Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Summer of Trains

In our house, our toddler's fascination chugs along with trains. We've tolerated, even encouraged, watching trains, playing with trains, and reading about trains. We've spent plenty of time on YouTube watching trains go through intersections, plow snow, and just chug along. You'd be amazed what is out there and what simplicity captivates a 2-year-old.

This past summer, we've visited the local train museum to tour old trains, play on train tables, and even ride a caboose. Jack was more than a kid in a candy store. He was a boy in a train store. If the train fascination continues, we'll likely have the next birthday party here.....even if we don't have many attendees since it is all the way on the other side of the metro.

Next, we went to the model train museum to see working train models and toy trains of every sort and size. Jack enjoyed this even more, perhaps because the scale of the trains wasn't so intimidating. One area was designed as a mini-1950s Minneapolis with so much detail. Clearly, this place was designed for young boys with trains on the brain. And grown-up boys who never grew out of the fascination.

Then, we had to get creative. We rode trolley trains. We played on a train at a park. We rode a steamboat that had a whistle 'like a train'. We rode over train tracks and took the route to see the trains every chance we got. In the morning, our eggs are cut out in the shape of trains...sometimes our toast too.

But all summer long, talk revolved around going to see the Granddaddy of them all. Thomas.

O, if I'd only had a relative to invest in Thomas the Tank Engine years ago. The Day out with Thomas happened at the largest train museum in the state, which is in Duluth. We went to see the huge ships--ships that are the size of a city block--go through the lift bridge and into Lake Superior. Jack simply turned after watching one of the behemoths move through and asked 'See the trains, now?'  Clearly not impressed with anything that didn't ride the rails, he did get a kick out of watching the trains deliver minerals from the Iron Range to the large ships. Just driving through the railroad yard on the edge of the harbor was proof the trip was worth it.

 Then, the big day arrived. Jack took off his Thomas pajamas, donned his Thomas shirt, and then we saw Thomas actually come chugging up to the station. And Jack wasn't so sure anymore.
 Actually, he was completely sure he did NOT want to get on that train. I carried him on board kicking and screaming for our very brief, over-priced 30 minute trip on Thomas. During which, I might add, he would NOT pose for a picture with his mother.
 By the end of the ride, we were a tad bit happier about the experience as we passed by real trains.

 The real fun came later when Jack explored the museum. He played with the train tables and climbed in and out of engines, passenger cars, and cabooses. He colored Thomas pictures and played with Thomas building blocks. Yes, all the world was a train and he was basking in it all.

And when we left, he was kicking and screaming again. Because this was a place that was too good to be true. And we've talked about it every. day. since.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Love that he is so into the trains! John still talks about his day out with Thomas (when he was 2.5!) so it's well worth it. Just wait until Jack comes up and tells you he want's a 2.5 million dollar car, a Buggati Veyron.