We had an unexpectedly delightful afternoon at the Train Shoppe last weekend, and I couldn’t wait to write about it. I had always driven past the store in their previous location but had been warned by other well-meaning friends with young kids that it wasn’t a kid-friendly place to visit (they were very serious about their model trains). I am happy to say that their new location is a kid haven and they clearly realigned their priorities to make this a fun kid destination.
The front of the store is still reserved for the serious model train enthusiast — pieces and parts of so many different varieties it’s mind boggling. But you turn the corner into the back of the store and are entered into a Wild West-style olde towne (extra E’s, like in the word “Shoppe,” are appropriate).
The fake storefronts are entrances to private rooms where you can book a party, and in the middle is a huge multi-model train display. They also have smaller displays set up in another area that are themed, like the Hogwarts version above.
The train displays are cleverly rigged up with touch-screen control panels that allow the user to control the speed of the train, the clanging bells, and horn whistles for 2 minutes (for 25 cents).
The best part of the whole place is their model train ride. For $2 per passenger, you can sit in these train cars (grown-ups too!) while an engineer takes you on a tour of the Wild West. It only lasts a few minutes but it’s a nice little diversion with an interactive element (you shoot toy guns with lasers at targets along the way).
The entire store is indoors, which makes this a great activity idea for when you want to avoid the weather outside for whatever reason. Also, the people working there couldn’t be nicer and really are passionate about their love for trains. An absolute must for a train fanatic but still a really fun idea for anyone.