When we got there, Jet ran into the main entrance and we nearly stopped dead right there, as there was a huge table of Thomas the Tank Engine toys and track Right There. It kept him happily occupied while John bought tickets and I looked around and saw a lot of books, paraphernalia, and every Thomas toy I'd ever heard of, much less seen. They had all three types of Thomas engines, the Take Along cast metal, the wooden Tomi, and the plastic Tomi all in one place along with shelves and shelves of coloring books, regular books, and videos. It was pretty astonishing.
It took us a while to get Jet out of there and out into the open, and the first thing he wanted to do, more than anything, was ride some coin-operated toys. Yeesh, with a big steam engine Right in Front of him!! When he really, finally focused on the engine, he was easily lured from the toys, and he climbed up into the cab and rang the bell, very happily, and then we were Off!
There are acres and acres of track stubs with all the engines and cars on them. We visited nearly every one, and even went to the far side of the roundhouse to come at it from the road. It was very, very impressive that way. I got lots of pictures of the boys climbing up into things, studying the underworkings, and peering at open pistons and drive shafts on the trains that were being worked on in the working round house. The open pit of the turn table was very impressive. Jet got to see most of the engines that Thomas' friends are all fashioned after and an engine that is almost the exact model for one of his HO engines. He liked that.
We looped back and around and managed to find the railroad garden, which was beautiful, with a pond and running water and at least a half a dozen independent tracks where big, G gauge trains were running. We stood there for a good half hour, just watching, and then a young man came out with an engineer's hat and started rearranging various strands of cars. He even asked Jet to help him out with when the train had gotten past a certain switch and Jet was so happy to help. We spent a lot of time there before going inside for a potty break, a drink, and a look at the HO setup in the basement, along with the various museum pieces. Jet played Thomas some more and we thought it was time to go, when he kicked up a fuss and said he wanted to go back outside.
So we went to the other side of the yard and met up with this monster. The wheels on that thing are over six feet tall and it can take on 18,000 gallons of water and 7300 gallons of oil. It's pretty astonishing to stand right next to it. We also visited Caboose 49, and got to walk around inside it, and see the top seats (up by those upper windows), the wood burning stove, a tiny, perfect desk, and a couple of bunks that were all tucked inside it. Jet loved the tiny perfection of it.
We then ended up back by the garden railway and we just sat and watched for a good while longer, before John and I got so hungry we HAD to find a place to eat. Jet told us that we HAD to come back, and we promised him that, indeed, we would. Otherwise I don't think he would have ever left. Next time, though, we'll have to remember to pack a lunch and make a whole day of it.
We ended up at the Capitol Grill in Golden, and they had a chili that really reminded me of Tommy's chili, at least in texture. I had it on a burger patty over Texas toast, and bought a pint of it to take home with us to see if it tasted as good on a regular burger with tomatoes (I always had the Mexican fry cooks take of the onion and pickle) as the Real Stuff had. We stopped by the General Store for drinks to take us home.
Both Jet and I fell asleep on the way home. When John pulled into our garage I said that I'd nap with Jet, and we slept in the car for another hour before John came to wake us both up. I like to think that he enjoyed his time to himself.
We watched Hidalgo together and it was fun and a good story. I got most of Mikayla's sweater finished but for the sleeves and the zipper. :-) It's going to be quite nice, in the Red Heart Monet pattern, it actually has small two stitch bits all along it. Amazing stuff AND machine washable. Whew.
Dinner was Annie's all organic rabbit pasta and Jet wanted them with snow, which I figured was a lot like mac and cheese anyway. He ate them quite cheerfully even though they were mildly underdone. Oops. So it is.