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.

A mother raises her child up to view an expansive model railroad. The real, human train conductor's head is barely visible amid the scenery

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).

Closeup of the above model railroad scene, showing two bridges and a mountain town

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:

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?


One Response to “Toddler Activity: Visit a Model Railroad Club”

  1. Karen says:

    Hi! I am starting up a new blog carnival about model trains, called the Roundhouse Roundup. I really enjoyed your post here about taking a playgroup, etc., to a model train club and thought it would be a great post to include in the Roundup. There is more information about the Roundup at my blog, The Thomas Institute. Look for the bright orange blog carnival box–or email me!
    Thanks for your consideration!

    July 17th, 2006 at 7:52 pm