Railroad Museums – the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum in Maryland
My little train lover woke up extra excited this morning. “Chug-chug-chug-chug mama” he said when I walked in his room and scooped him up. I've been pumping him up all week for our day-trip to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in Maryland. We've watched the Disney cartoon about a million times, and sang the song about a million times! It's been a Chuggington week at our house.
We picked up some friends and made our way to Baltimore. It's about a 45 minute drive from Washington DC to the B&O museum. Parking was free and we got a lucky spot right by the building.
A friendly young man greeted us at the door and escorted us inside. The lobby area has an information desk and a interactive touchscreen where you can find lots of info on the museum as well as nearby attractions. The B&O Railroad museum is home to the oldest, most comprehensive collection of railroad artifacts in the Western Hemisphere. There are a few side rooms filled with train memorabilia and historical exhibits. The Smithsonian Treasures room showcases several model trains from Smithsonian's Museum of American History. The kid's were fascinated by the talking statue head that tells you a little bit of history just before you enter the main train room.
Walking into the main building I was amazed at how enormous the place is. You look up and see this beautiful dome ceiling with lots of light shining in. There are dozens of trains along the outside wall forming a circle of exhibits.
To the right there's a fantastic kids play area with a classroom, miniature train station and building block tables. Kids can draw on the chalkboards, watch a movie, read books, dress-up as a conductor, color train pages, and play with wooden train sets. Brady loved the train tables and playing with legos.
Railroad museums are great for day trip exploring with a toddler
Walking around you can you really imagine what these trains must have been like in their glory days. Platforms give you a little piece of the history of each one, while mannequins and props set the scene to take you back in time. Brady stared at Lincoln for awhile then waved and said hello.
The Chuggington event had several stations set-up with tasks to be completed. First one was a fire drill where kids threw bean bags at flame targets and got a bracelet prize.
Past the main building, there's a big outdoor pavilion with a carousel, kiddie rides, a playground and miniature train ride. We purchased tokens and spent awhile playing and riding rides. I couldn't get over how adorable the mini train was. The rail runs through a perfect little child size town with model houses and shops. It's just the cutest thing!
After the rides we visited some other fun activity stations. Brady loved the Chuggington wooden train tables and putting together plastic rails. There was a sandbox area to dig around, a musical instrument table, coloring pages and foam stacking blocks for the kids to play around with.
Seriously, how freaking cute are they ❤︎
We grabbed lunch at the concession stand, found a table and sat down to eat some chicken tenders and pizza before our 2:00 train ride began to board.
The train blew it's whistle and made it's way along the track. The conductor came down the aisle to stamp our ticket and give us a Chuggington songbook. Everyone sang along to the theme song as our train rolled back to the station for a special surprise celebration.
After the 20 minute train ride all the kids got hats and whistles and we headed over to where the Chuggington show was getting started. Everyone cheered when the trains popped out of their stations and said hello. Brady had to be right up front so he could see everything, ofcourse! Nothing shy about this kid! He danced along to the music and jumped up and down when everyone blew their whistles to celebrate Koko's birthday.
Our last stop was at the Harry C. Eck Education Building for Koko's Cargo Challenge. They had a fun activity set-up for all the little train lovers to fill buckets with plastic coal chips to dump into Koko's cargo carrier. The space is also used as a party rental room and there are restrooms right down the hall. The B&O museum would be a great place to have a party, for kids or adults. They have several areas available for rent and you can even have your party on a train. What kid wouldn't love that!
We had such an awesome day and will definitely be back! The museum hosts lots of fun events throughout the year including the very popular Polar Express during the holidays. I'm excited to take Brady to that, he had such a blast with this trip. I was very impressed with how beautiful and spacious the museum is and how many activities and areas they have just for children. Truly something for everyone to enjoy, young and old. A little bit of history and a lot of fun!
Grab gifts and fun train memorabilia from the gift shop on your way out.
For more information visit Baltimore and Ohio Museum Website at http://www.borail.org
Upcoming Events at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum
- Toddler Time with Choo Choo Blue- August 19, 2015 10:30 am
- Beach Party Bash– August 10-14th 2015
- All Aboard Summer Reading Program– “I've Been Reading on the Railroad” now thru August 24th
Tips for Families
- Strollers are allowed in the museum but not on the train rides
- Onsite Parking is free
- No coolers allowed. No outside food and drink. The museum has a full service cafe on-site and accepts cash or credit card. There are no high chairs.
- Kiddie rides require purchase of tokens, tokens are $1 each. There's a machine for tokens in the middle of the outside courtyard, cash or credit cards accepted. One ride is 2 tokens ($2) or unlimited rides are 5 tokens ($5) per ride. So you can ride the carousel as many times as you like for $5, and ride the mini train all day for an additional $5. Parents riding with children are required to purchase tokens as well. Children under 2 years old are free. Parents are not allowed on the mini train ride.
- Train rides are Wednesday through Sunday, April through December and weekends in January. Plan to be there atleast 2o minutes prior to boarding time.
- Bring sunscreen. A lot of the kids activities are located outside in the back courtyard area.
- The Roundhouse can host a 2800 person standing reception, 450 seated dinner
- The Outside Pavillion can host 5000 people and features a covered and paved area perfect for large outdoor company events, family reunions, crab feasts, bull roasts or large banquets.
- The Multi Purpose Complex indoor space can hold 1100 people and has video and projection capabilities for meetings or presentations.
- Kids Birthday Parties are held in the Education Station or on the Buxton Railcar. You may bring outside food and beverage. There is a family picnic area attached to side of the building. The gift shop offers paper products and goodie bags. The facility rental includes a party host. The Buxton railcar accommodates 48 guests aboard a historic train car for a unique party experience your child will love! Includes a party host and train ride option when available.
More pics from Chuggington a Traintastic Event at Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum