The local mall hosted a train show yesterday and we were present for about three and half hours being mesmerized by the toy train layouts and displays. Another parent mentioned that we might run into each other often, after our paths had crossed several times while keeping an eye on our train enthusiasts. Being one to talk to strangers, I struck up a conversation sharing other train sightings and locations. The mom got out a piece of paper and began to capture train information and dinosaur information for their other son. I commend this family, as they had traveled about 100 miles to feed the passion of their oldest son. All of the happenings yesterday, prompted the topic for today's post. Here is our list of all things trains:
Colfax: Trainland, USA Imagine a toy train layout that takes you from east to west across the USA. We spent several hours here and brought a picnic lunch. There are picnic tables outside as well as more train memorabilia. There is a ledge/step for not so tall train viewers throughout the display.
Boone: Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad This historic train lines offers rides throughout the year on steam and diesel locomotives. Thomas the Tank Engine makes an appearance each fall. Christmas, Easter, and Halloween bring themed train rides. Hint: If you go here, plan to make a stop to eat in nearby Ames at Hickory Park! Yum!
Sigourney: Dumont Museum The photo above was taken at their annual open house each December. The toy train layout is in the lobby of the museum and there is no fee to see the trains. If you want to tour their collection of old west, movie, toy, and train memorabilia, there is a small fee for the museum. If you call ahead, you ask if the toy trains are running. The couple that run the museum are delightful. Our boy can usually get his hands on the remote that runs the Big Boy! When we come here in the summer, we combine a stop to the museum with a visit to the Sigourney pool.
Mount Pleasant: North Pole Express Located on the grounds of the annual Old Thresher's Reunion, this train runs for two week-ends in December. Tickets go on sale Nov. 1 and sell out fast. Once the train reaches the North Pole, Santa is waiting in his own red caboose with a special surprise for each visitor.
Oskaloosa: Penn Central Railroad Club Located in an empty store front in the Penn Central Mall in Oskaloosa. Both O gauge and HO gauge trains are featured. The club opens for public viewing the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month.
Moravia and Albia: Appanoose County Train Rides on the Wabash line are offered each July. The just over an hour round trip in an open air coach allow you to see the vast countryside and learn about the historic Wabash line. We make a day of it--riding the train late morning, heading to Albia for some lunch and a dip in the Albia pool.
Iowa State Fair: Model Railway Club typically has a display each year at the Iowa State Fair held for 10 days each August in Des Moines.
I remember when the boy was two and got his first oval wooden track with a pretty blue engine and red caboose. Somehow we knew then that trains were one of his things.
Next Post: Train sightings in other states--Nebraska, Missouri, Texas, and Florida.