Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Big fun with little trains - halfterm fun at the NRM

For the start of the half term, we took a little holiday. We went to Yorkshire to revisit two museums we have visited before. As we were going on consecutive days, we took the opportunity to stay over in Yorkshire - actually in Bradford, the location of our second museum.

On Saturday, however, we returned to a place we have been to several times, the National Railway Museum in York. This time, we had been invited back to their "Big fun for little trains" event they are running over half term.

As usual, entry is free with some activities attracting a small charge - although fewer activities than usual seemed to cost. The children now know the place well and have favourite things we have to go and visit - the pinball game in the Flying Scotsman section, the viewing platform to see the "real trains" arriving at and leaving York station, the bullet train. Everything has to fit around those things and this time there was certainly a lot to see and do - a garden railway display, a miniature diesel ride and a model tramway too. There was also a Chuggington play area and a StackTrack challenge but Monkey now believes he is too old for Chuggington, although it doesn't stop him playing with the diecast models when he feels like it!

Monkey's favourite activities was the Scalextric racing (although he now wants a 6 car track for his birthday!), and the Lego workshop where children build a 4 wheeled Lego vehicle to try and make it go down a slope. He loves Lego so he was in his element. Missy found all the pink Lego bricks and joined in. Strangely, he wouldn't for some reason go near the Meccano workshop - I think he views it as too difficult for him still. But the unexpected hit with him was the pedal train - he pulled a face like it was all too babyish for him, until he suddenly joined the queue, grabbed the next available vehicle and pedalled round madly with a broad grin on his face for a few minutes. He's definitely still a little boy at heart.

We certainly picked a lovely day to go, with the sun shining and the temperature rising to a surprisingly pleasant level. This made the outdoor activities surprisingly pleasant for the time of year - we took a ride on both miniature and full sized steam trains and the children had a quick go in the park, although again, Monkey is just reaching that stage where he is a little too big for the play area.

As usual, we ran out of time and energy to do all the activities on offer so if you are after a day out and your children love trains (Monkey still wants to be a train driver when he grows up), this would be perfect. Most people are fascinated by trains anyway and little ones in particular are enthralled. Even if you've been recently, there's always something new to see as they move the stock around a lot, and you always find something that's a bit different. We never manage to cram it all in so you definitely will fill a whole day and if you like to take your time, maybe two.

Big fun with little trains event runs until Sunday 24 February. The NRM invited us to try out this event  and gave us vouchers to try some of the chargeable events for free and free parking. They also kindly provided lunch. 
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