What a beautiful weather we had last weekend! And, what made it even more wonderful was the ride that we took on the Strasburg Railroad on Sunday. Our family of five had a fabulous time taking in all of the sights and sounds while learning about trains and steam engines!
We piled into our minivan early Sunday morning (who am I kidding, it was 9 o’clock, that’s late for us!) equipped with snacks and a picnic lunch. The kids were pumped to go on a train and see some train models. We had about an hour ride up to Strasburg, PA which, as I have said in the past, is one beautiful ride! We passed by horses and buggies, looked out at the beautiful farmland on Rt. 30, and before we knew it, we were pulling into the Choo Choo Barn.
I ran into the gift shop to pick up the tickets that were reserved for us and was greeted by a nice woman that was willing to answer all of my questions about the display (even though, after I read the brochure, I realized most of the answers were inside). As we headed into the large room that housed the gigantic train display, I was expecting that we would be there for 5 minutes and that even that would be a stretch for keeping the kids’ attention. Boy was I wrong! This ended up being both the kids’ and my favorite part of the whole trip. We spent a LONG time looking around. When you walk into the exhibit, you are handed a small green sheet of paper with a list of Did You Know’s and Things to Look for. This kept us busy. The display takes up the entire center of the room and has a small walkway all around the perimeter. The kids kept going around and around trying to find the World’s smallest sword swallower, the hobo sleeping in a gondola, and the pumpkin patch with the HUGE pumpkin. Every ten minutes, the lights go off to showcase the “nighttime scene” in the display. It is fantastic! My favorite was the baseball park all lit up for a night game, but the kids certainly enjoyed the elephant fountain that had all different colored lights. Make sure you visit their website before you go. It is chock full of helpful tips and SO MANY interesting facts to pay attention to while you are there!
After we finished at the Choo Choo Barn, we headed a short distance down the road to The Strasburg Railroad. As soon as we walked onto the station deck, I felt like we were transplanted back in time to the early 20th century. Everyone was dressed in attire from that time period and the shops and cafes kept that feel as well. I was greeted by a friendly face ready to answer questions (where to put the stroller, where we could eat, etc.) as I picked up our tickets for the day.
I had packed a lunch for us so we decided to eat before boarding the train. There were plenty of benches and tables, so we sat right down and started our picnic. While we ate, we watched the hustle and bustle of the station. Our train would be leaving in 30 minutes, so there was plenty of time to check out all the cool things to do. We even got to watch the steam engine come in and couple to our train.
When it was time to board onto our coach train, we hopped on and grabbed a set of four plush seats (these seats are awesome because you sit facing each other in sets of two). My husband and I imagined traveling across the country on one of these trains with a table in the center so we could play cards (now the newest addition to our bucket list). The conductor collected our tickets, we took a picture looking out the window, and off we went.
The ride was about 45 minutes in total as we traveled through Lancaster County. The word beautiful does not even do the scenery justice. It was amazing…the Amish barns and architecture, beautiful farmland, and interesting establishments like the Red Caboose Motel. We could have stopped and eaten our picnic at a park before coming back on another train, but we will save that for our next adventure to Strasburg.
When the ride was over and we walked off of the train, the kids sulked the whole way back to our car because they did not want to leave. Our secret: we didn’t want to either! It was a perfect day and a perfect mini-adventure. Once again I end with how lucky we are to have treasures like these right in our backyard.
Be sure to check out The Strasburg Railroad website to see the wonderful events that they have coming up. There will be a “Night Before Christmas” train ride where children will enjoy cookies and milk along with holiday stories! And of course, there is always Thomas the Train which is a big hit with some of the little guys in our lives (and maybe the big ones too ) The Choo Choo Barn will start decorating their train exhibit for the holidays as well starting next week, so be sure to check it out. I know I see another trip in our future!
***The tickets for both activities mentioned in this post were complimentary. A post was expected, but there was no other form of payment received. As always, all opinions mentioned in this post and review are my own and have not been influenced in any way.
This post was written by Lauryn Blakesley, writer at The Vintage Mom. Lauryn is a mom of 3 and wife of one, living in Douglassville, PA. She enjoys discovering more about our area through mini-adventures that she takes with her family!