Andre the Seal, a charming and beloved harbor seal, became a heartwarming symbol of friendship and an animal-human bond in the small town of Rockport Maine. His story, which unfolded over more than two decades — starting in the 1960s — is a remarkable tale of loyalty, love, and the unique relationship between a seal and a human.
Andre’s Life in Rockport Maine
In 1961, Andre was found as a pup off the island of Robinson’s Rock in Penobscot Bay Maine. The young seal was abandoned and seemed in need of care. He was adopted by Harry Goodridge, a local tree surgeon and harbormaster in Rockport.
Goodridge raised Andre, initially hoping he would become a scuba diving companion and return to the wild. However, Andre formed a strong bond with Harry and chose to stay in Rockport until he died in 1986.
A Performer to the Core
Andre’s life in Rockport was filled with unique experiences. He was known to swim with the locals, go sledding, splash around in bathtubs, and even watch TV. Goodridge trained him to perform various tricks, such as shaking hands and leaping through a motorcycle tire, which made Andre quite a local star.
His interactions were not just limited to performing tricks, though. He was also part of Harry’s family, spending time inside their house, especially in the early years.
A Unique Migration Pattern
Unlike typical seals, which are nonmigratory, Andre developed a unique pattern of migration. In the late fall, Harry would take Andre to an aquarium for the winter. Remarkably, each spring, Andre would return to Rockport, navigating his way back to Harry.
This pattern continued for several years, with Andre spending winters at the New England Aquarium in Boston and the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut.
Andre Gains National Attention
Andre became more than just a pet or local attraction — he was a symbol of the town’s community spirit. His presence fostered a sense of unity and pride among the residents. The seal attracted visitors from all over, boosting local tourism and putting Rockport on the map as a getaway destination.
Andre’s story attracted national attention, leading to media coverage in major magazines and TV shows. His story was also captured in hundreds of news articles, several books, a 1994 feature film by Paramount Pictures, and a PBS documentary.
Andre’s legacy in Rockport is commemorated by a memorial statue in the harbor, erected in his honor in 1978. The statue underwent a significant restoration in 2018, further cementing Andre’s status as a cherished figure in the community.
“We went to Rockport Marine Park just to see the Andre The Seal statue/memorial. It’s such a picturesque setting with boats, lobster traps, trees, and greenery. There were plenty of benches and picnic tables scattered throughout the park. There is parking and it was free to visit.
It makes a great photo opp. If a fan of the 1990’s Andre movie you’ll love it! Even if you are unaware of Andre and are in the area, this is a must do! We would definitely return!”Charity M., Tripadvisor review
Andre’s life story is a poignant example of the deep connections possible between humans and wildlife. It challenges conventional views on wildlife, demonstrating the potential for mutual understanding and companionship across species.
Andre the Seal Statue
Decades after his passing, Andre the Seal continues to symbolize the extraordinary bonds that can form between humans and animals. His story remains a testament to the joys and wonders of such relationships and their impact on communities and conservation efforts.
Andre’s remarkable life in Rockport Maine epitomizes a unique and heartfelt chapter in the narrative of human-animal relationships, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of those who knew him and inspiring many more through his enduring legacy.
More to Explore in Rockport Marine Park
Beyond visiting Andre the Seal’s statue, Rockport Marine Park is a destination in MidCoast Maine. It features restored 19th and early 20th-century lime kilns, with informative displays about lime production, a key industry of Rockport’s past.
“A visit to this beautifully situated marine park is deemed mandatory for us when visiting Maine’s the mid-coast. The beautiful harbor is the #1 reason to visit, but there are others reasons as well such as the history behind the kilns, the story of Andre the seal and more. Recently added are a pair of adirondack chairs carved to look like puffins.”westie2, Tripadvisor review
Also, the park offers enjoyable schooner cruises on the Heron, allowing visitors to explore the area’s maritime history and marine life. Additionally, there’s a lush grassy space with benches for relaxing and enjoying harbor views.
“We stopped by just to try to see the Indian Island Lighthouse – it is visible on the east side of the inlet with binoculars or a zoom lens. So we only stayed about 15 minutes, long enough to take photos in the chairs painted to look like puffins; look at the statue of Andre the seal; look at the locomotive and lime kilns; and watch boats in the harbor and a person climbing a mast to work on it. It was a very pretty and well-kept park.”LovesPhotoOps, Tripadvisor review
Rockport Marine Park is a delightful spot for a day visit, offering a blend of history, relaxation, and marine adventure.
Exploring Rockport Maine Beyond Andre the Seal
While the story behind Andre the Seal is amazing and visiting his statue is a fun experience, Rockport Maine has plenty more to explore. The idyllic harbor is full charm, and the town is surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty.
Plus, the town’s quaint downtown has historic buildings, boutique shops, inspiring galleries, and delectable dining options. With a peaceful setting and scenic harbor, Rockport Maine is a fantastic place to stay for a getaway too.