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Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

250 Thompsons Point Rd, Portland, ME 04102, USA

Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

USD 16

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"When visiting the Portland Children's Museum, make sure to check out the daily schedule for special activities and story times—some of the best events aren't advertised widely and are a treat for the kids. Plus, locals know to bring a change of clothes for children as the museum features water play areas that are a big hit but can get quite messy."

What is Portland Children's Museum?

The Portland Children's Museum is a wonderland of learning and creativity designed specifically for children and their families. Nestled in the scenic Washington Park of Portland, Oregon, this hands-on museum offers a playful and interactive environment where children can explore, imagine, and discover through engaging exhibits and programs. Each space in the museum is meticulously crafted to inspire a child's curiosity, inviting them to touch, play, and experiment, which is a cornerstone of the museum's philosophy that children learn best through hands-on experiences.

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When you walk through the doors of the Portland Children's Museum, you're not just entering another educational institution; you're stepping into a community dedicated to the idea that every child has the potential to shape the world around them. Facilities like the maker studio and the water play area aren't just fun; they're also habitats for learning, carefully designed to support the developmental stages of children. What's special is the museum's ability to foster learning that feels more like play—a gift to every child's innate sense of wonder.

History of Portland Children's Museum

The Portland Children's Museum has a rich history that dates back to 1946, which makes it one of the oldest children's museums in the nation. Originally, it was established as the "Junior Museum" by the Portland Park's superintendent, Dorothea Lensch. The museum began as a van packed with natural history exhibits and art supplies, traveling around to different school locations, and soon found a permanent home due to its popularity. It wasn't long before the it became a cherished part of the community.

Over the years, the museum has evolved, both in its mission and its physical placement. It moved to its current location in Washington Park in 2001, which enabled it to expand its exhibits and educational programs. This move was crucial to accommodate the growing number of visitors. The museum's unique approach to playful learning has been influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach; an educational philosophy that advocates child-centered education through self-directed, experiential learning in a relationship-driven environment.

Why is Portland Children's Museum Important?

The Portland Children's Museum is significant because it champions the educational philosophy that learning should be fun and natural. The museum serves as a living laboratory where children can manipulate objects, test out ideas, and observe real-world phenomena. It represents a shift from traditional educational models towards a learning process that values creativity and problem solving—with the child's interests at heart.

Furthermore, the museum's dedication to being an accessible space for all children is key to its importance in the community. It ensures that children from diverse backgrounds have the opportunity to learn and grow, embracing inclusivity and equity. The museum also provides an essential resource for parents and educators, offering inspiration and techniques for effective learning and engagement with children.

Things to Do & See at Portland Children's Museum

There's a wealth of experiences awaiting every family at the Portland Children's Museum. For starters, the museum's exhibits like the Pet Hospital, Grocery Store, and Water Works encourage role-playing and stimulate economic understanding and scientific curiosity. They allow children to slip into roles and learn indirectly about the adult world in ways that resonate with their unbounded imaginations.

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In the Clay Studio, children can sculpt and mold to their heart's content, while the Theater provides a space for the dramatic arts, allowing kids to craft stories and express themselves through performance. Outdoor exploration isn't left out either—the Outdoor Adventure area is a natural haven for kinetic play and engagement with the environment.

  • Twilight Trail: Adventure through a nighttime woodland environment and watch as children interact imaginatively with cozy dens and a campsite.
  • Maker Studio: Encourages invention and problem-solving through real tools and materials. Children collaborate and create tangible projects.
  • Storyland: Brings books to life as kids engage in settings from beloved children's literature, deepening their love for reading and stories.

Every corner of the Portland Children's Museum encourages learning that doesn't feel like learning. It's the type of place that many of us wish we could revisit as children, where discovery and joy go hand in hand, and where the enduring memories of childhood are crafted with purpose and playfulness.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Portland Children’s Museum?

The Portland Children’s Museum is an interactive museum designed to inspire imagination, creativity, and the wonder of learning in children, through hands-on exhibits and programs.

Where is the Portland Children's Museum located?

The Portland Children's Museum is located in Portland, often within Washington Park, a large green space that includes other attractions such as the Oregon Zoo and the Portland Japanese Garden.

What age group is the Portland Children's Museum best suited for?

The museum is best suited for children ages 0-12, providing age-appropriate exhibits and activities that cater to a wide range of developmental stages.

Are there educational programs available at the Portland Children's Museum?

Yes, the Portland Children’s Museum offers a variety of educational programs, including classes, camps, and workshops designed to enhance the learning experience of visitors.

Can I host a birthday party at the Portland Children's Museum?

Yes, the museum often provides facilities and programs for birthday parties and other private events. It's recommended to contact the museum directly for current offerings and booking procedures.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

250 Thompsons Point Rd, Portland, ME 04102, USA

Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

USD 16

Find it on google maps