Thursday, April 30, 2015

NC Transportation Museum

My sister-in-law sent me an email that promoted Customer Appreciation Day (aka Free Day) at the NC Transportation Museum. While this is a good 45 minute drive from our house, I can't pass up free entertainment. It's been almost two years since we took Jackson, and the trio have never been. I packed a picnic lunch, change of clothes, and fully stocked diaper bag. We left after my morning Zumba class, straight from the gym. 

We arrived around 12:30. We had a light snack in the shade, before I realized the train ride was about to depart.

You can take a 25 minute train ride at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. I debated extensively over taking the kids on a train or not. Strollers are not allowed, and there are no seat belts. I wasn't sure how the trio would react since they've never been on a train. I ran into a friend of mine and asked her if she'd mind being an extra set of hands and eyes if things got out of hand. While I didn't end up needing her help, it gave me tremendous peace of mind.

Just for fun, here's a comparison of Jackson and I (and the trio) the last time we were at the Transportation Museum vs this afternoon.

Sorry for the excessive cleavage; James was pulling my shirt down.
Jackson was the most difficult of the four. It was partly my fault because he was hungry and I didn't give him a chance to eat more than a few pretzels. He perked up briefly when he got to give the conductor the train tickets to punch.

Amelia, who was closest to the window, was transfixed by the passing surroundings.

The most unexpected part of the train ride was passing dozens of professionally dressed adults. I quickly recognized our former major and current governor. Apparently he was discussing a bond proposal for upgrading NC roads. I'd prefer he spend more time allocating funds for education, but I digress...

After the train ride, we found another shady spot for a proper lunch. Everyone was in a better mood and energized after we ate.

The conductor stopped by to talk to us. He complimented the kids on their behavior on the train and for being good eaters. Jackson whispered to me, "Can I take a picture with him?" I'm pretty sure that made the conductor's day.

When the conductor came over, James and Maddie got out their tickets again. They are so funny!

The museum is spread out (57 acres, according to the website) and requires lots of walking. During the longer distances, I kept two in the stroller.

When it was Maddie's turn to walk, she held Jack's hand the whole time. They stopped to wave at one of the trains passing. Alas, proof that they love each other.

In addition to trains, the museum features full exhibits with antique and classic automobiles. I let everyone walk around, but held my breath, waiting for someone to walk under the rails and touch the cars. They did a great job and I worried for nothing.

Our last exhibit was the steam and diesel locomotives. The open space was ideal for the kids to explore the trains up close and personal.

Jackson was disturbed by some of the vintage photographs in the repair shop. He showed his siblings one photo and asked me, "Is he trapped under the train?!" I read Jack the captions and reassured him the man was safely working on the train.

I am always impressed by the roundhouse. Thanks to Thomas the Tank Engine, Jackson understands the roundhouse and was excited to see it in action.

We made a final stop by this stationary cart for water, snacks, diaper changes, and a last burst of energy before a long drive home.

I had left my phone in the van so I had no clue what time it was. I just followed the kids' cues and stayed until their energy began to fizzle. I was shocked to see we had walked around for 3.5 hours! Needless to say, all four kids were asleep within five minutes. 

The fun fact of the day is that the museum admission and train rides are free every day if you have a Discovery Place membership. The Transportation Museum will likely become a day trip for us a few times a year. 

1 comment: