PORTLAND — Families gathered at the Children’s Museum and Theatre this morning to celebrate the health of their children born prematurely.

While parents shared stories of their experiences in the neonatal intensive care unit, toddlers played with the various amusements the museum offers and infants were held close by their mother or father.

After a five-year hiatus, the March of Dimes sent out 3,000 invitations to families around the state and received an overwhelming response. March of Dimes Maine State Director Erin O’Connor Jones said registration had to be closed after they received 500 reservations.

“It really felt important with our presence in the NICU increased, to recognize families,” O’Connor Jones said, watching parents in line, greeting each other and catching up with the staff of nurses volunteering their time.

March of Dimes plans to host another event this winter for families who could not attend today due to the space constraints of the museum.