Last Saturday my husband, five year old son and I visited the new half term event ‘Big Fun with Little Trains’. Alongside old favourites like the train themed storytelling, outdoor play area, and steam train rides, there were plenty of additional activities to enjoy. Appealing to a wide age range (adults included!) we excitedly raced other museum-goers on the Scalextric track, before building our own track in a Chuggington themed play area. On the other side of the museum our five year old then rode on a pedal train before building another out of Lego. Although we didn’t participate in any Meccano building (something that slightly older children seemed to be engaging with), there were plenty of seats and tables in this area, allowing a large number of children to participate.
Outside, and three train rides later (full and miniature sized steam trains, and a miniature diesel train) we ventured back inside for some food. Although hot food areas are normally situated in each of the two main halls, additional areas had been set up where cold food and snacks could be purchased, making queuing (thankfully) limited. A number of picnic benches both inside and out meant that it was possible to flexibly deal with the unpredictable eating demands of a small child.
Overall, the wide range of activities was impressive – appealing to younger and older children. The positioning of these activities all over the museum also provided the opportunity to browse at the permanent displays which should not be missed (our favourite was the Chinese steam train). Queuing on a busy Saturday was not an issue – either for food or these additional activities, suggesting a very well planned half term event. Clearly enhancing the existing exhibits, we are now really looking forward to the forthcoming Robot Wars event at the end of March.