Sunday, March 13, 2011

National Railway Museum

Several toys that Cooper has chosen to buy here (one at Poundland and one with his birthday money) have been trains.  And he's expressed regret that we couldn't bring his train set from Baldwin City.  So one morning, he and I hopped the train up to York to visit the National Railway Museum.  He liked walking around looking at the various trains on display.
A quick word about the outfit.  Remember the really clever lion mane that I created for Homecoming?  This is what's left of the vest after I cut off the hood.  He picked it as his coat this day.  And the mask (which I think is a raccoon but Cooper calls a fox) came in a package of eight masks purchased as part of my unsuccessful search for a legit lion mask.  He got more than a few strange looks this day, but he was pretty easy to keep track of.  I just kept saying "does anyone see the boy in the fur?"

There was a playground at the museum, but it was positively crawling with kids.  We went during "half-term break," which is sort of like an early spring break when the kids are out of school for an entire week.
 (Can you see fur boy sitting calming in the train?)

Cooper really enjoyed the Thomas mechanical rides.  He also found a double-decker bus to sit in and "drive."

In honor of half-term break, the museum had Wizard Week, which included lots of Harry Potter exhibits.  Cooper liked the owl display and he got to hold a tiny owl on his arm.

The biggest draw of Wizard Week was an honest-to-goodness steam train billed as the Hogwarts Express.  Here she is in all her steamy sooty glory.

I mentioned the possibility of riding on a steam train when I was first telling Cooper about the museum. I started to second guess myself when I saw the long queue (look at me -- I'm talking British!), but Cooper was adamant. And to his credit, he did a fantastic job being patient the entire one hour and 15 minutes we were in line. Yup. 75 minutes waiting in line to ride a train.  After that wait, you'd think it would be fantastic, right?

Holy cats, it was lame.  The ride lasted just shy of five minutes.  FIVE minutes.  That's less than 300 seconds, people.  And the train literally just went backwards out of the station for 2.5 minutes and then reversed direction and pulled back in.  There was nothing Hogwarts about it -- no announcer saying anything wizardlike, no theme music, no posters in the train cars.  And this was the scenery for our magical journey:

Hogwarts better up its game if it wants to continue drawing students to its wizard school.

Finally, like most places we go, we visited the gift shop where Cooper selected a green steam train (with lights and sounds!) to complement his collection.

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