Every Tuesday until August 25 and one Friday (August 7) young and old alike can experience first-hand many of the animals that inhabit our coastal waters via a “Touch Tank” from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Beachcombers’ Rest Nature Center at Pemaquid Beach Park. The touch tank teems with dogwhelks, sea urchins, hermit crabs, sand dollars and more. Feel the spiny skin of a sea star, the smooth exterior of sea cucumber, or get squirted by a scallop. Watch the moon snail pull in its enormous gooey foot and be fascinated by the sea star retracting its stomach. Nature Center volunteers will be on hand to share interesting facts about the marine life. Enjoy gentle handling of creatures, observation, drawing, and discussion, with a period of “quiet no-touch time” from 11:30 to noon to give the critters rest. The touch tank program is free, but participants must pay the Town’s admission fee to the Park.

To reach the Park from Damariscotta, take the Bristol Road (State Rte 130) about 12 miles. Take the first right about 50 yards after the Fire Department (and just before Fairwinds Marina) onto Snowball Hill Road. Travel 9/10ths of a mile. At the bottom of the hill, on the left, there is a sign for the entrance to Pemaquid Beach Park (there’s also a smaller Beachcombers’ Rest Nature Center sign). Beachcombers’ Rest Nature Center and the touch tank are in the pavilion.

Beachcombers’ Rest Nature Center is a collaboration between the Pemaquid Watershed Association and the Bristol Parks and Recreation Commission. The touch tank is provided courtesy of the Gulf of Maine Foundation and Darling Marine Center and is supported by a grant from The Edward A. Myers Marine Conservation Fund.

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