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Address: Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, ME 04609
Phone Number:
+1 207-266-9461
Website
Today
00:00 - 23:59
Open now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 00:00 - 23:59
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

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Fantastic activity!

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... read more

Reviewed 1 July 2015
wintercat
,
Chicago, Illinois
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53 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 53: English reviews
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
82 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 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
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 November 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
28 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 October 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
Reviewed 14 September 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 

Lakeland, Florida
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 August 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 

Helpful?
2 Thank Mormor45
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
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 August 2014 via mobile

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!

Helpful?
1 Thank bixie63
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
Level Contributor
28 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 July 2014 via mobile

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

Helpful?
Thank raven2278
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
Level Contributor
94 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 June 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 

Helpful?
1 Thank Alexander A
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
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 20 June 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 

Helpful?
1 Thank Tom Z
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
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 November 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 

Helpful?
2 Thank Hershey H
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 

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Richmond, Indiana
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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?