Updated February Vacation Schedule

February vacation starts at the end of today! If you’re using the Kitetails Newsletter we sent in January to plan your February vacation week visits to the Museum & Theatre, there is a slight change in our schedule. We’ve added more programs throughout the week so you and your family can have the best experience possible. Here is our full planned schedule for February 13-21.

Custard the Dragon and his friends Blink, Ink and Mustard!

Saturday, February 13
11am: Valentine’s Day Card Making ♥
11:30am: Smart Shopping
1pm: Sowing Seeds: Planning and Plotting
2pm: Chinese New Year: Ribbon Dancing!
3pm: The Story of Istar
3:30pm: Pine Cone Bird Feeders

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Sunday, February 14
12:30pm: The Story of Istar
2pm: Big Messy Art: Valentine’s Day Cards ♥

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Monday, February 15
Open to Members: 9-10am Open to Public: 10am-5pm
10am: Soapy Snowmen
11:30am: Custard the Dragon Puppet Show ($5/members, $13/non-members*)
1:30pm: Tip-top hats!
3:30pm: This Little Piggy Saves Continue reading “Updated February Vacation Schedule”

TD Bank invites preschoolers to celebrate the Toddler Park

Standing- Left to Right: Kathy Brown, TD Bank Retail Marketing Manager; Judi Austin, TD Bank Store Manager; Larry Wold, TD Bank Market President for Maine Front- Left to Right: PROP employee; Dorothy Kosinski, PROP Child & Family Services Team Leader

A few months back, one of our friends at TD Bank contacted me to brainstorm ideas for celebrating their ongoing support of the Toddler Park and early childhood programming through the TD Charitable Foundation. They wanted an event that would open up the Toddler Park and the whole Museum to children and families who could not otherwise afford to come.

Here’s what they came up with: inviting the students at PROP’s Head Start preschool and their teachers and families for a special private visit!  Several members of TD Bank’s local and regional teams came to play with our young guests. From a pair of tiny twins who did a never-ending series of laps around Our Town, to TD Bank Market President Larry Wold who made himself quite at home in Toddler Park, everyone had a blast!

Larry Wold- TD Bank Market President for Maine

A big thanks to TD Bank for making this event possible! We look forward to seeing our friends from PROP again soon – they’ll be visiting us soon for a new literacy program funded in part by the Edward H. Daveis Benevolent Fund.

Sneak Peek at The Emperor’s New Clothes!

When a new show is coming up in our Dress Up Theatre, I try not to let myself see too much of the rehearsals – I love to experience the show for the first time with a live audience full of families. However, I couldn’t resist sneaking down to the lower level for a quick peek at what the cast of The Emperor’s New Clothes has been up to.

The cast was bursting with energy, and I caught a couple of very funny scenes featuring the sneaky tricksters, the Emperor, the Empress and their court.

They were trying out their costumes for the first time, so I got a hint of what the production will be like, but the real magic will happen when lighting, sets, music, and audience are all in place. I’m looking forward to March 4th!

The Emperor and Empress address their court
The tricksters, Anna and Karl, come up with a plan to swindle their way into some money
Emperor Frederik and Empress Sophie
Stefan, the Imperial Chief of Staff, and Hans, the Imperial Speechwriter

Tickets for this show and Cinderella are on sale now! Call the front desk at 828-1234 x231 or click here to get your seats!

How well do you know What about Whales?

Have you noticed those colorful pillows in the What about Whales? exhibit?  They’re more than just a cozy place to rest after dancing up a storm while acting like a whale in front of the green screen.*  Each pillow mimics the size and shape of one of Istar the humpback whale’s organs.

A key:

  • Red, (Teardrop-Shaped) = heart
  • Pink (Long and Wavy) = lung
  • Purple (Elongated) = kidney
  • Orange (Blob) = liver
  • Yellow (Shaped like a Filled in number 8 ) = stomach
Peeking at Istar from the second floor Book Nook

Another idea for getting the most out of What about Whales?: play a migration game using the painted sandwich boards in the center of the exhibit.  Ask your child to wear the “see like a whale” goggles and try walking towards the big glass doors at the back of the first floor while you try to interrupt his or her journey by acting out the many hazards (described on the small red signs) that a humpback whale encounters while traveling to the warm Caribbean for the winter.

The summer months humpback whales spend in the Gulf of Maine are a time to fill up on mackerel and plankton and build up their fat stores.  Then, during the winter breeding season, humpbacks eat much less.  Imagine if a couple months of the year, you ate all you could, and then just had a couple of small snacks each day for the rest of the year!  Unlike whales, people need regular meals all year round.

After your game, talk about ways people help protect whales.  Here’s an example: in areas including Boston Harbor and the Bay of Fundy, shipping lanes have been changed to avoid the places where whales are most commonly spotted, reducing the likelihood of collisions between whales and boats.

* Note: to the left of the exhibit entrance, kids who don a whale costume and step in front of the camera projector will see themselves on video with humpback whales in the ocean.  This setup uses the same technology used to place weather forecasters in front of a digital map on TV!

February Vacation Week Tips

If you’re planning a trip to Portland during February vacation week or just looking for some fun things to do, I’ve got some useful tips!

When you’re walking around Portland and you suddenly wish you had a map or directions, stop into the Portland information center in Deering Oaks Park, which is open 7 days a week from 10am-3pm (see map for location).

Note: the Visitors Center located in Ocean Gateway terminal will reopen in March so if you find yourself walking or driving towards the building with the giant clock, it won’t be open!

Parking in Portland doesn’t have to be an obstacle course if you plan ahead! Click here for a useful map of all the parking garages in the city and learn how you can get discounted parking with a visit to the Museum & Theatre. Portland Downtown District offers additional parking discounts here.

If you want a planned activity or itineraries of “must see places,” a really great website I used when I first moved to Portland is www.visitportland.com or you can check the daily events on www.mainetoday.com.

Of course, we have lots of programs for families during February vacation week at the Museum & Theatre, including a special puppet show about Custard the Dragon!   Keep an eye on our calendar of events and stay tuned for an upcoming post with more information about our schedule. Happy vacation planning!

Spotlight on Waynflete High School Volunteers

While I love my role as an Educator, I also love my Volunteer Coordinator duties and seeing amazing projects happen thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers who help out in a variety of ways. Yesterday was especially exciting as we had a group of sophomores from Waynflete High School join us for a morning filled with yellow and blue paint! The hard-working group transformed our somewhat neglected staff kitchen and lounge area into a beautiful, inviting space. A HUGE thanks to this fantastic group!

Here are some before and after pictures of our kitchen and lounge:

Before: these walls could use some color!

Continue reading “Spotlight on Waynflete High School Volunteers”

Meet Allison, a Theatre volunteer!

I love working with enthusiastic volunteers and I want to share one of them with you. Allison acted and volunteered with the Children’s Theatre of Maine for years and I am so lucky that she has continued her volunteer work here at the Museum & Theatre. The kids love her and she is so helpful during rehearsals! Here is what Allison had to say about her experiences volunteering with the theatre program:

Allison outside the Dress-Up Theatre

“My first memories of the Children’s Theatre of Maine are from when it was still located on Marginal Way, where I participated in several of the summer musical-intensive camps. It was an opportunity to gain theatre experience outside of my school, work with new kids, and make new friends. I had so much fun undergoing our intense rehearsal schedules; we had the chance to spend every day singing and dancing for 8 hours! By high school, I was completely immersed in our drama program and am currently majoring in Theatre and Art History at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania. I became re-immersed into the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine as I was searching for summer jobs and keeping my fingers crossed for something within my field of study. Continue reading “Meet Allison, a Theatre volunteer!”

Fairchild Semiconductor and our Youth Rangers make science fun!

Winter marks a busy season for science programming at Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine. Our Youth Ranger program, generously funded by Fairchild Semiconductor, is an innovative leadership training program for students in grades 8-11 interested in environmental education. It involves recruiting, training and employing teenagers as environmental science educators who work under the guidance of staff mentors.  Rangers deliver programs and serve as nature experts on the Explore Floor (that’s our second floor). The program is powerful because it supports our long term goal of promoting responsible stewardship of Maine’s environment.

Youth Ranger Fiona talks to a young visitor about the turtles in the Ranger Station.

Youth Rangers run programs each weekend and throughout school vacation weeks at the Tidepool Touch Tank and inside the Ranger Station. They facilitate visitor interaction with activity kits covering environmental themes such as animal behavior, forest and water resources, patterns in nature, food webs, and Leave No Trace principles.  Please stop by the Ranger Station and ask a Youth Ranger a science question. If they don’t have the answer, they’ll inquire and get right back in touch!

Little Youth Rangers in training and their parents can visit this website for some fun science activities to do at home!

For a full list of our 2008-2009 educational programming corporate and foundation funders, click here.