The Maine State Aquarium, the Portland Aquarium and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute are some aquariums located in Maine. Many of Maine's aquariums have conventional-style exhibits, marine interaction and children's activities, but some are set up as scientific laboratories with educational and training facilities. Some of Maine's aquariums are closed in the winter months, so visitors should consult the hours of operation for each facility.
The Maine State Aquarium in West Boothbay Harbor, Maine, is operated by the Maine Department of Marine Resources. The aquarium's tanks feature extraordinary lobsters in many colors and sizes, live northern shrimps, purple sunstars and red sea anemones. The facility houses an 850-gallon tank filled with skeet and sharks. Children are advised to wear old clothes when experiencing the 20-foot long elevated touch tank that includes hands-on experiences with sea cucumbers, scallops, sea stars and sea urchins.
Families can hand feed sharks, stingrays, birds and other tropical animals in one of the Portland Aquarium's exhibit zones that include ocean, tropical rainforest and desert habitats. Kids can take selfies with snakes and large exotic birds as well as having a hand feeding experience with a giant Pacific octopus at the Octopus Encounter.
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute features an aquarium and a full-scale laboratory. Adults and kids can take part in wet and dry research projects.