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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, March 7, 2010


A friend called to remind us of the train show at our local mall yesterday, knowing that the boy was passionate about trains. After spending most of the day looking at/watching trains, it got me thinking of all of our train experiences and how we, as a family, have fed the obsession . . . oh, I mean passion.
Here's more information for train enthusiasts:

Omaha's Lauritzen Gardens Who knew a botanical garden would be a spot for train lovers? Discovering this oasis led us to the marvelous and expansive G-gauge train garden. The trains run in and out of tunnels and across bridges--as show in the photo above. The theme of the garden is the architectural wonders of the world which includes scale size models. Lauritzen Gardens also has many other, non-train, displays both inside and outside. You can walk or take the every half hour tram. The children's garden includes plants from A-Z.

A part of Lauritzen Gardens' tram tour takes you to the top of the hill on the other side of the parking lot to Kenefick Park home of Union Pacific's Big Boy and a Union Pacific diesel locomotive. It is interesting how they multi-ton engines were placed at the top of the hill. . . what a story! Both Lauritzen Gardens and Kenefick Park are near Omaha's world famous Henry Doorly Zoo.

Also in Omaha is the Durham Museum. We first went the the Durham for Disney Christmas Carol Train Tour. We discovered that the Durham has many offerings including a model train layout, and life-sized preserved sleeper and lounge cars. The Durham has traveling exhibits and is walking distance to Omaha's Old Market District filled with shops and restaurants. The Durham is also near the Heartland of America Park which offers gondola rides across the lake.

Kansas City's Union Station offers much for train lovers. Year round toy train layouts can be found, but the largest layout is on view from Thanksgiving to New Year's in the main hall. One of the offerings at Union Station is the K.C. Rail Experience, a self guided tour including life size replicas.

Another draw to Union Station is Science City, a 3-story children's exploration experience. Science City has plenty to offer train lovers with the enclosed train layout with buttons to activate various pieces on the layout. The train layout sometimes has a camera feed on display with the camera mounted on one of the engines. On the top floor of Science City is the train over look with binoculars to view the trains going by and paper/crayons to take advantage of the various train rubbings.

Science City also offers a glass elevator, water table, animals, miniature golf with wind twist, a dinosaur dig site and much more!

Union Station also Extreme Screen movies--their version of IMAX--, a planetarium, and other traveling exhibits.

Connecting Union Station via sky walk is Kansas City's Crown Center shopping and entertainment district. In addition to an upscale model train store, Crown Center boasts Fritz's Railroad Restaurant. At Fritz's you order your food via the telephone at your booth and your food is then delivered to your table via overhead train. It is fun to guess which table the food is going to when the train leaves the kitchen. Shakes and burgers are the main items on the menu at Fritz's. I prefer the Jody burger on the menu. From Thanksgiving to New Year's there is large Gingerbread toy train layout on the 2nd level of Crown Center.

Next post. . . trains in Texas, Illinois, and Florida.

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