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Children's Museum and Theatre

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Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine
142 Free Street
Portland, Maine 04101
Voice: 207-828-1234

Hours:

Summer Hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day)
Monday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: 12pm – 5pm
Winter Hours (Labor Day through Memorial Day)
Monday: CLOSED to the public (open for members only 9am – 11am)
Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: 12pm – 5pm

Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine is a can’t-miss destination for families visiting Greater Portland. Children and parents play, imagine and act together in a hands-on, interactive learning environment. Exhibits, programs and productions are created especially for children 0-10 and their families, with a focus on early childhood, science, multicultural and arts education. A friendly and well-trained staff guides exploration through three floors of exhibits.

Lower Level: Imagination reigns in the Dress Up Theatre. A stage, a trunk full of costumes and kid-friendly light and sound boards inspire kids to act out their most outrageously creative tales. During Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine productions, this exhibit space is transformed into a real theatre, where shows by and for kids are performed before audiences of all ages. From toddlers to grandparents, audiences are enthralled by the Theatre’s sharp, poignant, funny productions. Check the website’s Theatre page for show dates and times www.kitetails.org. You may want to call ahead or use the web to reserve seats – many shows sell out! The lower level is also home to the café area, where families who packed a lunch can recharge with a bite to eat (if you didn’t pack a picnic, there are many great restaurants and sandwich shops in the neighborhood; the front desk staff will be happy to make suggestions. Get your hands stamped if you’re going out to grab a bite, then come back – your admission is good all day!) Adjacent to the café is the Diner exhibit, where kids’ culinary creativity comes to life as they play chef.

First Floor:

The Museum & Theatre’s front gallery features Have a Ball, where children experiment with balls, tracks and ramps to learn about physics and motion. In the interconnected exhibits of Our Town, kids can play dozens of different roles in a child-sized community. They can save the day in a fire truck, milk a cow or count eggs on the farm, shop for healthy foods at the market, or pull in the catch of the day on a Maine lobster boat. At the center of Our Town lies the toddler park, a contained, soft, safe play space for children under three. The first floor also features the Big Gallery, home to a series of rotating exhibits. Dinotracks is the featured exhibit through December 2009. It includes real fossils, a treadmill where kids can race a dinosaur, interactive games and much more.

Second Floor:

Kids love to explore Discovery Woods, where they can climb a rock wall, pack a backpack full of real outdoor tools, build a camp site and send boats down the Cascade Stream. The Ranger Station offers games, models, costumes, books and frequent programs that teach visitors about animals and the living world. In the summer months, the Ranger Station is also home to a working bee hive, which fascinates parents and children alike. The Saw Mill and its connected tree house let kids find the connection between the forest and the lumber we use each day. The domed Space Shuttle features a cockpit and space suits for aspiring astronauts, and a mini-planetarium in which educators lead programs about the night sky. Inspired by Portland’s growing cultural diversity, the We Are Maine exhibit features video testimonials from twenty Maine kids who share stories, foods and traditions that highlight their international roots. Kids thrill as they spin the giant globe and discover new cultures.

Visitors can play at the Museum & Theatre and enjoy the beautiful Maine weather: the Shipyard is a seasonal outdoor space, open April to November (weather permitting). The yard features an enormous ship with a crow’s nest and brig for pirate adventure. Families also enjoy playing whimsical instruments in the music garden, or just munching their lunch at the picnic tables. Tucked away on the third floor of the Museum is the Camera Obscura, one of only twenty in the US. A Focus Room with optical experiments and history leads the way to the camera room, where a guide takes visitors on a panoramic tour of Portland – in a room without windows! Many come without children for the Camera Obscura program (a Camera Obscura-only admission rate is available) – this rare exhibits fascinates visitors of all ages.



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