#atozchallenge | X is for Moose X-ing and a Visit to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine

I have never seen a moose in the wild. I know that probably surprises you. I’m from Maine and have lived here most of my life so you’d think I’d have had a few encounters, especially since I’m so friendly with the local deer population. I don’t even have to seek the deer out, they come to my house to visit all the time. They’re especially fond of my tulips. They enjoyed them for brunch one fine spring day a few years ago, so for obvious reasons, I haven’t tried to grow them since. I don’t mind. I like deer.

Moose are a little more stand-offish. When they do venture into neighborhoods, it usually makes the evening news and they never look comfortable. They always seem confused as to how all the buildings and people got in the way of their jaunt through the woods. I read Sarah Smiley’s new book for my blog post, R is for a Review of “Got Here As Soon As I Could” by Sarah Smiley, and one of the things she mentions frequently in her short stories is her lack of success with finding a moose in the wild.

But, there are many Mainers who meet moose on the roads. It is enough of an issue where we have signs posted in heavily trafficked areas to watch for “Moose X-ings”. The Maine Department of Transportation even has an entire flyer on collisions with large animals. This is not just to give us that Maine vibe. Moose collisions are real and can be highly dangerous. My Aunt who use to travel the back roads of Maine a lot for her job hit a moose not once, but on two separate occasions. Fortunately, she was okay both times but it is not how you want to meet one in the wild.

If you really want to come to Maine and see a moose, I have a much better idea for you. Plan a visit to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine. It reopened for the season on April 15th.  This is not a large zoo so you need to be sure you go with the right expectations. It is a much smaller, more casual experience that highlights local Maine wildlife. They have a lot of educational programs and events as well. While not in the wild, it’s still a fun way to see some of Maine’s amazing animals.

As they indicate on their website, “Many of the animals at the Maine Wildlife Park were brought here because they were injured or orphaned, or because they were human dependent – raised, sometimes illegally, in captivity. The Park serves as a permanent home for wildlife that cannot survive in the Wild. All kinds of animals are here for their protection and healing. And they’re here for you to enjoy and learn more about.” 

I went this past Saturday and purchased a photo pass. For one hour, I was able to go around the park with one of the guides and take photographs of some of their animals. All the photographs in this blog post were taken by me during my visit to the Maine Wildlife Park, in Gray, Maine.

It was an amazing experience. I got to pet the moose and feed them some tree branches, have a black bear lick some treats out of my hand, and look an eagle in the eye.

Moose. First up were the moose. They currently have four moose in the park. At our first stop, the moose was a little too far away to get pictures, but at the second enclosure the remaining three moose were happy to get up close since we were by their feeding station. They love to eat the buds and bark off of tree branches, so I held out a few branches while they ate.

Black Bears. Next up were the black bears. One of the black bears was brown. Apparently black bears come in more than black. Who knew!  While the park staff have to be careful as to how many treats the bears get, we were able to give them a few snacks. I held out some treats in my hand, being sure to not touch the fenced enclosure, and the bear licked them from my hand. They have super long tongues.

Bald Eagle. After some time with the bears, we headed over to see one of their eagles. This poor little guy fell out of his nest as a baby and broke his wings so he can never fly which is why he’s being taken care of at the Maine Wildlife Park. His wing injury puts him off-balance so he’s not on display for park visitors, as he has too many needs related to his balance issue, but he does participate in a lot of the park’s educational programs.

Mountain Lion. Out last stop on the photo tour was to see the mountain lion. Sadly, the eastern mountain lion is now extinct with the last sighting in Maine in 1938 according to this press release from the Center for Biological Diversity. The Mountain Lion Foundation has more details on mountain lions such as the fact that they are also known as cougars, pumas, or panthers, and that they can still be found in some western states and a small population in Florida. My guide for the photo shoot also indicated many of them come from western Canada.

Canada Lynx. While that was all the time we had for my photo pass, I did stop by the Canada lynx exhibit for a few photos before leaving the park. The lynx recently got a new enclosure at the Maine Wildlife Park and there is now a glass viewing area so you can really see them up close.


The park is funded by admission tickets, photo passes and a large volunteer network called the Friends of the Maine Wildlife Park.

I had an amazing day at the Maine Wildlife Park. It is a wonderful, family friendly place to spend the day and you get to learn a little something about Maine wildlife in the process. They have a full line-up of events planned for the summer. You can check out the event listings HERE. If you’re ever up in Maine, I highly recommend a visit to the Maine Wildlife Park.

Maine Wildlife Park | Gray, Maine

Maine Wildlife Park | Gray, Maine


things to know
Maine Wildlife Park 56 Game Farm Road, Gray, Maine 04039
Phone (207) 657-4977
Hours Open daily 9:30 am – 3:30 p.m. Visitors may stay until 5:00 p.m.
Seasonal – Opens April 15, 2016
Website Maine Wildlife Park
Favorite ♥ Moose. Although, it’s hard to pick; all the animals are amazing.

I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2016. I will be posting new content every day except Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Life in Maine, and each post will in some way relate to Maine. There are over 1500 other bloggers participating in the challenge. Click HERE to learn more.

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31 thoughts on “#atozchallenge | X is for Moose X-ing and a Visit to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine

  1. M.J. Fifield says:

    My sister is a nanny, and she purchases an annual pass to the Wildlife Park every year. The kids love, love, love to go there. I haven’t been there in ages (my elementary school used to do a field trip there every year), but now I definitely want to make a trip back…and buy one of those photo passes. Your photos are terrific!

    Oh, and I have been fortunate enough to see moose and bear in the wild.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. randombitsoftrialanderror says:

    OHMIGOSH! What an amazing experience! My husband and I are going to start RVing the US the first of 2017, and after family obligations, we are hoping to head up into Maine and the rest of New England that latter part of the year. I’ve been reading your blog and making mental notes of places to go. This will definitely be one of them (I LOVE critters of all kinds). It looks amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Liam says:

    Oh wow, everyone I know who lives in/visited Maine and NH has seen a moose in the wild except me. I’m glad I’m not alone!

    Those are terrific photos. The Maine Wildlife Park seems like it would be similar to the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, which my children love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      The Maine Wildlife Park is an awesome place for kids. They have lots of special events and activities throughout the summer. I’ve never been to Squam Lakes Natural Science Center but I’ll have to check it out. It does seem like a similar destination.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. In my own words says:

    Great photos! I’m from Colorado and I love all the types of animals you include – bear, moose, bald eagle, etc. They are all gorgeous creatures. I would love to visit the Maine wildlife area, also. I’ve never been to Maine but would love to visit. So glad I found your blog through the A to Z Challenge. We’re almost there! http://www.dianeweidenbenner.com

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yvonne V says:

    Love your photos, especially that of the lynx! They are so interesting looking.

    I came across a black bear in the wild when I was jogging in PA. Although they rarely attack humans, it was a frightening experience. I would prefer to meet them in a wildlife park.

    BTW, the photograph pass is a brilliant idea. I don’t know of places around me that offer that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kalpanaa says:

    I don’t know which of your photographs I liked the most —the bald eagle, the moose or the bears. I loved your story of the deer who ate tulips and had this mental picture of a deer chomping meditatively on a red and yellow tulip. Hope you get to grow some in pots maybe on a porch? Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      It was so much fun to take pictures of all the animals. I could probably do some flowers in pots on my porch. We do get a lot of deer. One spring, I found seven deer eating weeds around my raised flower bed. I hadn’t planted anything there yet.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      I know they look so adorable and cuddly but they are wild, powerful animals and require extreme care and caution. I do wish they were hug-gable but alas they are most definitely not. They’re still pretty cute though!

      Like

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