Children’s activities


Information compiled by Linda Galway
Photos by Linda Galway


Lewiston, Auburn and the surrounding communities offer a variety of activities for children of all ages. Whether your child’s interests lie in nature, sports, academics or any number of other venues, chances are you’ll find it in central Maine.

Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary, Junior Naturalist Program, Highland Spring Road, Lewiston, c/o Stanton Bird Club, P.O. Box 3172, Lewiston, ME 04243. Contact: Susan Hayward, 782-5238

This 357-acre wildlife preserve features an elevation of 510 feet, the highest point in the city. According to the website (http://www.avcnet.org/stanton/thorncrg.htm) Thorncrag encompasses a variety of wildlife habitat such as upland wetlands, mixed forest, restored farm meadows, vernal pools, coniferous old-growth forest, built environment (fireplaces, trails, foundations, walls, amphitheaters, etc.). These habitats support large, diverse populations of wildlife, trees, and herbaceous plants. Passive recreation at Thorncrag includes bird-watching, picnicking, hiking, walking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, skating, nature photography.


Thorncrag serves as the springboard for several community outreach programs and as a significant regional site for wildlife habitat enhancement demonstrations and forestry practices. The Junior Naturalist Club of the Stanton Bird Club is a program of natural history lessons and field trips for students in grades 3-5, notes coordinator Susan Hayward. The Club meets the first Monday of the month from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Auburn Public Library, followed by a Saturday field trip to local sites to study topics such as vernal pools, bog habitats, geology, bird counts, historical collections and fossils. The annual charge per child for membership dues and activity fee is $20.

Lost Valley Ski Area, 200 Lost Valley Road, Auburn, 784-1561
Although for much of its early history, Lost Valley was known primarily as a destination for skiers of all ages featuring night skiing and snow-making long before those became popular at the larger resorts, Lost Valley can now be considered a four-season destination, with numerous community and sporting activities on its calendar.
Annually Lost Valley sponsors a Fall Festival (this year, Oct. 4). “There’s chair lift rides to the top of the mountain, a hay wagon ride to Apple Ridge Orchard, a Petting Zoo, face painting and a ball bounce,” notes owner Connie King. All activities are geared toward pleasing the little ones in your family, she said.

Another adventurous activity at Lost Valley from April to November is the sport of paintball. The web site (http://lostvalleyski.com/) cites reasonable rates and 10-20 acres of densely-wooded playing fields. Paintball play gets going every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations not required for Open Play. The Valley is open 7 days a week for parties of 10 or more. Reservations are required.
When the weather turns colder, cold enough for snow man-made or otherwise, Lost Valley opens its snowboard terrain park and 17 alpine ski trails, offers lessons and an adaptive ski program and provides cross country ski trails for Nordic workouts and nature appreciation.

The Toy Library, (located in the New Life Community Center), 134 College St., Lewiston, 782-1112
“Safe, fun and friendly” are buzzwords used to describe The Toy Library, a unique place for children and their families. According to the web site (http://www.toylibrarymaine.com), this community-oriented association “recognizes the importance of families and community working together to promote self esteem and encourage positive play for children.”
With more than 6,000 sq. ft. on two floors, the Toy Library features a gymnasium on the upper level, “perfect for tricycles, big wheels, running and dancing.” The Time Out Café provides snacks.
Toys and more toys as well as numerous play stations consume the lower level, including a library corner, kitchenette, mini-slide and gym mat, a dress up corner, musical instruments and more. Parents agree that the large sandbox and ball pit are two of the primary attractions.
Fees are $2 per child; babies under 1 year and adults are free. Memberships are the best cost saving options while scholarships are available to those who need it. The Toy Library hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-noon and 2-4 p.m.


Sidebar:

? Androscoggin Bank Colisée, 190 Birch St. Lewiston, ME 04240; FMI: 207-783-2009, www.thecolisee.com. Offers public skating for all ages, including special skate nights for teens.
? Auburn Municipal Beach, Lake Auburn Outlet, Route 4, Auburn, ME 04210; Auburn Parks & Recreation, FMI: 207 333-6600, http://www.auburnmaine.org. Open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Bathhouses for changing and clean restrooms available.

? Auburn Public Library, 49 Spring Street, Auburn, ME 04210; [email protected], FMI: 333-6640 x 2004, Storytimes for infants and preschoolers, kids’ activities, summer reading programs and more.

? Beaver Park, Pinewoods Road, Lisbon, ME 04250, FMI: Verla Brooks, 207-353-9075. A 337-acre wooded property with three ponds, managed as a family day-use park. Activities include hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing, picnicking and swimming. Seven-acre field with two regulation softball diamonds and a one-mile fitness trail.


??Boys & Girls Club of Auburn/Lewiston, Auburn, ME 04210. FMI: 207-795-6713, http://www.bgcmaine.org Programs and services promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence. Activities include homework help (Power Hour); reading; computer instruction and games; educational games; school attendance and achievement reinforcement; career guidance and scholarship assistance. 

? Ingersoll Arena, Auburn Parks & Recreation Department, Auburn, ME 04210, FMI: Mike Berube, 207 333-6600 x2114, http://www.auburnmaine.org. Public skating, shinny hockey and figure skating from early November to mid-August.

? Lewiston Public Library, 200 Lisbon St., Lewiston, ME 04240. FMI: Children’s Desk, 207-513-3133; David Moorhead, [email protected]; Jake Paris, [email protected]; Lisa Bazinet, [email protected] http://lplonline.org/kids Programs aimed at a wide range of ages and interests, such as Babytime, Preschool Storytime, Summer Reading Game, Book Buddies, Cooking Club and more.

? Lewiston Public Skate Park, Lewiston Department of Recreation, Kennedy Park Lewiston, ME  04240, FMI: 207-513-3005, http://www.ci.lewiston.me.us/recreation/index.htm. Features a 12,000 square foot concrete, in-ground skatepark with bowls, ramps, stairs and half-pipes; open 8 a.m.-9 p.m., weather permitting.

??Pettengill Park/Union Street Gully, Auburn Parks & Recreation Department, Auburn, ME 04210, FMI: Peter Bushway 207 333-6600, http://www.auburnmaine.org. A 40-acre urban park, with a gymnasium at Hasty Community Center. Other amenities include a baseball field; a lighted softball field; four basketball courts; a youth football field; two horseshoe pits; four playground areas; a multi-purpose building; a scenic fishing pond; and the Ingersoll Arena indoor ice facility.

??Ricker Hill Orchards and Farm, 295 Buckfield Road, Turner, ME, FMI: 207-255-5552, http://www.rickerhill.com Pick-your-own orchard with fun activities for the kids such as a corn maze, petting zoo, hiking and biking trails, mini golf, obstacle cource, mini train ride and more!
??Roy’s All Steak Hamburgers & Golf Center, 2514 Turner Road, (Route 4) Auburn, ME. FMI: Jon Roy, 782-2801 http://roysgolf.com. Spacious golf driving range, 18-hole, mini golf course, four-station baseball and softball batting cages.

??Sparetime Recreation, 24 Mollison Way, Lewiston, ME 04240, FMI: Bill Boardman, 207 -786-BOWL (2695, www.sparetimerec.com [email protected] A 34-lane bowling center featuring automatic scoring and bumper systems to allow fun for the youngest bowlers; also, Lewiston-Auburn’s largest arcade with pool tables, air hockey and foosball.

??Taber’s, 473 Lake Shore Drive, Auburn, ME 04210. FMI: Daniel Hargreaves, 207- 784-2521. Mini-golf and driving range overlooking Lake Auburn. Snack shack.


??YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston, 62 Turner Street, Auburn, ME 04210. FMI: James Lawler, 207 795-4095, www.alymca.com. Besides program opportunities in childcare, youth sports, aquatics, teen center programs, and day camping (Camp Connor, a co-ed day camp for children ages 6-13), the YMCA has a complete fitness center, including a swimming pool, basketball gym, teen center and cafe.

??YWCA of Central Maine, 130 East Avenue, Lewiston, ME 04240, FMI: Pam Gallant interim ED, 207 795-4050, [email protected] Comprehensive aquatics programs, including a swim team, instruction, therapeutic and recreational classes. The YWCA also offers a summer camp.


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