In the heart of Stonington, Maine’s highest lobster landings port, fisheries come alive at 13 Atlantic Avenue, home of the Discovery Wharf, Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries’ vibrant interpretive center for visitors of all ages.
The MCCF Discovery Wharf provides interactive experiences ranging from hands-on learning about sea creatures in our touch tank, to the first¬-hand stories about life on the sea with the star of MCCF’s online video series, “Ask Leroy!” Capt. Leroy Weed, to the virtual reality experiences of being on a lobster boat, riding in a Life Flight helicopter, touring an oyster farm, ice fishing, or being in a river filled with migrating alewives.
MCCF strives to ensure that every visitor learns something new about Maine’s coastal fisheries, the natural environment supporting the fisheries, and MCCF’s work to sustain these important resources and support our coastal communities.
“We are looking forward to meeting visitors at our location on Stonington Harbor so we can continue to showcase our fishing industries and the seafood economy of eastern Maine,” said Alexa Dayton, MCCF’s executive director. “Staff have worked hard to get the space in great shape.”
Discovery Wharf will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parties of up to 20 can make reservations online at www.coastalfisheries.org.
And new this season is a 14-foot-long species map wall transformed into an interactive touch wall with the new “Wicked Weathah” exhibit. This climate change immersive video experience focuses on educating visitors about climate change and the ecosystem relationships between the ocean, land, and data.
MCCF’s Pat Shepard envisioned this exhibit and worked with PERCH Design Studio to bring it to life. Using a touch-screen table, visitors will select a location such as downtown Stonington or the Deer Isle Causeway and apply an environmental condition such as a 50- or 100-year storm surge or sea level rise. The floor-to-ceiling display provides an impactful augmented reality experience.
MCCF hopes that visitors will leave this exhibit with a sense of urgency for action and a deeper understanding about the effects of climate change on coastal infrastructure. MCCF appreciates the funding support from The Dorr Foundation and a Maine Community Foundation Community Building grant.
In addition, an expanded area of the organization’s facility is now dedicated to maritime exhibits including lobster and scallop gear, fish trawls, survival suits, life rafts, as well as wharf side interpretative displays, which depict information about the granite industry, Crotch Island, the town of Stonington, and the Stonington Fish Pier.
As a popular site on the Downeast Fisheries Trail, visitors become immersed in all things fishing as they navigate through the wharf-side space. School and camp groups should contact the MCCF office at 207-367-2708. Please note that the Discovery Wharf’s entrance is now located on the water-side of the building.