It's amazing what a difference 24 hours can make. Last night we got an email that our co-op's swim at the river had been postponed due to high water. Schnickelfritz was extremely disappointed.....until I came up with an alternative. The local TV station was hosting an outing for moms and kids to the Transportation Museum http://www.transportmuseumassociation.org/ and nothing can put a smile on my son's face faster than a train.
Background: Fritz has been a fan of trains since he first saw Thomas the Tank Engine on PBS four years ago. While he still plays with his wooden set, he has graduated to another video series called "I Love Toy Trains." We've got the whole set, plus the two Christmas videos, plus the "I Love Big Trains" set. "OH NO!!" the video with all the outtakes and train crashes stays at Grandpa and Grandma's house as a special treat. While they are obviously entertaining to my little engineer, he's also learning about train history, safety, old hand signals, etc.
Armed with this knowledge, he certainly surprised several museum guides when he walked up to them with these zingers: "This is a cantenary system and that is the pantograph," "Engines are referred to by their wheel structure, so this is a 4-8-8-4," and "Are there any shays on display?" He certainly made himself stand out from the other kids who were more interested in using the trains as jungle gyms.
Best of all, Fritz got to see two of his favorite trains in person. The Big Boy------
This is the biggest steam engine ever built and can pull five miles worth of loaded cars. Fortunately for us, it was one of the engines with a cab open for display.
Fritz's other special train was the Aerotrain, a streamline built by General Motors in the 1950's.
The museum offers miniature train and trolley rides and starting in June they will have special tours just for kids (no, my Schnickelfritz hasn't been asked to be the guide-------yet)!