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Christmas Family Fun  
by Ron Cloer


If you can squeeze in some quality family time between visits to the in-laws, school programs and shopping, Maine offers some activities that will interest you.  There is Maine’s version of the polar express train called the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company.  During the Christmas season they offer train rides on the weekends leading up to Christmas which they call Santa Fest 2006.    

According to their website you can join them “for a Portland Christmas season family tradition. Ride the two-foot narrow gauge railroad steam train along Casco Bay around the Eastern Promenade at the East End of the Portland waterfront. Christmas lighting decorates the coaches, and lighting displays decorate the 1.3 miles of track. The railroad museum is also decorated, and Santa waits to listen to children's Christmas wish lists. Homemade holiday cookies, hot chocolate and hot spiced apple cider set the Christmas tone among the vintage coaches and train exhibits. Unique Christmas gifts at the museum store include Thomas merchandise at 20% off.

Purchase tickets at the ticket booth at the corner of Franklin Arterial and Commercial Street. Adults: $10.00; Seniors $9.00; Children 3-12 $6.00; Children 2 and under are free.  Expect to spend up to an hour and a half for this fun family experience!”

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company & Museum
58 Fore Street
Portland, Maine 04101
207-828-0814

Website
http://www.mngrr.org/
 

Another place that you can have a family adventure is at the Children’s Museum of Maine, located in Portland.  Please be aware that the Museum is closed on Mondays except for members.  So don’t pack up the kids unless you’re a member except if you’re hobby is disappointing your children.  Their schedule includes all kinds of activities that the kids will love and adults can sneak around and try too.  Messy things like making snowmen out of shaving cream or soap, baking and decorating cookies that look like stained glass windows.  On Friday, December 22 they have a night tree celebration, which includes a “celebration of Eve Bunting’s classic story, Night Tree” along with an animal-friendly decoration to take home.  They will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Children’s Museum of Maine
142 Free Street, Portland

207-828-1234
Website
http://www.childrensmuseumofme.org/

 This last activity isn’t necessarily related to the Christmas season but you’re offspring will be mesmerized regardless.  In Scarborough, Maine there is a chocolate store called Len Libby Candies which has been around for years.  The wonderful smells that overtake your senses at the front door are tempting enough but there’s something more.  They have Lenny the Chocolate Moose!!!  Lenny is a life sized version of a real moose made entirely out of milk chocolate.  Tipping the scales at 1700 pounds this isn’t a small moose but it is one of the tastiest of all woodland creatures.
Originally sculpted in 1997 by Zdeno Mayercek this moose requires loving attention.  Beyond the air conditioned environment, Lenny is coated with a glaze to seal the chocolate and prevent evaporation.  It really wouldn’t help anyone to have a puddle of chocolate that used to be Lenny the Moose.  Since next year is Lenny’s 10th birthday there will be a surprise party for him.  Don’t be the one who tells him.  While your mouth is watering at the nearly ton of carved chocolate try some of their other chocolate creations.  Mouthwatering chocolate creations that you can eat and enjoy.

Len Libby’s Candies
Monday - Saturday from 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
Sunday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
(207) 883-4897
website  www.lenlibby.com