Saturday, December 6, 2008

Museums and Trains and a Christmas Party

I spent the night trying to figure out how I was going to get the boys to the train exhibit after the car seat issue from the day before. I was suppose to go pick up a toy order from my sister's Discovery Toy catalog party she just held. The consultant lives only about 15 minutes from me. Then I was going to head to my hubby's grandmother's house to clean like I do every Saturday. Hubby & I were leaving that afternoon for his office Christmas party which was being held near where he works but at least a 1-1/2 hour drive south of where we actually live.

I decided I had time to head to Augusta that morning to take the boys. I put off the toy pick-up & cleaning until Sunday afternoon, packed up the boys & headed out. Supermom strikes again!

I was very happy I made the effort. I did run a couple of errands first, but we did end up at the museum. When we walked in & the boys saw all the trains set up N started to literally jump up & down in excitement.

There really weren't a ton of trains - just four set-ups, but it was plenty to keep them occupied. They had various gauges as well. I'm not great at figuring all that out yet as the boys favorites are still Thomas the Tank Engine. However, I do know that the biggest set up there were two O gauge scale trains & they were very cool!

A "steam" engine

All of the layouts also had model towns built up as well. I think I liked those just as much as I did watching the trains going round & round. This layout had a log house for the trains & a trolley that would enter it, bounce off the bumpers & go back up the track & repeat. He had "smoke" coming from the chimney on it. Very neat.

My boys loved watching the trains go by & were often very close to the track. I spent a lot of my time telling them not to touch, move back, and "look with your eyes" only.

I loved the tunnel on this set-up. The gentleman who made it told us that when he did make it he didn't know how to make fake rocks yet so he had real rocks stacked on top of the tunnel. This is the steam engine going through.

Here are the two O gauge trains speeding past each other. I thought they were really cool. It wasn't a large layout compared to a couple of them there, but they really didn't have a ton of space. The museum has a very large foyer area as they share a building with the state library (where I get all my library books via the mail system) and the archives. This is where their "special" programs are set up.
One of the gentleman who was running this track (O gauge) offered to stop the trains so I could get a photo of the boys watching them. I assured him I was okay & that they weren't coming out blurry (unless I shot directly down like I did above). All the men (and why is it always men?) were very nice who were part of the model train clubs represented here.

I loved this model. So did my boys. They spent quite a bit of time near this bridge watching trains speed across.

This was the smallest scale there. It was also the smallest track area. Poor J was too short to see it so I snapped a couple pics of it & then picked him up so he could watch the trains go around.

We spent about thirty minutes or so watching the trains. Then I convinced the boys to go in the museum & walk around for a bit. I wanted to see the new exhibit plus I wanted to count this trip for school - I could have anyway with just the trains, but this worked well too since we were right here. This is one of our favorite museums & they allow schools and homeschoolers in free all the time which is awesome.
I love their new exhibit! I had to call my mom when we were about half way through though. I wanted to know where all her stuff was because I was pretty sure a lot of it was right here in the museum at this new exhibit! The had exhibits of different household items and rooms from Maine taken from various times in history.

This was a very neat exhibit all about games. They had sliding doors in front. As you slid aside one to see what was behind it, it would cover up another one. I took a few photos here but wanted to show you the chess set. Nice huh?

I took this photo to show the old fashioned push lawn mower. We had one of these as well & I used to use it to cut the grass at home - when I was very little and thought something like that would be fun to do.

I took this photo for my mom. She has a truck just about like this at the foot of her bed. This was in the "attic" room display. So was this....

I was checking out things & heard J growling. I looked around & saw him doing this. Too cute!

One of the toy displays.

From here we headed back down to the first floor & went through the usual displays. I think one big reason the boys like this museum is that this train is right there as you walk in. It's a very, very old one.

I love that this museum thinks of children. Throughout it they have "touch boxes" near the displays with things inside that the children are encouraged to touch. There are also sound areas near some of the displays. Some are triggered by sensors & start when you get near. For instance, there is display on industry in Maine & one has a parlor set up as a sewing room. As you get close to this you can hear a sewing machine noise. Some of the others have buttons you can push. The boys really like these.

Aren't they sweet enough to pose for mom??

The deal to get them in the museum was the promise to stop at the trains on the way out again. Hard to not do since you had to pass through all the displays to get to the front doors anyway. I was glad we did though. One of the displays was now running this....

As I mentioned earlier, the guys running these were really nice. After I snapped a few photos of the train I realized they were slowing it down when it got near me & then sped up on the way by after I snapped the photos. Needless to say this was a big highlight for my boys.

All in all it was a great day - busy - but fun. We ran through the McDonald's drive-through for lunch & headed home. I did make them stop at a couple clothing stores on the way as I was looking for a straight black skirt for the party that night. It took two stores - imagine! - but I found one.

And even though I don't like photos of myself, I'll be nice & share this one from the party...


  1. What a fun outing! It's amazing how little boys are always drawn to trains.

  2. We have a huge model train display at the county fair every year. It's the favorite, even of my big boys!

  3. Looks like so much fun! Isn't it amazing how we can turn Supermom in an instant! :)
    By the way, you look great! Love the pic of you and the hubby!

  4. What a very full day! I love the train photos. I'm trying to figure out the Christmas schedule of the small train museum here in town.

    Great photos, Lisa.

  5. This looks like SUCH a cool place!

  6. Just saw this post - if your boys loved the model train exhibit at the Museum than just one more reason to come to San Diego (besides the weather). We have a whole museum dedicated to the trains, not to mention Balboa Park has more than a dozen museums, all in a couple mile radius.


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