Not so long ago we took a trip out to Lancaster County to visit the choo-choo trains for a very special 4 year olds birthday.
Can you believe it? Me neither! But get a load of this-- this is a picture of our kids the last time we went:
It seriously seems like just yesterday! And here's most of the gang now:
They're so beautiful-- such a blessing to be their mommy!
We went on a sunday that happened to be a Day out With Thomas. However, our four year old was terrified of the trains. We had expected this as our previous trip many years ago the same thing had happened. So, after a quick peek at the large moving trains, we headed across the street to the museum. It is a lovely building with beautifully and painstakingly restored trains of all ages and colors-- a real delight!
The second floor of the museum hosts various exhibits and currently they have a lovely photo exhibit of trains as well as some old artifacts. After viewing this room, you head out to a large overpass that lets you enjoy the trains from an aerial view. If you have a stroller, I'd suggest skipping this part as the only way down the overpass is steps. Thankfully, we had the moby wrap and had worn good walking shoes. You will be doing a good deal of strolling and climbing in and out of the trains, so dress accordingly.
Also, even though we are a prominently male family, my daughter and I also tremendously enjoyed the museum as well. Please don't think of this as a place where families of boys should go-- families of all ages and genders will find enjoyment here!
Towards the rear of the museum there are various amounts of hands on activities for the kids to enjoy. Our kids shoveled coal, helped with a train latch, and learned how specialty trains operated.
This is one of my favorite images from the day-- so special the bond between these two brothers. I would suggest visiting the museum on a day when you know the train station will be crowded as it left the museum less crowded. The special time together is always the highlight of any outing-- the extra bonus of seeing so much history was icing on the cake!
If you are wondering how the baby did, well, he did sleep for a good deal of the trip in his wrap and then when it was time to eat, we found an old movie on refrigerator trains that we watched-- very interesting the extra work that went into cooling their food 60-70 years ago!
A favorite train that the family could go in and tour was this vivid modern blue one (and I apologize at my lack of technical terms, but it is what it is :D)
They also enjoyed the classics...
We ended our tour through the museum towards the front. Here they had various mock store fronts, an old station landing, and best of all, a play area with every imaginable toy train ever built.
There is also a huge village made entirely out of legos-- very cool! Also, and I apologize my camera battery died but it will peek your interest, there is a huge train "graveyard" if you will outside of even more trains. Seeing their dilapidated state gives the viewer an even greater appreciation for the restoration and man hours that went into making the other trains inside so beautiful! They also have plans for an additional building and roundtable to be built and restored which should be an exciting addition! On a side note, there are some picnic tables available for picnicking and there is a lovely view from the rear of the museum! For more information, visit their website http://www.strasburgrailroad.com/#
Also, while you are out there just a mile down the road there is a lovely old fashioned ice creamery. Its a very sweet ending to a lovely family outing!