Tag Archives: trains


I’m sure you’ve noticed that it’s been a bit quiet on the Playground Hunt blogging front. And really there are no excuses, other than that life got busy. I started a marketing company, which is weird, because by training I’m a scientist – Ph.D. and everything. But it does mean that every spare moment when Alex and Jen are asleep I try and help local businesses grow. It actually really suits me – I like helping people, but one of the reasons I started this blog is that Jen and Alex would have a record of all their adventures.

So, really back to basics and re-starting blogging about the basic joys of having a couple of high energy kids who like to be kept busy and visit new places. Yes, I’m still trying to get the local community together to rebuild Rounds Playground, so here’s a quick plug for that:

So now I’m off to dig through my photos of the last couple of months and put together a summary of everything we’ve been up to. We’ve been to some sledding, a few playgrounds, a few sandcastles, a lot of trips to the Wenham Museum, the Science Museum, and the Children’s Museum… We’ve also done lots of painting and gluing and coloring and baking… but I’ll put photos in the next post. Baby-steps to getting writing again 🙂

Imajine That

We went to Imajine That about a month ago and we’re all itching to head back there. Both Alex and Jen had a great time, and I got to enjoy a loooong nap afterwards. Awesome. Imajine That is an indoor play space in Lawrence, about 25 minutes north from Stoneham. There is lots of free parking and a huge variety of things to do for the kids. There is a huge climbing structure, a play supermarket, a bouncy house, a music room, an art room, a train table (<3), a postoffice, a reading/writing center, a stage with lots of costumes and props, a pirate ship with sails, and a very nice infant/toddler space. Oh, and a huge pretend supermarket.

I’ve never seen a place so lovingly put together. Is it odd that my favorite thing at this place are the columns wrapped and dressed up as trees?  Anyhow, Alex’s favorite thing was the -um- everything. Jen liked the books. We even got to check out one of the events that are going on all the time. We made our own pizza

Make your very own pizza every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at Imajine That! First, each child gets dressed in their chef hat and coat. Then, each child will make their very own kid sized cheese pizza with authentic ingedients provided by Salvatore’s. Cost: $5.00 per child. Price includes juice box and pizza making materials.

There are multiple events each day – everything from “Between the Lions” story time, face painting, and a “Peep and the Big Wide World” science workshops.

In partnership with WGBH, we have created the Peep and the Big Wide World Science Imajinators! Come explore everyday science concepts in a new and FUN way! Your child will love our exciting workshops which include: – “Bug hunt” – “Water Explorers” – “Color Mixers” – “The Air out There” – “Music Makers” – “Shadow Explorers” – “”Peep Feet” -” Animal Homes” And so much more! Admission to this event is FREE with admission to Imajine That!

I tried to convince Alex to join in a snow-globe making event, but at that point he was having “a moment”. Now I’m trying to figure out how to make those at home. We’ll also have to go back to try out the big bouncy house and playground. They look excellent, but Alex kept on being distracted by the train table…

You are not allowed to bring in outside food, but there is a well stocked cafe with everything from organic milk to pizza at very reasonable prices.

Here are some photos I took, and some from their website, because my iPhone died while we were there.

Between the Lions library

Arts and Crafts area

Grocery Shop

Wenham Museum

WOOO WOOO – we have some tickets to the Wenham Museum to give away :-D. Win one of two packages – each contains FOUR admission tickets. To enter you have to: “like” the Playground Hunt and Wenham Museum Facebook pages and LEAVE A COMMENT AT THE END OF THIS POST. Bonus entry for you for each friend you refer (tell us who you sent)

And yes, Alex is still totally infatuated and we’ve been there maybe 10 times over the last two months. He even requested to host his birthday party there…

NMRA Hub Division Modular Railroad
Group Model Train Layout
MLK Weekend, January 15–17
Free with admission

Enjoy an expertly engineered room-size HO-gauge model train layout built by members of the NMRA Hub Division Modular Railroad Group.

Suzy Snowflake
Sunday, February 6, 1–3 pm
Free with admission

Together with Suzy Snowflake, learn the intricate art of folding and cutting snowflakes as we create a blizzard out of recycled paper.

Sponsored in part by Toodeloos of Gloucester.

Lego Train Model Train Layout

Valentine’s Weekend, February 12 & 13

Free with admission

The Lego Train is coming back, watch it race ’round the giant track, through cityscapes and colorful shacks. Listen as the train goes clickety-clack. See pictures of last year’s visit on Facebook!

Lego®-Maniacs Palooza
Tuesday, February 22, 1 pm and 2 pm
Free with admission, Pre-register by February 16

Lego® Fans bring your creative genius to this brickfest of fun!

Inventions that Go with Awesome Robb

Sunday, January 30, 1 pm
Members: $7 pre-registered,$10 at the door,
Non-Members:$11 pre-registered, $14 at the door
Museum admission included

Join Awesome Robb as he explores trains, planes and automobiles through magic, puppets and song.

Train Museum

It’s official. Alex thinks the Wenham Museum is waaaaay cooler than the Museum of Science (sorry MoS – we’ll be back). Every Tuesday since Jen started going to school he has requested to go to the Museum of Science for special Mama/Alex time. We had a routine. We almost had a regular parking spot. Then we went to the Wenham Museum one day since it’s just a few minutes drive from the Mass Audubon Center in Ipswich.

Last week Alex asked to go to the “biiiiig train museum”. We dropped Jen off and dashed up 128 and even got there before it opened at 10am. But the people there are so lovely, they let us in anyway – a school group was already there – and they let me park my coffee on their counter. How nice is that!

We pushed buttons, we made trains go, we scared some other kids by yelling “choo choo” a little bit too loudly. Alex was especially thrilled when a man fiddling with one of the displays showed us the teeny coupling on the locomotive that had broken. Alex had a super time and it was hard to get him to leave to pick up Jen.  We’re going back to the Wenham Museum tomorrow, and not only because Alex looked so sad when we pulled into the Museum of Science Garage on Monday. Here are some random pictures from last week.

Wenham Museum

We spontaneously went to the Wenham Museum on Wednesday. It’s in -er- Wenham and we were up that way for the Mass Audubon Toddler Class. What a thoroughly lovely experience! It’s a super child friendly place (a changing table in the men’s restroom always gets bonus points from me) and contains 50% trains and 50% dolls. I’m exaggerating of course, but I’m pretty sure Alex had the best train experience of his life and is currently making choo-choo sounds in his sleep.

The museum has a gallery with a big collection of tin cars and trains, a hands on train, and hands on race car. We spent a good half hour here jockeying for the driver position in the car. Everything seems put together really lovingly and passion. It transfers. Jen and Alex were super careful touching everything that was allowed to be touched. Just as a warning, the train table in the doll gallery makes an eerie mooing sound when activated. Alex said he was a bit scared and wanted to go somewhere else when we found that.

The trains downstairs are spectacular. There are ten different, huge model layouts. Lots of detail. Lots of love. Alex and Jen spent about an hour in this room.

Visitors of all ages delight in the Bennett E. Merry Train Gallery featuring 10 operating model layouts—in G, O, HO, N, and Z gauges—with 12 trains that operate with the push of a button. Railroad artifacts, memorabilia, large-scale models and antique toy trains are also on display. Most importantly, model train and railroad experts are on hand to answer your questions, discuss scenery building and layout construction, and offer advice to railroad hobbyists.

There are lots of dolls (1000 to 5000 on display) from every walk of life:

The dolls in the museum’s world-renowned collection offer insights into the values, manners, and mores of past generations; interpret the costumes and cultures of native and foreign peoples; and reflect the aesthetics and history of the international doll industry. They range from Egyptian funerary figures (c. 1500 BC) to 20th-century collectible dolls, including 19th-century porcelain European play dolls, international travel dolls, “Whimsies,” American cloth dolls, and rare 19th-century Native American and Inuit dolls. Not to be missed is the Elizabeth Richards Horton International Doll Collection—one of only two collections in the world to remain intact for more than 100 years—containing dolls from turn-of-the-century celebrities and royals, and Miss Columbia, the doll who traveled around the world from 1900 to 1902.

A rotating permanent exhibition features approximately 1,000 of the 5,000 dolls in the Wenham Museum’s world-famous doll collection. Included are fine examples of both French and German Bisque dolls, dolls of unusual media, unique artist’s figures, and dolls by 19th- and 20th-century American doll makers. Some of the many highlights of the exhibit are a late 18th-century wooden “Suzanna Holyoke” doll with original costume, late 19th-century bisque costumed mechanical dolls, dolls by Joel Ellis, Grenier and Izannah Walker and examples of 20th- century collectible dolls by Vogue, Madame Alexander and the Ideal Toy Company.

Permanently displayed in the Osgood Gallery is the International Doll Collection (IDC), the original nucleus of the museum’s doll collection, donated in 1922 by Elizabeth Richards Horton, a former resident of the Claflin-Richards House. On behalf of charities all over the world, Mrs. Horton would plan an itinerary a year in advance, pack her dolls, and ship them off to be exhibited as a charitable fundraising event. Over the years, in an effort to expand her collection, Mrs. Horton wrote to officials, celebrities, and the crown heads of Europe to request donations to her collection. Many personalities of note responded and the collection still contains dolls from Queen Victoria, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, Czar Nicholas and Czarina Alexandra, Admiral Byrd and Cecil Rhodes, among others. A highlight of the IDC is Miss Columbia, the museum’s most famous doll. A cloth Columbian doll designed and manufactured by Emma and Marietta Adams of Oswego, N.Y., Miss Columbia traveled around the world by herself from 1900 to 1902 raising funds for children’s charities. She is displayed with her travel diary and souvenirs. In the year 2000, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of her voyage, a reproduction Miss Columbia was sent around the United States to elementary schools with her own curriculum and Web-based journal.

Jen was a little bit young at almost 14 months, but she also had a great time playing with the tea set out on one of the kids play tables. The other big hit with us was the Family Discovery Center. Lots of hands-on toys to explore. This room changes, but currently has toys from Post-WW-II (1946 to 1964) and lots of Lincoln Logs.

Experience the childhood of the Baby Boomers in an interactive display of real and reproduction toys and artifacts of daily life of the 1950s and 60s. Children have fun dressing up as cowboys and cowgirls, playing in a post WWII Tract House, and shop at the local grocery store or challenge parents and grandparents to a game of Candy Land, Rock-Em-Sock-Em or build with Lincoln Logs. Children take turns dialing a rotary phone and using a typewriter. See a display of toys from the museum’s collection including a Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist puppet, Ginny and Chatty Cathy dolls and more memorabilia from the 50s and 60s.

The museum is located at 132 Main Street, Wenham. It is open from 10am to 4pm daily and is accessible by public transport (:-D)

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