WILTON — New exhibits and events for children have opened at Western Maine Play Museum, at 561 Main St.

The Nature Room has a new focus on Maine wild animals. There are several animal tracks activities, and a large assortment of pelts and antlers to touch, on loan by Heather Holt and Nikki Knowles.

Andrea Matthews has created a large collection of animal costumes for imaginative play, and a stuffed coyote, a stuffed porcupine and a very large stuffed turkey oversee the room, on loan from Vance Childs at Fall’s Taxidermy Studio.

The Invention Room has become a Ninja Warrior Obstacle course, with balance beams, hula hoop activities, a tube tunnel, and huge handled balls to jump around with.

The Dark Room is a venue for imagining a Maine summer camping evening. Children can pretend it’s July, snuggle into sleeping bags in their tent, “warming up” around a “campfire” under a moonlit, starry sky, with cricket and loon summer noises to add to the atmosphere. And of course there may be a costumed moose, raccoon, or a mouse creeping through the campsite.

Special activities and special programming are coming up as well.

Messy Mondays with Miss Jessica will be featured from 10 to 11 a.m. Feb. 10 and 4. Children can make a creative mess without getting in trouble.

Come celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year through Jan. 31. Throughout that week, there will be crafts, activities, and a dragon parade to honor the Year of the Rat. Mr. Eddy Yuen is coming at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, to share origami and other childhood traditions. Check the museum’s Facebook page for times and more details for each of the events this week.

Lisl Fuson will make home-made valentines with children from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1.

Robert Cordes, from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, will give a presentation about Maine animals at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 3, in the Nature Room.

Mr. Drew and His Animals Too will give his entertaining and educational presentation on his exotic reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates from around the world on Friday, Feb. 17. At the end of the presentation, there will be time for some hands on with a few of the animals! There will be a fee for this presentation.

Looking ahead, the museum will host a unique event, Contraption Convention 2020, on the evening of March 7 in which local learners will be building and competing with homemade contraptions.

What’s a contraption? It’s a creative, often silly, and overly complex way of making a simple thing happen. In this case the simple thing will be to get a ping pong ball into a cup using a series of actions to complete the goal. See also: Rube Goldberg contraption.

Official rules (How big can this contraption be? What kind of materials can I use? etc.) are available on the museum’s Facebook event page and a paper copy will be given to participants when they register. Cash prizes ($75 for the winner and $25 for second place) in each age category ) (6-8, 9-11, and 12-14). Cost is $10 for each participant.

Participants must register and pick up materials at the museum during normal business hours. For more information regarding the event, email Angela McLeod at [email protected].

For more information about the museum, visit westernmaineplay.org.

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