One thing that Steve and I have very recently started trying is a special weekly "date" with each of our daughters, to give them some one-on-one time with each of us. Last week Steve took Anna out for pizza and then to the pet store to buy a new fish - she came home glowing and full of stories from her time with Daddy. So next it was my turn!
This past Saturday, I had penciled in a special event at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth. You might remember that I had included a visit to this museum on our summer bucket list (which we have basically been ignoring), and I figured this event was a good fit for Anna. Steve was happy to stay home with Maddie and play in the pool, so Anna and I headed out together for our big day out.
"Good fit" ended up being quite an understatement. I don't think I have ever seen Anna so actively engaged for such an extended period of time, outside of Disney World. We ended up being there for almost three hours and she was enthralled the entire time - I thought for sure we would only be there for maybe an hour, tops!!
Can't have too much sunblock!
Do you see her caboose tattoo?
The event was fun - they had two trains to ride (we bought tickets for both, of course!), an indoor exhibit filled with old train cars to climb in, vintage taxicabs, and plenty of old railway station items. They even had a special area filled with UPS trucks, buses, tractors and hayrides. Anna was so interested in all of the big vehicles that she didn't even want to stop for the gift shop!
Waiting for the train. We lucked out by getting to the museum right as it opened and we beat the crowds. I was SO happy we didn't have to wait in the long lines in the heat...it got pretty crowded as the day went on.
There is a real train track that runs right by the museum, and it was hilarious to see a train go by and blow its horn. Every single kid at the museum would turn and watch the train go by!
Riding the little park train...much more enjoyable than the freight train, in my opinion!
We took a break about halfway through our visit to enjoy an ice cream cone in the shade. The weather heated up very quickly and I was thankful that we didn't have the baby there. We were seated next to the main welcome desk as we ate our ice cream and I enjoyed listening to the gentleman sitting at the desk answering literally any random question about trains thrown at him. He sure did know his stuff!
After our refreshment break, we explored some of the historic train cars inside the museum.
Here she is telling me to stay in my bed or she will shut the door. Finger wag and everything, hahaha.
We headed back out into the sunshine to see the final transportation items on display - UPS trucks and a big yellow school bus! Anna was in total awe and kept shouting "Bus!!! Bus!!!" She got to climb in, sit in the seats, and even sit in the driver's seat and honk the horn and pretend to drive.
You can see her collection of rocks...the whole outside is gravel and she kept trying to pick up rocks and stick them in my purse.
We ended our day at the coloring station, where she selected a tractor to color. I could tell the excitement of the day was starting to catch up to her, so we bid the volunteers goodbye, took one last run through the UPS trucks, and climbed gratefully back into the air conditioning of the car.
We finished off our "date" with a hamburger for lunch, and my day was complete as I tucked a freshly bathed Anna in for her nap. She gave me a huge hug and said "Trains fun Mommy, I love you." A mother-daughter date success, in my book!