My younger brother LOVED trains, and thus they became a
source of great annoyance for me.
fate would have it, my son also loves trains, and I have had to learn to love
Perhaps it is because for so
long trains delivered the Christmas goods that there is a strong tie between
Christmas and trains.
So, the season of
giving is also a great season for train events.
Here's local options for you and your train enthusiast.
Located in Wheaton Regional Park, the Brookside Gardens
conservatory is composed of two green houses.
During this time of year, one is full of poinsettias and other winter
plants, and the other is home to model trains that feature many of the areas
This is my favorite train
spot for young kids because the trains are closer to the ground, it isn't often
crowded, and they provide "eye-spy" cards to help kids look for the
unique pieces (like Mickey Mouse or Tigger) throughout the exhibit.
It's open from 10am to 5pm each day, and
while it is free, there are donation boxes if you want to chip in.
Parking is limited, so arriving early and
being aware of other available parking (like by the giant playground or
carousel) is important.
Don't worry if
you have to park at a distance, walking through Brookside Gardens is beautiful
The Parent-Tot group plans to visit this train spot on
December 10th at 10am.
The National Botanical Gardens
, located on the National Mall,
also host a model train exhibit.
landscape, scenery and buildings in the exhibit are made of plant materials,
which gives it a very unique feel and a strong outdoor smell.
This year's theme is lighthouses and sea
Make sure to enter at the
entrance for the model train exhibit, where you will likely see a line that
continues inside the building.
weekend, the line was 40 minutes when we were in it, but significantly shorter
when we were leaving.
Going midweek is
your best bet if visiting with impatient little ones.
Take your time in the train room, since you
can't re-enter once you leave, and then explore the rest of the conservatory.
My daughter really enjoyed touching the
prickly plants in the desert room (since I told her not to) and both kids loved
the jungle room and its canopy walk.
west gallery has another train, going around the bottom of a large Christmas
tree and an exhibit on spices that my kids thoroughly enjoyed.
If you have older kids, grab a passport and
collect stamps throughout the conservatory.
Last year, we visited the National Christmas Tree
Christmas Eve and were surprised to find dozens of train sets running around
It was a huge hit with my then
3 year old son.
The lighting ceremony on
December 4th is televised, and after that you can visit yourselves.
Santa's Workshop is open at the tree on
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12:30 to 9:30pm, so expect these times to
be more crowded.
There are also nightly
musical presentations, but the schedule has yet to be released.
Best train viewing is during the daylight
hours, but maybe you can plan a day that gives you both views.
Obviously, this destination is a great spot for train lovers
year round, but they offer a few special holiday events and activities.
Opportunities include a breakfast buffet withSanta, story-time with Mrs. Claus and a train-ride with Santa
These events do cost additional money, and
most are sold out for this year, but it might be an idea to file away for next
Personally, my favorite times to
visit the railroad museum are during A Day Out With Thomas and over the summer
when military members get in free through the Blue Star Museum Program.
The museum also runs the Ellicott City
Station which has a Holiday Festival of Trains featuring model trains and
Admission is $8 for adults and $6
for kids over 2.
The station is open
from 11am to 4pm Wednesday through Sunday.
Labels: Kids, Things To Do