GRAY, Maine -- The 7th annual FISH AND WILDLIFE OPEN HOUSE will be held on Saturday, September 10th, from 9:30am-3:30pm, at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray. This event is designed to showcase the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's programs, projects and personnel. Wildlife and fisheries biologists, safety officers, hatchery staff and game wardens will be on hand and in person, to talk about fisheries, wildlife, safety and enforcement programs and projects throughout the day.
Admission is FREE for all those attending on September 10th, although a $1 donation to benefit the Maine Wildlife Park would be greatly welcomed to help support improvements to the park's wildlife exhibits and displays. Fall is a great time to visit the park; the weather is cooler, the many wildlife and flower gardens are in spectacular form; and the wildlife is displaying full sets of antlers and attractive fall fur coats.
To raise funds for wildlife exhibit improvements, the Friends of the Maine Wildlife Park will be providing a barbeque lunch for visitors on this day only! Burgers, hotdogs, potatoes, cole slaw, soda and apple pie are on the menu for purchase.
September 10th will also be the last open day of this season for the new Wildlife Art Gallery at the Park, which was launched this summer.
Patricia Chandler, the artist who curated both of its summer shows, was very upbeat about what 'The Gallery' had already accomplished. "We wanted to bring attention to fine quality wildlife and Landscape art, in all mediums, and provides an outlet for choice examples of Native American work. Our comment book is filled with rave reviews, and we were contacted by several collectors who were very impressed with the quality of work we had on display."
Another important aspect of 'The Gallery's' purpose is to use art to bring the public's attention to the environment, and the importance of maintaining wildlife habitats, both directly in line with the mission of the Wildlife Park. Toni Seger, founder of the Western Oxford Foothills Cultural Council, sponsor of 'The Gallery', says she thinks the alliance of a gallery and a wildlife park has been a good one for the public. "We've seen animal lovers discover they can be art lovers and we've seen artists appreciated for the strong feelings they express about the natural world. All in all, it's been a very good partnership for both art and nature."
The Gallery's current show features work by Persis Weirs, a nationally known artist, former Maine Duck Stamp winner, and MDIFW Volunteer Print artist. Work by the Maine Indian Basket Alliance has proved to be quite popular. Another exhibitor, watercolorist Thomas Merriam, has produced a limited edition Commissioner's print and a Volunteer Print for IF&W, and has recently finished a mural in Naples. Other exhibitors include the photography of Dirk McKnight, the symbolic paintings of Shaman Scarlet Kinney and The Gallery's curator, Patricia Chandler, as well as other artists including a themed exhibit of hand painted vases, lamps and other items by June and Paul Brown of Forest Creations.
There is no admission fee to the park on 'Open House' day, and 'The Gallery will open at 11am through closing time.
And on Sunday, September 11, the officially designated GRANDPARENTS DAY, Maine grandparents will be honored and appreciated at the park by being admitted FREE, when accompanied by their children and/or grandchildren.
The summer series of special wildlife presentations winds down with the tremendously popular October "Halloween Night Hike", running from 6-8pm on Friday October 14th. (Rain date: Saturday Oct. 15th, 6-8pm) The Wildlife Park Nature Store will be open with wildlife and nature merchandise for all ages; and the Friends of the Maine Wildlife Park 'Snack Shack' sells ice cream, soda and light snacks, with all monies raised donated to the Wildlife Park for wildlife exhibit improvements and new construction.
The Maine Wildlife Park has over 25 species of native wildlife on display, plus wildlife gardens, nature trails, and other interactive exhibits and displays. The park is open daily through November 11th from 9:30am-4:30pm; visitors must leave the premises by 6:00pm. Admission to the park is free for ages 3 and under; $3.25 ages 4-12; $5.00 for adults, and $4.00 for seniors. Groups of 15 or more are $2.50 per person. Bring a picnic and spend the day! Family and Community Season Passes are available.
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