Thursday, May 24, 2012

Free Fun in the Big City (Part 2)

A few Saturdays ago was a pretty big deal.  It was National Train Day!  Trains are a BIG deal in our family.  Joel LOVES all things trains.  My grandpa and great grandfather both worked for the railroad, so trains are special to me too.  We made big plans for National Train Day this year.  Unfortunately, Jim had to play a wedding and couldn't join us for the fun.  So I decided to venture out with the 2 kids in tow independently.  We drove to our local train station just a few miles from our house.  Then attempted to buy a weekend pass train ticket for me ($7 on and off all weekend) with both kids being free, however, I didn't realize that the stations don't have attendants on the weekend.  I've only taken the train one other time and it was with 4 adults and only 1 kid almost 3 years ago.  So, Joel, Kirstin, and I skeptically waited around until the designated time for the train.  
He was so precious as he was sitting at the station.

 We were pleasantly surprised when the train showed up and stopped.  We anxiously and excitedly climbed aboard.  Fortunately, you can buy the ticket from the conductor.  Joel, who is well read about trains, was very intrigued by the conductor coming to take (sell us) our ticket.

I love this picture of Joel and Scheppy watching the suburbs go past as we take the train downtown.

Kirstin was trying to steal Joel's conductor's hat.

So where were we taking the train?  We went to Union Station!  They had several FREE exhibits to celebrate National Train Day.  There was a section for kids where they each received a paper conductor's hat, a paper Amtrak engine, and a Junior Conductor's coloring book.  The main hall also had some performances, demonstrations, model trains, and various train exhibitors where we were able to pick up some more freebies, including wooden train whistles.

We were also able to tour a Amtrak train.  Joel was thrilled with being able to "explore a passenger train".  Again, he is well read when it comes to trains, but hasn't had very much experience on them.

Joel need to push every button, turn every lever, sit in every type of chair.  He loved this hands (and feet) on experience.  It was so exciting to him that he didn't mind that this portion was so similar to the airplane seats with which he is very familiar.

Joel climbed the ladder to the top bed in the family bedroom of one of the sleeper cars.  I told him to look like he was sleeping. :-)

We also enjoyed some quiet time in one of the 2 person sleeping areas, but I was busy feeding Kirstin so didn't take a picture.

After just about 2 hours at Union Station, it was time for us to go find our track to go back home.  The train was there and open for us to get on board.  Both kids (and their mom) were a bit tired and hungry at this point.  We all shared a snack while we waited for the train to leave the station.  Once we were back out into the daylight, Joel again enjoyed watching all the towns go past.  He even enjoyed asking as EVERY station approach was announced if it was "Belmont Station".  

Joel loved both of the one hour train rides, as well as the exploring and exhibits in Union Station.  Kirstin was happy that I wore her in the Ergo baby carrier all day.  I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride that we had a fun day during a totally new adventure for all of us with me as the solo adult with both kids!  We were all excited to share the experience with Jim when we arrived at home church (he was so sad to miss out on this adventure).  We are looking forward to vacation this summer when we get to do even more fun adventures that will include daddy!


  1. That photo of Joel waiting at the train station? I love it. Just love it.