I almost didn’t post anything for Birthday Week. It wasn’t until GeekMom Kelly posted about banning the goody bags that I remembered a clever goody bag idea… which was in itself part of a wonderful birthday experience for my oldest son.
In 2006, when the family was living in Apex, North Carolina, we had the chance to hold my oldest son’s 4th birthday party at the nearby New Hope Valley Railway, which was about 20 minutes south of our town in New Hill, North Carolina.
The railroad wasn’t operating excursions on the day we held our party, but for only $75 you could rent out a dining car that’s specially outfitted for parties and the party guests could take tours of the stationary locomotive and train equipment.
My son was Thomas the Tank Engine’s biggest fan at the time, so we had a great time “Thomas-ing” things up for him.
The cake was my first-ever hand-decorated cake…I was taking Wilton cake decorating lessons at the time and this was my first star-tip-covered cake. It was quite the workout, putting all those little stars on a cake that feeds 50!
For the goody bags, I purchased 6″ miniature tote bags and printed pictures of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends on iron-on paper. I hand-ironed pictures on 24 of those bags! Instad of putting items in the bags that might end up in the trash, I filled each bag with a 24-box of Crayola crayons and several Thomas the Tank Engine coloring book pages. I had hoped that these bags could make it into Moms’ tote bags in the future for church, restaurants or shopping trips to keep the preschoolers happy.
The goody bags also doubled as balloon weights for basic latex helium balloons. Then each guest could take home a balloon too!
Want to take the plunge for the ultimate train geek birthday party experience? All it takes these days is a simple Google search for birthday parties at scenic railroads. This might not be so helpful without knowing what tourist railroads are nearby. There are numerous internet guides to tourist railroads available, with RailServe.com being one that has worldwide tourist railroad information.
4 thoughts on “Are You the Parent of a Train Geek? Throw a Birthday Party at a Tourist Railroad!”
I remember that party and your homemade party bags. We had a great time. Thanks for the tip and trip down memory lane…
As a volunteer on the Poway-Midland Railroad in San Diego, I can tell you this is a great (and popular!) idea.
We have lots of birthday parties come to our park. We also give an extra lap of our half mile loop (go around three times instead of two!) to parties who announce they are celebrating when they board.
You can imagine how many times our 1907 Baldwin Steam Locomotive has been in birthday pictures.
It is a lot of fun to participate in so many children’s birthdays.
I just took my train-geek birthday boy to the trolley museum/tour last week! I saw they offered party packages there and was intrigued, but we were just doing a special outing rather than a party with guests.
For anybody living near Toronto (Canada), there’s a great tourist railway about an hour north, in Tottenham. They just got their steam locomotive up and running, too!
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