With summer break soon approaching, it can be hard to find new things to do with friends. If you prefer something out of the ordinary, or want to attend something inside, you can try Maine’s International Cryptozoology Museum.
With a primary location in Portland and a smaller one in Bangor, the museum has paraphernalia about cryptids and urban legends. According to the website, this is the world’s only cryptozoology museum.
The Portland location is at Thompson’s Point, which is near the Children’s Museum and Theatre and is only a short way from the Cross Insurance Arena. It is a convenient area to stop during a larger trip, whether it be to the Maine Mall or just the area in general.
The primary location of the museum is going to move permanently to Bangor in a few years. It is already slowly being changed over, although Portland still has the majority of exhibits for now. Being closer to the university, this location would be more convenient to go to for students. The Bangor location is on Hammond street, down the road from Umami Noodle Bar and Blaze Grill.
The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday, with last admissions concluding at 5:30 pm. Inside the small building are two stories dedicated to famous creatures.
Cryptozoology is the study of and search for unknown or folklore creatures. This includes beings that once existed along with those that are urban legends. The term cryptid refers to creatures that some believe exist but are not recognized by science, with Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster being two of the most famous. Many of these are one specific entity, such as the Jersey Devil or Nessie, while some are just a rumored type of creature.
There’s plenty of history about cryptids at the museum. One section has a replica of the Fiji mermaid. This mermaid was a famous hoax displayed by P.T. Barnum in 1842. It was found to be the head of a young monkey sewn to a fish tail. While long disproven, it is still a well-known tale of those showing off supposed cryptids. A number of the museum’s exhibits were used in movies.
Some of their exhibits also include statues of the cryptids, such as a fuzzy, man-sized Mothman that sits across from the second-floor viewing area, where he has an entire section devoted to him. There’s also a hanging mermaid skeleton, a werewolf snarling by a display case, and a 9-foot iron skeleton lying across the top of cases containing supposed Bigfoot prints. There is a case containing a number of skulls, or at least replicas, of homo sapiens and older species, as well as stuffed heads of things such as jackalopes and other animals.
Besides the figures and information, there is also artwork displayed. Collections of art show creatures as well as just providing fun decoration above the exhibits.
While not particularly large, the museum is a fun walk-around for those who enjoy cryptids and other enigmatic creatures. There are plenty of things to take pictures of. The building is crammed full of things to look at, using its small space effectively. There’s also a small gift shop.
Besides the museum, both Portland and Bangor have plenty more things to do in the area. Both cities have a number of restaurants and other stores, for example in Bangor, there’s the Rock and Art Shop as well as Mexacali Blues. Portland also has a number of cafes and seafood restaurants, as well as whatever else one would desire.
Alongside the museum is the International Cryptozoology Society. Formed in 2016, the society pushes to research more about the unknown creatures and publishes a journal in collaboration with the museum. The cryptozoology museum is a non-profit organization.
The International Cryptozoology Museum, while not the largest or most scientific museum, makes for an interesting trip with friends and is well worth the admission price and time.