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Day Trips & Destinations: NC Transporation Museum Spring Kick Off 2014 Recap

One of the neat things about living in Salisbury, is that we're near a lot of really neat, historic places. One of B's favorite places to spend the day, or even just a few hours, is the NC Transportation Museum, located in Spencer, NC. Spencer is a hop, skip and a jump away from us, so we were very excited to have been offere the chance to spend the day at the NC Transportation Museum, and attend their Annual Spring Kick Off Event!

We stopped by the box office to pick up our tickets, which included unlimited train rides all day long, access to the exhibits of the museum, and much more! This family-friendly place is a 57 acre site filled with interesting exhibits and special events.  

Four large exhibit buildings represent the remaining structures of the historic Spencer Shops, once Southern Railroad's largest steam locomotive repair facility on the east coast.  Buildings include the Back Shop, the Master Mechanic's Office, the Flue Shop and the 37-stall Bob Julian Roundhouse.  The museum is a source of education and fun for the young and old. 

One of our first stops was to check out the old fire engines that had out on display. We were able to clib inside and ring the bell!

Since we have been to the NC Transportation Museum 3-4 times before, B was already familiar with the layout. He knew where the gift shop was, and couldn't wait to get in there! We let him play with the tain tables for a few minutes, because we knew that as the day wore on, the gift shop would be very busy. The gift shop has all sors of train and automobile related items- new and old. There are tons of Thomas the Train and Chuggington pieces and sets, and lots of other fun items, like books, pretend play products, dress up clothes, t-shirts for children and adults, etc.

All aboard!

Glancing around at some of the goodies in the gift shop...

One of the things I enjoyed, was that we actually got to walk through the exhibits of the museum on this visit. Sacha and I really enjoyed looking at some of the old means of transportation, including old early model cars, buggy carts, etc.

Beautiful old car in mint condition!

Walking through the gallery...

We also got to hop on board an old train car, checking out the types of items they carried- like wool, yarn and other textiles.

B was particularly interested in this old scale...

There were a lot of neat activities set up for the children, and they were scattered throughout the grounds of the museum. There were hobos wandering around, giving us a glimpse into what life was like for all walks of life, years ago. We were given a piece of chalk, and invited to draw some of the symbols that the 'hobos' used to inform one another about the dangers of the trains or the areas they were passing through.

B, drawing triangles from the symbols page...

Sacha, drawing some symbols, too.

B couldn't wait to step into the building that housed two huge model train sets. I don't know a lot about model trains, but I know they take a lot of time and money to build, and that for some, it's a really big hobby. B loves trains, so he enjoyed watching the trains woosh around the tracks. One of the tables was interactive, where there were tons of buttons for us to push. The press of the buttons made objects move, houses or buildings in the little town lights up, made some of the people move, etc. We did this for a long, long time!

B, trying to peek at the train set...

Here's a better view of just how big these train sets were... loved the little village pieces alongside of them!

After we walked around for a couple of hours, we grabbed a picnic bench underneath of one of the shelters on site, and sat down for lunch. I knew that packing a lunch would be easier than leaving for lunch, coming back, and trying to park again. We had a simple lunch of sandwiches and grapes, etc, and it was enjoyable, because it was just us- sitting down to lunch, without distractions.

Lunch time!

...and  hugs for mommy!

After lunch, we planned to hop on board one of the trains to take a little ride. The first train we rode had lots and lots of cars. We've been on this train several times, but it's always fun to hop on board and relax our feet. The train takes a 25 minute ride around the transportation museum, giving you a closer look at some of the back shop areas, taking you past the turntable area, etc. You never know who might be on board your train! B loves talking to the conductor, and always makes a point to do so. His favorite part of any train ride is when the conductor comes around and asks for tickets.

Ready to board the train...

Here we go!

A view of the train cars...

We also took a ride on the steam engine caboose! This was our very first time riding this steam engine. Just FYI- the steam engine is loud- it lets of lots of hot steam, which screams as it is released. We were seated right behind the engine, in the red caboose, which was sort of neat- because we got to sit up on top!

Ready to load into the steam engine train for a ride!

All aobard!

Sitting up on top, looking out the window during our train ride...

We took about a 20 minute ride on the steam engine, and it was so neat! We were all blowing black soot out of our noses for the rest of the day, and it was loud, sitting right behind the engine, but it was worth it for the experience!

After we rode the steam engine, we headed down the path to walk through the Back Shop a bit more, and explore some of the other exhibits. We saw lots more old cars and other types of vehicles, as well. B enjoyed seeing the old milk trucks and motorcycles!

Taking a step back in time...

B quickly scooted past the Barber Shop...

B was highly interested in this old 'race car.'

Pretty old truck...

Old milk trucks...

Plane that can land in the water...

Old fire engines...

There is so much to see at the NC Transportation Museum that you really have to plan out your day, if you want  to see everything. Get there early and ride the trains before they get crowded, have your lunch, and then explore the different exhibits. You can check out a bunch of old train cars, take a ride on the roundtable (for an additional fee), and explore so many vehicles from yesteryear! My parents have enjoyed seeing some vehicles that they remember from their childhood, and it's an awesome way for B to get a glimpse of what life was like 50+ years ago.

Visit the NC Transportation Museum

I know that we'll be visiting the NC Transportation Museum again soon. The Easter Bunny Express Event is coming up in just a few weeks, and B will definitely want to go and ride the train with the easter bunny, participate in the giany egg hunt, etc! To plan your visit to the NC Transportation Museum, head to their website. You can check out all of the special events that are held throughout the year, special trips and tours, book a party for your child's birthday in the birthday caboose, and so much more! Spending the day at the NC Transportation Museum is a lof of fun for the whole family! If you're in the NC area, or passing through on a vacation or trip, make this one of your stops- you'll be glad you did!

Connect with the NC Transportaion Museum on Facebook.

Where will your next day trip take you?

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Disclosure: We were provided tickets to this event through our affiliation with US Family Guide. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own. Your experience may differ.

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