Eastern Maine’s last remaining amusement park is reopening this July 1 as Wild Acadia Camping Resort, offering 90 campsites with water and electricity hookups for recreational vehicles or camper trailers.
According to a report, Wild Acadia is one of the newest campgrounds in the Ellsworth area to keep up with tourist demands visiting Acadia National Park.
New and expanded campgrounds have opened in the last two years in Surry, Bar Harbor, and Tremont, while others are underway for Ellsworth and Bass Harbor.
Andrew Allen, who owns Wild Acadia with his brother James Allen, said that the idea of adding a campground to the amusement park had been considered by the prior owner and has been in the back of the brothers’ minds since they bought the business in 2011.
The fact that it is the last amusement park in eastern Maine has been a lingering concern, he said.
“There is a reason for that,” Allen said.
The popularity of amusement parks nationwide has been declining for years, according to Allen, noting that other types of entertainment such as games and movies have become more accessible, and consumer tastes overall have changed.
Over the years, Wild Acadia has reduced its evening staffing as it has gotten fewer and fewer customers late in the day.
“The business model [of offering amusements only] no longer works,” he said. “It was just sort of dying off. We needed to do something.”
Wild Acadia stayed closed in 2020 because of the pandemic, and the Allens decided to remain closed for 2021, so they could pursue the camping addition and because children under the age of 12 still were not eligible for vaccines.
While the pandemic and the decline of demand for the fun park continued, the popularity of camping has grown as people sought out more outdoor recreation to escape possible exposure to COVID, and integrated campgrounds have been proven to draw business to amusement parks outside Maine, Allen said.
Along with adding the 90 campsites, the Allens also decided to make some modifications to the fun park.
Allen said that before the pandemic, he did not expect how much the local tourism industry could change in such a short time. He said that his business might have to adapt even more in the next decade.
“It will be interesting to see what sort of other changes we either have to or want to make in another five or ten years,” Allen said.
According to its Facebook page, Wild Acadia Camping Resort has a variety of camping options, from simple tent sites to full big rig pull-throughs with full hookups.
For more information, visit Wild Acadia Camping Resort.