wells national estuarine research reserve

The Maine Coastal Ecology Center and the historic Laudholm farmhouse contain exhibits that provide visitors with a window on the world of coastal science — and a glimpse through the history of the Wells Reserve’s historic site.

Maine Coastal Ecology Center

Exhibits in the Maine Coastal Ecology Center explain how Wells Reserve researchers investigate estuarine environments and how the results of those investigations influence coastal management. They focus on salt marshes and tides, tidal restrictions, watersheds and water quality, plankton, fishes of the estuary, and research techniques.

In the Big House

Changing Landscapes

Explore how the landscape of southern Maine's coastal lowlands formed naturally over thousands of years and how that landscape both shapes and is shaped by the people who inhabit it.

The Wild Landscape — 14,000 years ago to 1400s

Beach stones connect visitors to the ice age The story begins with the weight of a mile-high glacier pressing down upon what is now the Maine coast. The end of the last Ice Age led to colonization of the coastal landscape by Wabanaki people.

The Economic Landscape — 1600s to 1800s

Colonial toys and games keep kids busy Subsistence lifestyles began to fade away as Europeans settled in the region, bringing a market-based approach to the landscape. The Industrial Revolution contributed to a decline in farming throughout New England.

The Domesticated Landscape — 1925

A model of Laudholm Farms as it appeared during its peak A “gentleman’s farm” flourishes under unique circumstances as Laudholm Farms embraces the progressive farming movement, but when the Great Depression strikes a blow the farm never regains its former glory.

The Protected Landscape — 2010 to Present

The Little River estuary is kept healthy through land conservation in the Merriland River and Branch Brook watersheds With roots firmly planted in the conservation movement, and strengthened by environmental legislation, people take responsibility for preserving and protecting landscapes for future generations. The Wells Reserve at Laudholm models and supports such efforts.

Laudholm Beach at the Wells Reserve

Exhibit Hours

Monday to Friday
10am to 4pm
Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day
Every Day
10am to 4pm