If you child is anything like mine, they have gone through or are currently in a phase where they are obsessed with trains. My three year old son loves trains and so we figured we would take him up to Boone for an afternoon for a ride on a real train.
The Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad offers many different train rides- you can check out the schedule online at scenic-valleyrr.com. We chose the 1:30 basic excursion for our ride which was a 90 minute ride in a historic coach car that was pulled by a real steam engine. Our route took us from Boone over the Bass Creek High Bridge, over the Des Moines River and then along Squaw Creek to the mining town of Fraser.
Here are a few tips for the train ride:
Pack snacks or activities
The train ride is 90 minutes and that can be a long time for a small child. Be sure and bring snacks and drinks (they are allowed) or you can get something from the snack car. I brought along small notebooks and crayons for my son to play with but I would be nervous with small toys as we sat in an open air car with no windows!
In order to load the train, you need arrive at least 30 minutes early so you can find your seats and get settled before the train pulls out. They also can sell out of tickets before the ride so to be safe it is good to order your tickets before you arrive. You can do very easily by calling on the phone (we had a groupon).
Our train conductor was very knowledgeable and walked through our car several times to talk to us. He especially seemed to like all the kids so if you have any curious questions- ask away!
The BSVRR also had a great gift shop and a train museum. My husband and I took turns supervising our son at the train table in the museum while we pursued the exhibits. We both learned something new! My son loved the gift shop and it was a very nice collection of train things which are sometimes hard to find.
Go for a Special Event
The BSVRR also hosts a fun event called “Day out with Thomas” where you can take a ride on a train pulled by Thomas the Tank Engine. It is a fun day and a good ride for younger kids because it is pretty short. They also run a Polar Express train in December where you can wear your PJ’s and drink hot chocolate. I am looking forward to going back sometime in the fall so I can see the beautiful foliage in the Des Moines river valley.
Overall, we had a great afternoon in Boone. It is a great town that is only a short drive from Des Moines. I hope you can take a ride on the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad soon!