Sunday, May 04, 2008

Day Out with Thomas

We took the boys to a Day Out with Thomas at the B&O Railway Museum in Baltimore.  Mayhem is obsessed with Thomas. Nearly every day we build a track and set up the Island of Sodor. So, when I discovered that there would be a Day Out relatively near us this year, I had to buy tickets for it.  The boys alternated between watching Thomas videos and dinosaur videos on the drive up. We arrived about an hour and a half before our train ride so we visited the sights. First there was the train shed. Trains are really really big. You forget that when you only see them on Sodor. We examined the really big engines in the shed for a bit & then went outside to tour a few train cars. One was set up to show you African American history on the railroad, one showed you what the different types of cars carried, one was showing Thomas videos (we sat through one) and the last had a model railway in it. We spend a lot of time studying it and watching the trains go around. Then we moved on to the roundhouse where they had really old time train cars down through history, from the ones that look like horse drawn carriages, just sitting on a flatbed car to the more modern types with benches & windows. They had many different engine types and you could tour some of them and the passenger carriages. They also had a big play area where you could play with the Thomas wooden, lego & battery trains and color Thomas pictures. We spent quite a bit of time there. We have the Take Along trains, which were not featured anywhere, not even the gift shop, so it was a novelty for the boys to play with the other styles.

We eventually maneuvered them outside where there was another, larger model railway, featuring Thomas & James. Mayhem stood and watched that for some time.  Havoc watched it but spent more time playing on the oversized wooden train in the play area and in the blowup trampoline. We had lunch. I brought sandwiches, juice & fruit for the boys and DH & I split a foot long hot dog. I hadn't had a hot dog in a couple of years.  I'm still burping it up 24 hours later.

We went through the gift shop & bought nothing. This came as a surprise to DH and I. We'd budgeted $20 a boy for souvenirs. The gift shop sold various Thomas things, the pop up play tent, backpacks, T-shirts, a train whistle, some books and battery and wooden train sets.  These were set up to play with, just like in the play area. DH was baffled by the boys' lack of interest in buying anything but I think 2 things were at work there. First I'm not sure they realized these items were for sale & not just another play area and second, over the past couple years it has been pretty well drummed into them that we have the Take Along trains and Mommy is not going to buy any wooden or battery trains.  I did ask them if they wanted a T-shirt but they said no.

Finally it was time to take a ride with Thomas. The engine had been made to look like Thomas & the boys were very happy about that, but then a bit disappointed that the coaches were not set up to look like Annie & Clarabell. Then there was the ride itself..... We got to see a part of Sodor you don't see on the videos - the urban decay part. It was an approximately 25 minute ride, 22 minutes of it backing down the track through the rusted, overgrown, graffiti covered, dumping grounds of south Baltimore. (Not the best area of town. On our way to the museum we got held up at a traffic light while a motorist negotiated with a hooker & she eventually got into the car. I know this because I had my window down & heard everything. Not something we rural folk are used to seeing at noon on a Saturday)  We went all the way to a salvage yard where the boys enjoyed looking at a huge pile of rusted wire & pipe and playing "spot the tire" among the other heaps of concrete. Then we went forward for 22 minutes back through it all.  Not exactly what'd been thinking we would see on the ride. The boys seemed to enjoy it though.

The line to get your photo taken with Thomas was enormous and you had to wait 15 minutes after that for it to be printed and pay a largish sum of money for a copy. The boys showed no interest in getting their picture taken so we didn't do it. Instead we revisited the various model train displays and spent time looking at all the things the people in the scenes were doing. Havoc climbed around some more on the train play set and Mayhem happily followed James up and down his track while DH and I sat in the shade.  A passing clown made the boys some balloon swords and after one more tour around the roundhouse we headed back to the car.

Both boys said they had an excellent time & want to do it again. We might, but probably not at Baltimore.  The one in Frostburg MD is a good deal further away but is larger and has more to see. It's also on the way to visit my family. Maybe next year we'll give that one a try.

1 comment:

JK said...

I love it -- "urban decay Thomas and his friend John"... coming to a toy store near you!

Nice blog, love the boys' names; mine are just Ugly 1,2, & 3...