5 tips and tricks for your first train garden visit
- To make sure kids aren’t overwhelmed by all the lights, bells and whistles, talk about what to expect before you go. Explain that the lights may go on and off and there may be a lot of people. Many train gardens even have videos posted online so you can watch together to help young children get ready for the trip.
- It is sometimes hard for little ones to get a good view of the trains if there are large crowds blocking the displays. Avoid the crowd by going on off-hours if you can. This way, you can get an up-close view of all the train displays and you won’t feel like you need to rush. It’s usually safe to assume that weekdays, during the hours schools are in session, will have smaller crowds. It might also help to go earlier in the month to avoid large holiday crowds. You can also call ahead to find out the best time to visit.
- Bring cash. Many train gardens are free, but some may ask for donations. Still others may have raffle tickets or treats for sale.
- Pack light. The popular train gardens get crowded, and there’s not always a lot of room to make your way around the displays. Leave the giant diaper bag in the car so you won’t end up whacking a fellow visitor with it.
- Make friends with the organizers. The people who construct and help run the train garden displays are generally proud of their work and enjoy young children. After a few friendly words, they’ll be more than willing to point out the best parts of the garden or show you some hidden secrets about the display that others might not pick up on.
- Everyone over the age of 2 should wear a mask and be sure to take plenty of hand sanitizer. Bathrooms may not necessarily be open to the public, so be sure to make a pit stop at home before heading out to visit.
written by Lisa McCray