10 (or so) Fun Things to do Indoors in Maine
Seasonal Maine often provides the perfect excuse to bundle up inside and, for a state bustling with outdoor recreation, Maine has an expansive variety of indoor activities to keep you occupied all year round.
Consider the Children's Museum & Theater of Maine in Portland, featuring three floors of interactive learning plus a kid-friendly theater in the basement with costumes on-hand for impromptu play. At the multi-level Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor, kids can perform and record themselves in a sound studio, or explore interactive science labs and exhibits. The new Portland Science Center, which opened in August 2015 with Gunther von Hagens’ world-renowned “Body Worlds” exhibit, hosts traveling exhibitions and museum attractions for all ages, and the attached building houses an art gallery and restaurant.
If you want to rid the kids of some extra energy, head over to Maine Indoor Karting in Scarborough. Adults and youth can race around the track in speedy karts for safe, heart-thumping fun. If you're inland, check out the indoor playground at Playland Adventures in Brewer. Adults with kids get in for free and are allowed on all of the equipment, so you don’t have to sit on the sidelines while your energetic players have all the fun.
Maine’s diverse landscape offers some of the best alpine ledges and seaside crags in the country. But what if it’s raining, snowing, hailing, or you're just a novice looking for one-on-one instruction? Try Maine's Salt Pump Climbing in Scarborough and Evo Rock & Fitness in Portland, indoor climbing meccas with resources for adults and kids, beginners and pros.
The Family Ice Center in Falmouth is open year-round and offers another variety of active indoor recreation. Lace up during free-skate hours, get professional instruction, or stop in for a pick-up hockey game. Or head to Portland with the family for roller derby at the Portland Expo or Happy Wheels Skate Center. Buy some hot dogs and enjoy live entertainment, crafts and activities for children, witty announcers and raffle prizes during a riveting, jostling bout.
Maine boasts two top-rated shopping centers, one in Kittery and the other in Freeport. In addition to familiar name brands, they both have an expansive selection of Maine-made merchandise, from chocolates to textiles, toys to outdoor gear. For a more Main Street experience, consider the picturesque coastal cities of Kennebunkport, Boothbay Harbor and Rockland and historic inland towns like Halowell, Bridgton and Bethel.
For a truly quirky Maine shopping adventure, head to Scarborough and wander through the Southern Maine Indoor Flea Market. Open seven days a week, this warehouse is teeming with new and used goods, from the rare to the frivolous, like a York Beach snow globe or two-foot-tall 1950s porcelain doll. There’s even a small lunch counter for people who get hungry while rummaging on the weekends.
Lewiston, the second largest city in Maine, has a passionate cultural arts community that regularly hosts Main Street art walks and art exhibits in the repurposed Bates Mill. The Bates College Museum of Art and Community Little Theater feature year-round, well reviewed curated productions. The historic Waterville Opera House in central Maine, in addition to traditional concerts and theatrical performances, also offers a selection of performances for children, from adaptations of beloved books to live-action science demonstrations, and seasonal theater camps in February and August.
Quirky Maine Fun
Are you on the hunt for Mickey Mouse memorabilia? Rare and vintage comics? Hand-painted Lone Ranger posters? The Maine Antique Toy & Art Museum, located in a 19th century country roadhouse in Waldoboro, is the place for you. For something even more unorthodox, stop at the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, the only one of its kind in the world. Cryptozoology is the study of hidden or unknown animals and this small gallery is a treasure trove of the weird, obscure and mythic!
Maine has many popular, “escape room” adventures, including The Escape Room, Maine Escape Games, and GTFO Escape Room in Portland and South Portland. You play the hero in these timed, adrenaline-fueled puzzles, which challenge a team of people to find clues and solve riddles to complete a given mission and escape from a locked room as the clock winds down.
For a one-of-a-kind tasting experience, tour one (or all) of Maine's many sugarhouses. Kinney’s Sugarhouse in Knox and Hilltop Boilers in Newfield are open year-round and offer tastings during sugaring season (February – April). Stonewall Kitchen has locations throughout Maine and, in addition to maple syrup, carries a bevy of handcrafted specialty goodies like scented soaps, jams and chutneys, and baking mixes. If you’re inland,enjoy the renowned Breakfast on the Farm at Jillsons Farm & Sugarhouse in Sabattus. Stop by, pick up some odds and ends, and linger for a while... A long while.