Gemming and Wildlife

Recently we ventured to the Poland Maine area for a family reunion. We went on a couple of side trips in the area that are worth blogging about – readers will enjoy these two adventures.

First was digging and sifting for gems at Maine Mineral Adventures. The roadside attraction is on Route 26 in Bryant Pond, Maine. It’s not a big elaborate setup, so be ready for port-o-potties and being exposed to the weather outside. The first impression is that of rinky-dink tourist trap, but it quickly became apparent that extremely knowledgeable staff and high quality of the minerals on-hand, was going to make for an exciting time.

The informative workers gave us a short geology lessons and explained that how the rock pile that we would be digging in comes there from Mount Mica.

The whole family joined in and dug buckets of unpicked rock, then we sifted and washed and sorted. You get to keep everything you find which was music to our 5 year olds’ ears. However, relatives who were thinking about their plane flights home were a little more selective in their keepers. We found tourmaline, garnets, crystals, and lots of big flaky mica.

The next day we headed over to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine. The park is run by the Maine Department of Wildlife and Inland Fisheries with help from the Friends of Maine Wildlife Park.

The park was really amazing. It is relatively cheap (warning: cash only to get into the park) and nestled among the woods. If we had known better we would have brought a cooler with lunches and snacks because they have a large picnic area.

All the animals are orphaned or injured but they all (except for the peacocks) are native to the state of Maine. It reminded Lindsay of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, NH, but not as many interactive educational displays.

We had a blast seeing albino raccoon, porcupine, moose, barred owls, painted turtles, flying squirrels, huge wild cats, and many more. This is a definite stop if you happen to be in the area.

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