Gray Wildlife ParkLesson Plans > Field Trips > United States > Maine
Gray Wildlife Park
Every year we take our children at least once to the Gray Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine to explore different kinds of wildlife we have here in Maine.
The Wildlife Park is not a "zoo" per se; it is owned and maintained by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. No animals are kept there for the express purpose of being on display; each animal is there because they cannot make it "in the wild." This may be because of injuries, or because they have become too acclimated to humans. Because of this, there is a small amount of fluctuation in animals from one year to the next. This is especially noticeable in the aviary section of the park, where each year there will be several habitats empty, and the next year different habitats will be empty.
Some animals that have always been present at the park when we've visited: bobcats, cougars, moose, deer, bear, porcupines, gray and red foxes, skunks, raccoons, ducks, turtles, various owls, hawks, and eagles. Throughout the park there are various signs providing information about the animals and their habitats.
Past the birds and the turtles, there is a gate which - although it might be closed - visitors can pass through and walk down the road a ways to the Dry Mills Fish Hatchery, where thousands of brook trout are raised each season. At the end of the hatchery buildings there is a pool, and a quarter will buy some fish food, which you can throw in. It's fascinating to watch the surface of the water suddenly roiling with fish eager for a snack!
The park also has a nature store, a snack shack, and a warden museum, which gives a bit of history of the Maine Warden Service.
The park is always undergoing improvements; last year the bear enclosure underwent significant improvements, and this year they are scheduled to open a new exhibit of "nocturnal animals."
The park's web page has links to hours, fees, and pages of information for educators. The web page is located at the Maine Gov website: Gray Wildlife Park.
Educators can get a free membership simply by sharing an original lesson plan on our Articles for Educators page!