rich is extremely knowledgable and gets into more than just the birds you are hearing and seeing. He explains the ecology of the area and the birds part in it. I thought I was pretty good on my bird knowledge, but Rich just blew me away. We heard and saw a ton of birds and I... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank mmorganello
Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

Marty, it was a pleasure to have you join our birding tour! And thank you for the glowing review. I think you experienced my joie de vivre for the natural world and why I have made this not just a job but a career. Thank you! More 

NH
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2015 via mobile

Rich is incredibly knowledgeable. He makes the tour a blast. Cannot recommend him highly enough!!! Knew the areas to find great birds, including new born barred owls, bald eagles and tons of songbirds

Helpful?
1 Thank Gt3454
Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

Thank you for the glowing review! We were incredibly fortunate to have such cooperative owls during our tour, making what I thought was already an excellent morning even better. It was a treat to share this experience with you and your family. Thank you! More 

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
82 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2015

We (a family of 4) hired Rich to take us on a private bird watching tour and it was wonderful. We saw lots of different types of birds (including baby owls) and learned a lot. Rich is a very nice person and a great guide. We will definitely hire him again when we come back. We have been spending 2... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank wintercat
Natural_History_Ctr, Owner at The Natural History Center, responded to this review

Thank you for the glowing review. Having the privilege to take folks like you and your family out is a big part of what makes it so fun for me to share my passion for nature. Your inquisitiveness was stimulating. And the complete joy you, your daughters, and your husband had at seeing the two Barred Owl chicks was absolutely... More 

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 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 

Helpful?
2 Thank Bigwally1978
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 

Level Contributor
26 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 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 

Helpful?
1 Thank Tricia C
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 

2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
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 

Helpful?
2 Thank Richard M
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 

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Richmond, Indiana
4 months ago

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Typical questions asked:
  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
  • How should I dress for this tour?