The Project Puffin Visitor Center opened its doors on July 1, 2006 with the support from Audubon, local businesses, and private donors and has become a destination point for out of town visitors and residents. The Center celebrates the success of Project Puffin in bringing puffins and other rare Maine seabirds back to historic nesting islands. Here the public can view puffins and other seabirds in real time through a remarkable video system that delivers live video to the Center. Visitors can also learn about the success and challenges faced by Audubon and its conservation partners to restore and protect the seabirds on Maine islands and beaches.
"Seabirds are ideal symbols for ocean conservation," said Dr. Stephen Kress, who initiated Audubon's Project Puffin in 1973 and remains its director. "Because they live in a variety of habitats—including oceans, islands, estuaries and beaches—they demonstrate how all coastal life is connected. Long-term conservation success hinges on public understanding and community support."
Visitors will find many fun, educational, and interactive exhibits, programs, and activities for people of all ages. These include:
- Wednesday Night Lectures in July and August - featuring many entertaining guest speakers, giving lectures on a variety of topics;
- Tuesday Free Science Programs for Children in July and August - featuring many entertaining activities and projects, while teaching kids about conservation;
- Real-time video images and sounds of puffins and other seabirds from remote Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge, 20 miles south of Rockland, thanks to robotic cameras funded by grants from The Annenberg Foundation;
- A theater featuring the 20-minute film "Project Puffin"- about exceptional people taking innovative action to bring puffins and other seabirds back to the Maine coast;
- Maps showing protected seabird islands;
- Exhibits, including a puffin burrow and an actual-size observation blind for children. The exhibits highlight Audubon's conservation work on Maine seabird islands, and facts about wildlife conservation, seabird adaptations, and life histories;
- A gallery exhibiting seabird art and photography and a gift shop featuring nature-related books, videos, and clothing, as well as educational material and information about joining and supporting Audubon's work in Maine;
- Schedules and other information about seabird-watching boat tours to Maine islands;
- Descriptions of residential programs for youth and adults at historic Hog Island Audubon Camp in mid-coast Maine; and
- Additional information about Audubon's work for wildlife conservation in Maine.
The Project Puffin Visitor Center offers a variety of one-hour programs for school groups. Here is our selection:
- Seabird Restoration History: The groundbreaking work of restoring a seabird colony began in 1973 on Eastern Egg Rock, a tiny island in Muscongus Bay. Today the restoration techniques are used around the world for many seabird species. A 20-minute documentary tells this inspiring story, followed by a scavenger hunt.
- Seabird Adaptations: How can those little puffins, smaller than a lobster buoy, spend years out on the open ocean? Seabirds are spectacularly adapted to life at sea! Get your camera ready as we dress up a student to be as well suited to life at sea as a puffin. We will also investigate through experimentation how fat keeps a bird warm, and how different types of beaks excel at catching different types of food.
- Marine Ecosystem: Puffins are just one part of the larger ocean community. We will create a complex food web in which students play the parts of marine plants and animals and see the inter-connectedness. Each student will also create a food chain mobile.
Pricing for Education Programs:
Groups of 1-14: $35
Groups of 15-30: $70
For more information, please contact Susie Meadows at 207-596-5566, or at Susan.Meadows@audubon.org
Project Puffin Visitor Center Address:
311 Main Street
Rockland, ME 04841
OR (toll-free within the USA): 877-4-PUFFIN (877-478-3346)
ALSO, PLEASE CHECK US OUT HERE:
In order to keep staff members and the public safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, Audubon has recommended all centers stay closed until further notice. While the Project Puffin Visitor Center is closed, we are connecting with our supporters by offering activity ideas online. The online store is still open for business.
HOURS (PLEASE SEE NOTE ABOVE):
*May 1st to May 31st:
OPEN Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00am to 5:00pm.
*CLOSED on Wednesday, May 22nd (Staff Training).
*June 1st through October 31st:
OPEN daily from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Open until 7:00pm during July and August, to accommodate for our Wed. Night Lecture Series.
*CLOSED on Thursday, July 4th (Independence Day), and Monday, September 2nd (Labor Day).
*November through December (Winter Hours):
OPEN Thursday through Sunday from 10:00am to 4:00pm
*CLOSED on November 28th (Thanksgiving Holiday) and on December 1st.
December 20 to May 1:
CLOSED for the season.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: Whenever the center is closed, the online store remains open for business.
Online Store Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Do you ship outside of the US? No, sorry, we do not ship outside the US at this time.
2. Do you need a PayPal account to purchase items through the on-line store? No, but since we process payments through our PayPal account, you will see a charge on your credit card statement from PayPal.
3. What is your return policy? If we ship the wrong size or item or an item is damaged, we will replace the item and will ship replacement at no additional charge. However, to exchange for a different size, we are not responsible for paying any additional shipping fees.