Sunday, April 27, 2014

Thomas's Day Out: B&O Museum

2nd Birthday, getting Charlie
When I started writing this post, I decided to research exactly when it was that my child became obsessed with Thomas.  I have to blame it on myself a little, because it was for his second birthday that I randomly decided to throw a Charlie engine into his gift bag.  I think I couldn't find a basic non-brand train, so I picked up Charlie, not wanting to get Thomas since I considered it so commercialized. Haha.

When he became a big brother six months later, we got him his first set of train tracks from Ikea, and since then he has stockpiled a couple more sets, trestle additions, and many more engines.  I think he has a couple Thomases, Percy, Gordon, Toby, Emily, Ferdinand, Dash/Bash, Rocky, Charlie and Spencer.  He also has a turntable, a Cranky Crane, a steamworks, and a spiral run.

3rd Birthday
I thought his Thomas obsessions had peaked around his third birthday, but we're now two months past his fourth birthday and he is still trying to put new engines on my grocery list every time I ask him if he needs anything and he is even starting to use gift money to pick out his own trains.
He creates elaborate tracks and sets in motion epic "stories" using specific engines (but not the Chuggington engines, they aren't allowed to be played with at the same time) and has all sorts of rules for how to play with the trains.  I think it blew his mind the first time he saw there was actually a Thomas show on PBS, because he had been introduced to the books first.  He got to see several of the movies when I was busy taking care of newborn Eli and recovering from my c-section, and was so excited when we moved here and he found out it is on the local PBS station every weekday (luckily during school hours though, so he only gets to see it two days a week).  He saw his triplet cousins be Thomas, Percy, and James for Halloween back when they were almost four, and he was so excited about it.  However, it's not quite a costume I could make from scratch, so I've got six months to hope he forgets that's what he wants to be this Halloween.

4th Birthday
Due to his continual nightly reading of the original Thomas series for the last year, I don't think there is a kid out there that knows more about the original storyline as my son.  So, we decided we would make the trek up to Baltimore and share our son's excitement for his favorite train by buying tickets to the B&O Museum's Day Out With Thomas. 

Though we didn't get to spend as long as we would have liked there because of his late soccer game, it was definitely a great trip to take him on. The museum itself is housed in a huge roundhouse that is gorgeous. I was surprised by just how many trains they had, some inside and some out.  Several of the inside ones you could climb aboard.  Theo of course loved playing at all the different train tables with some of the trains he doesn't have. But he would not say hi to Sir Topham Hat.  

When we finally headed outside we were surprised by just how much more there was outside. Though there were mazes, tattoo stations, and rides, Theo pretty  much just wanted to watch the miniature trains go around their tracks.
 Theo knew we were going to take a train ride when I showed him the tickets and told him we had to get to the platform,  but he had no idea that a real Thomas engine would be pulling us.  He was definitely surprised when Thomas pulled up. When we asked what he thought of Thomas later he said,  "He thought we were on the Island of Sodor."  

The ride itself was a pretty typical train ride. The only downside was that it was in inner city Baltimore which is not exactly picturesque. But the kids are not bothered by that. Theo was excited when the conductor yelled all aboard and later came by to punch our tickets.  

All in all it was a great day. Both boys enjoyed themselves. I was surprised that it actually did not feel very crowded.  We did have one of the last train rides so that may have helped.  And the museum itself would definitely be worth the trip even without Thomas there.

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