Edit ModuleShow Tags

All Aboard the Christmas Train!


Published:

Most of the little boys I know—including mine—have some sort of fascination with trains. I’m pretty sure the words “choo-choo” were one of the first words uttered by both of my kids. I think Thomas the Tank Engine is largely responsible for this fascination. For my parent’s generation, I think a lot of kids got hooked on trains through the TV show Casey’s Lunch Club, based on legendary railroad engineer Casey Jones. 

So, basically, the toy fascination has been around forever. 

Don’t get me wrong—I don’t have anything against trains, but I do wonder how so many kids make “traditional” gender-based choices in their toys, even in households where they aren't given gender stereotypes. I mean, we gave our four-year-old a Barbie one year for Christmas, and there Danica Patrick Race Car Barbie sits in the toy bin, totally neglected next to the bucket full of train tracks and Thomas toys. I think she may even have a layer of dust on her long blonde hair.

train

Photo courtesy of Craig A. Mullenbach
Shoreview, MN

And while I may not personally understand the obsession (I grew up playing Barbies), I do know that anything train-related is fun for my boys, and watching them have fun is fun for me, which is why I thought “Night Trains” at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum seems like such a great event. 

I like the idea that a 14-car Christmas train with hundreds of twinkling lights—a spectacular train that only debuts for a limited time each year—cruises through a giant circular layout in St. Paul's Bandana Square (I like just about anything related to holiday lights), and I like the idea that the Toy Train Division has multiple toy train layouts and dioramas, all creating the same kind of nostalgic feeling you used to get when looking at old department store holiday displays, and I like that if the little ones get tired of looking at the trains, they can play on the train tables.   

Photo courtesy of Craig A. Mullenbach, Shoreview, MN

The attraction is open at the Museum every Saturday evening from 6-9 p.m. from Nov. 26 through Feb. 26, 2012 (with the exception of Christmas Eve). Admission is $8 for individuals, $25 for families, $30 for extended families, and children five and under are free.

I don’t know how long this train fascination will last, but I’m guessing it will be awhile. My dad never really outgrew his. Every Christmas he still sets up the train track he used to play with when he was a little farm boy living in New Richmond, Wis., and I swear he gets that same excited look in his eye every year when he pushes the “start” button and sends the train around the track. And if my boys ever tire of trains (highly doubtful), Danica Patrick Race Car Barbie will be patiently standing by. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Lantern Light Festival Celebrates Chinese Culture at Canterbury Park

Shakopee is the temporary home of dazzling lanterns illuminated in lights, Chinese performances, and a unique family-friendly experience.

Get Ready for a Sweat Fest

ALTR’s fitness classes in Minneapolis' North Loop are a high-octane thrill ride with a one-way ticket to shredded

Photographing the City on Your Lunch Break

Local photographer Wayne Moran leads afternoon tours through picture-perfect Minneapolis

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: October

Help out mothers and children dealing with homelessness, fight against cancer, and contribute to a north Minneapolis bakery with the Cookie Cart.

Best Minnesota Town Last Call for Votes

Help one of these 10 cities advance to the finals for a chance to win a party in their town, $50,000 toward an advertising campaign, and an editorial feature in Minnesota Monthly magazine.

New Fall Drinks at Tattersall Harvestival

The NE Minneapolis distillery features four apple-based drinks to celebrate autumn

Small Press, Big Impact: Graywolf's 2nd Literary Salon

Graywolf invited writers Layli Long Soldier, Carmen Maria Machado, and Danez Smith to the stage to challenge the status quo

New Places to Shop and Eat at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

MSP Airport's revamp just bumped it up to 6th best in North America—now with indoor food trucks, local brews, therapy dogs, and a golfing simulator

From Writer to Mid-Wife: St. Paul Writing Workshops Highlight Strength in Vulnerability This Month

Leading workshops through October, St. Paul author Ellen Sue Stern on the healing of writing

DNR Predicts Unusually Vibrant Fall Colors: Find the Best Spots

The MN DNR is predicting an especially colorful fall season due to ideal summer weather conditions. We found five spots around the state—including Lanesboro and Lake Superior—with great autumn views.

Duluth Indie Bookstore Celebrates Opening

Zenith Bookstore opens in the face of Amazon and free two-day shipping—because this Duluth retired couple knows that people love shopping small

What It Means to Light Up the St. Anthony Lock

A colorful light show fills the now-defunct lock with its own history

Save the Date for Unveiled Bridal Show September 17

Unveiled isn't just a bridal show, it's a fun and memorable experience.

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: September

Twin Cities galas to watch out for this month include a masquerade ball for diabetes, drumming for families, and the Walker Art Center's Avant Garden
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags