Monday, May 1st, 2006
Toddler Activity: Visit a Model Railroad Club
Who belongs to a model railroad club? Old men. Who attends a model railroad club open house? Kids.
Our local club opened its doors last weekend. Thomas the Train fans crowded into three residential rooms filled wall to wall by model railroad displays constructed 5 feet off the ground, but which rose much higher with molded mountain passes.
The railroad consisted of ten trains on numerous tracks operated by three disembodied heads (see above photo, at top, slightly left of center). The conductors, one per room, stood in the middle of their monstrous railroad structures, with only their heads visible.
Parents held their toddlers up to view the scene from behind plastic shields while older kids stood on observation platforms (benches).
The kids loved seeing the trains wind their way around mountains, over bridges and through tunnels. Parents took notice of the fine detail and humor put into the smallest elements of the models of vehicles, people and towns. See Bigfoot in a far corner of the room or a farmer being robbed or a man being axed.
I blog about this merely to suggest that you look for a railroad club in your town and see if they welcome visitors.
Check out the club list of the National Model Railroad Club Association (see left column, halfway down), or try Googling. My local club wasn’t listed in any online directories.
Flickr train photos:
- Thomas the Train photo set 1
- Thomas the Train photo set 2
- Garden railroads â€“ People turn their backyard gardens into model railroads.
- Random nice model railroad
- Another random nice model railroad
If you’re lucky, Day out with Thomas might be stopping in your town. A full-size replica of Thomas the Train is touring North America.
P.S. Yes, I know the proper full name is Thomas the Tank Engine or Thomas and Friends, but who doesn’t just call him Thomas the Train?