My ten-year-old self has just found his new favorite place. It was completely by accident of course; we went there with the intention of making my three-year-old son very happy. Bleric Ack had been hunting up fun things for us to do while we were staying with him over Thanksgiving, and this was the top suggestion. The Roads and Rails museum. And by “museum” I mean “project that my ten-year-old self only dreamed about and would have dedicated his entire life to.”
The Roads and Rails museum is basically a gigantic train set that takes up an entire building. All along the edges of this locomotive wonderland are buttons that one can press to make things happen. Some buttons make trains go, while others make cars drive on the roads, people dance around, animals zip about, or set off various lights and sirens. In other words, it was Edward heaven. He raced around pressing every button he could, especially loving the button that made the firehouse door open and the fire engine come out. But lest you think this was only for kids, the level of detail and hidden pop culture references that could be found on this giant table was astounding, and directed squarely at the adults. Look close enough and you can find the Griswolds, driving home with their enormous Christmas tree on the roof. You will see, if you look close enough, the cast of “Lost” peering into the hatch, and a certain time-traveling phone booth. Dunder Mifflin is there, and, of course, if you spend enough time scrutinizing every detail, you will find Waldo.
There is so much to find, in fact, that they pass out scavenger hunt lists at the front desk. There was a simpler one for the kids, which Ruby took to with wild abandon, a grown-up version, and then a bonus nerd version for all of those geeky things to discover, only a small percentage of which I have mentioned above. We spent a lot of time with the trains.
But then! As if that wasn’t awesome enough! There was more! Because we turned the corner! And found! The LEGO room! Yes, they had an entire room dedicated to a giant Lego world, the likes of which I had only attempted several decades earlier, but, as I was not allowed to convert our entire house into a Lego-scape, it had never come to fruition. Suddenly I was a kid again, studying this new world with as much, or more, precision as I had studied the trains. They had everything. Armies of soldiers marching on each other outside of the castle. The pirate ship that I had coveted so as a child. The space shuttle flying overhead as it passed a Delorean and Boba Fett’s “Slave 1.” Spider-Man. Harry Potter. The Ghostbusters. Truly, this was the best thing I had ever seen.
Bleric certainly hit a home run with this activity. If you are ever in the area, I would highly recommend checking it out. And I guess you could bring your kids too, if you have them. I’m pretty sure mine loved it as much as I did. Well, actually, I don’t know. I was not paying attention to them. I was too busy being one of them.