Our kids love Entertrainment and always ask to go there on our twice yearly visits from New York City to Grandma Kathy’s in West Chester, Ohio. Catherine and John made the trek this week (their February mid-winter break) with their older 8 and 15 year old cousins, Mitchell and Denise (Ohio and Kentucky based).
We love doing the scavenger hunts (they have several really challenging 30-item lists and one easy one for the little kids) because it’s a lot of fun and it really makes you study the elaborate scenery as the 90 trains go by. My daughter is a stickler for finding every item while my son is the pure train buff, shouting out with excitement when several trains crisscross at the same time over the complex rail network. I marvel at the detail of the many scenery layouts -- all built with the help of dedicated volunteers -- and appreciate their historical period sequencing and architectural authenticity: scores of bridges throughout the exhibit reflect the engineering styles of the times. The lights dim on the sets occasionally to create fabulous night time scenes.
A beautifully designed (and really well-thought out) children’s play area in the middle of the tour lets toddlers to more active older kids run, explore, be creative and, more importantly, expend a lot of energy! It’s the perfect intermission and a destination of its own with an amazing climbing tower maze, carousel, and push button working railroad tables. There’s also a great museum-like section just beyond the play area that covers the history of American railroads, which is perfect for one parent or a teenager to cut away to while the younger ones burn off steam.
We always end up in the Junction Café for ice cream. It’s a fun indoor street area with a collection of buildings that makes it feel like a small town. The lady at the food station lets the kids pull a big rope that makes a loud train whistle sound, but not too many times! This year we checked out the Funhouse section. I always thought it might be too scary on past visits for our kids (ages 5 ½ and 7), but I was wrong. They had a great time! My younger son got a big thrill walking through the Outer Limits section a bunch of times, and my daughter couldn’t get enough of Clown College, especially the tilted room.
We’ll be back again in August to check out the new Coney Island amusement park section on the upper level. Construction was nearly complete on this visit and everyone loved watching the roller coaster careen around the curves.
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