My son is a train fanatic so this is a favorite place for him to visit. Unfortunately it can get quite expensive to visit often. While I understand charging admission to everyone, it would be nice if adults who visit frequently were given a discount. Just for the mere fact that I've already seen it. I'm not here to see it again. I'm just here to supervise my kid who wants to see it again. So I pay money for myself to see an attraction that I have little interest in, but can't let my child visit alone. They would make more money from me if they raised the children's admission price a little bit and let adults go in free after so many visits. Because at that point most adults are not there to see the trains. (at least not the moms I know) We are just there to supervise our kids! I would visit a lot more often if my budget allowed but unless the prices change we will still continue to make only rare visits.
Now, on to the things we like about it. The layout is huge and very well done. The people who run this place have a real passion for what they do and it shows. There is a mini Thomas layout in another room that preschoolers will enjoy. There are buttons to push and lots of little details to look for. A scavenger hunt and nods to local haunts everywhere. My son is most impressed by the small coal mine display and the castle on the hill which he claims is Hogwarts. (It's not.) The zoo and carnival are also favorites of his because the buttons make it come alive. The displays are impressive and there is a lot to see. But if you're like me, once you've seen it, you've seen it and I get quite bored very quickly after that.
The layout is a big circle so your child WILL run all the way around it over and over again, no matter how many times you tell them not to. And after paying all that money to get in I'm not about to leave to give the kid a time-out! There are step stools for the kids to use but they are large so bring your own small one if you don't want to have to cart a cumbersome step stool around the entire room ten times. (another "fun" feature for the grown ups)
Restrooms are clean. They do host parties but again you pay admission on top of the room rental fee so if you have guests who won't care about the train layout they will be sitting in the party room alone while the kids all enjoy the trains.
Would be nice if they offered gift cards so that grandma and grandpa could help pay for future admission prices.
Beware the huge gift shop area. Your child will beg you to buy trains. It will sully the whole happy experience because they will likely leave in tears (after having a great time looking at the layout) because you can't afford to spend $20 on a Thomas train after having spent money to see the attraction itself. The gift shop does house a very cool LEGO train display which is worth a look.
Staff is friendly and well-informed. Although like most grown men who have a love of model trains, they take themselves a little too seriously.