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So, There's A Life-Size Game of Mouse Trap in Milwaukee

Remember the game Mouse Trap? Well, now you can enjoy a life-size version of the game in Milwaukee.

It's got the boot, bath tub and all.

Credit Hasbro
Remembering setting up this?

Mouse Trap, the game, came out in 1963. It fit in a box. The life-size version? It weighs 25 tons, travels around the country in a 53-foot semi trailer and will be on display at the Milwaukee Maker Faire at State Fair Park this weekend.

It's the vision of California-based "fungineer" and longtime 'Mouse Trap' fan Mark Perez. "I’m a natural builder," Perez explains. "So I had the idea that I’m going to make this large board game. And a lot of people are, like, 'No way – you can’t do that.' And so I said, 'Okay, you guys challenged me? Not a problem.'"

Perez built his first edition of the Mouse Trap in the mid-1990s, then sold it for scrap. He began the current version in 1998, "finished" construction in 2005, and has been on the road with it ever since.

The life-size edition fills part of the parking lot beyond Gate 4 at the State Fair Park. Perez says it normally takes four full days to set up, but because the Milwaukee installation comes on the heels of a New York visit, the building process was compressed to a little more than three days.

A crew consisting of experienced builders and local volunteers comes together to construct the Rube Goldberg machine. Perez's wife, Rose, drives the forklift and has helped him source building materials over the years.

"Some of the parts we repurpose and salvage," she says. "The crane [game part] has some wheels that Mark salvaged from an elevator repair company. He kept showing up at their dumpster at the end of the day and finally they said, 'Hey, we'll just give you this stuff.'"

Perez says crowds as large as 2,000 people have watched the Mouse Trap in previous installations in places like New York, San Francisco and Detroit.

They come for the sheer spectacle of seeing a bowling ball run through the course, which - unlike the board game - ends with a safe dropping onto a car. But Perez hopes there is a takeaway from his unique artistic creation. He hopes that kids understand that all the physics lessons they get in school have a real-life application.

"What we want to do," he says, "is to make kids and adults aware of all the physical properties around them, the six simple machines that exist - and basically have a lot of fun."

And, for those of you who forgot what the original was like - here's a very dramatic video:

Michelle was named WUWM's digital manager in August of 2021.