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Day Out With Thomas

We had a fun family weekend here with a dog walk to the local park down the block, running errands, and I did my 16 miles yesterday on the lakfront--which deserves its own post, really.

The highlight of the weekend, however, was actually on Friday. We drove about an hour away the Illinois Railway Museum where the Day Out With Thomas spectacle was happening. It was a somewhat belated birthday present for Cole though everybody had a good time. It's the little things that make him happy--like being forward-facing in his carseat now. He's so happy he can see where we're going and the ride was much more pleasant than the trip to Ohio several weeks previous.

We knew to expect a crowd of toddlers in strollers and the parking lot didn't disappoint with row after row, but the traffic was being directed and we'd already purchased our tickets when they first went on sale so we walked right in with no waiting.

The museum is usually centered around several pieces of track where they run streetcars and a depot with larger trains giving rides as well. Most of the railcars are then stored in large metal barns with a few outside. For the massive Thomas crowd, they had tents full of activities, a pile of sand, firetrucks, clowns, temporary tattoos, extra vendors, etc..

We had arrived early for our 1pm ride on Thomas The Tank Engine so the first place we went was the tent with wooden trainsets and Cole got a temporary tattoo on his leg. And hated it. He screamed. And screamed again at home...stuck between not wanting me to rub his leg to take the tattoo off and not wanting the tattoo to stay on. Anyway, we could have stayed in the tent the rest of the day and not seen anything else, really. Cole spent a good half hour playing with the trainsets (time to buy one?) and block-building tables. We, literally, had to pull him away screaming with the promise of more fun.

We didn't get to see much of the museum's collection because by the time we got around to the field where they were doing the Thomas rides, we had time for a snack and then needed to get in line. Thomas himself was fairly impressive...steam coming from his funnel, eyes moving, fairly dead-on "toot, toot" whistle. Of course, don't tell the kids but Thomas doesn't pull you anywhere. There is a big diesel (dreaded enemy of the steamies) pushing from the back. Physics has no place here though. No matter that there are several huge antique passenger cars lined up full of families. Thomas can do it!

Really, Cole was just as impressed with the streetcar nextdoor though he enjoyed the ride. He's a kid who just loves trains. Period.

Kelly and I were discussing in review that there are far worse things in the world for a small child to take delight in. We saw plenty of screaming tantrums...it comes with the age, of course. But, mostly, it's nice to see so many happy kids.

The commercialism is fairly low here...no making you go through the gift shop if you don't want and it's not a ton of over the top high tech gadgets. It's a show, afterall, about hard work, being a team, and getting a job done.

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