The weather was hazy and cool and we thought for sure we were going to be stuck in the rain all afternoon, but the day couldn't have turned out better. We were out the door by 8:30 am and the boys couldn't wait to get there. We planned on getting there early enough to run free and walk around canal park before boarding Thomas the train. After a 2 hour drive, the boys were ready to get out and as soon as we arrived the boys jumped out and needing to get their wiggles out so they ran through the rose garden with Marshall as I sat in the van and nursed Oliver.
The fog stretched out over the lake and the sun tried peeking through the clouds and it smelt like wet roses and morning dew
. The scenery was beautiful and the boys were happy to see, touch, smell and feel everything they could.
After bathroom runs, a quick drive thru lunch and check in, we finally made it to Thomas!
The boys were so excited, they could barely contain themselves.
This was our third year, so we kind of feel like old pros. We know the do's and dont's of a successful day with Thomas (for our family) But this year, we learned where to park for cheap, and also free, along with where bathrooms are around the areas we like to walk (most biffys are padlocked! Can you believe that! It's a mothers nightmare!) and where there is food that our kids will/can eat.
As we made our way through the aisle to our seats, I sat across from Eli while Marshall and Ezra ran up to see if there was any better seating. I watched as Eli gently touched the seat he sat on and looked in awe above him and around him, he was taking it all in. He sighed and quietly said, "I'm riding Thomas..." like, he couldn't believe it, like it was the coolest thing to ever happen to him. I wanted this moment for him to last forever because I wanted him to enjoy this youthful bliss for as long as it could last.
I love eavesdropping on surrounding parents and families and the enthusiasm they all have for their children as the train starts moving. "Here we go! Thomas is on the tracks....." Playing pretend is the norm with little ones and I love that as all the families on the train were able to bond through some sort of camaraderie. I love being an adult and pretending for my kids.
Once we made it off the train, we are herded through like cattle to the train museum where the kids can play with train sets, color, meet Sir Topham hat, hear stories, tour train cars, and see a magician. Usually, I can't get through this stuff fast enough because of the rush of people and the heat, but it was a lot less busy and a lot less hot.
Once we made it through, we made our way to get ice cream.
We love going to the Portland Malt Shoppe. Marshall gets a strawberry malt, I got a butterscotch sundae and Ezra had a vanilla cone. Poor Eli just had Marshall's wafer from his malt and a bag of pretzel but he was more than fine with that.
I had to feed Oliver again, and while I did, Marshall and boys ran the trail to see Thomas come up the tracks and they loved seeing Thomas riding the rails.
Afterwards, Marshall and the boys played near the water. The boys could have thrown rocks in lake all day if we let them. I put an end to it when Eli threw a rock at Ezra's head.
We were so grateful for the stranger that was able to get an annual shot of our family in Duluth.
We were so grateful that it never rained on us and that we came (mostly) prepared for cooler weather. Oliver could have used pants and socks- but other than that, we were all perfectly comfortable and
It was a gorgeous day!
We were all exhausted and I was surprised that the boys didn't even nap on the way home- but they fell fast asleep in no time once they were in their beds.
We are already planning on our next trip up to Duluth. I am always wishing we didn't have to leave. I always wish we booked a hotel for the weekend. There are so many more things to see and take in and not enough time, especially with a little one to feed around the clock. Looking forward to making more memories as a family in the years to come.
Thanks again, Duluth- See you next time!