I am not sure what your plans are for tomorrow RVA but if they do not include the 40th Annual Model Railroad Show, you need to think again.  I went for an afternoon of fun with my 3-year-old and we had a blast.  

This event is for train lovers of all ages. I was equally enthralled as Palmer was.  If you have not checked out the Science Museum of Virginia yet, this is a great weekend to check out all the regular exhibits as well.  What I love as a mom of little guys is that under age 4 are free.  I will gladly pay $14.50 for myself considering the fun we have when we are there! (Active duty military, retired military and veterans with ID receive free admission, so do not forget to mention when checking in!) Also, if you have an Electronic Benefit Transfer Card (EBT) make sure you show the staff at the check in booth for discounted admission as part of the Museum for All Initiative, which promotes learning experiences for all nationwide.  With your EBT card the cost is 2$ for adults, 1$ for youth 4 and above and seniors!  Enough about logistics, let’s talk about the TRAINS!

All Aboard the Teddy Bear Express – free with admission!

The Model Railroad Show ends November 26, 2017 so you do not want to miss this chance.  I would recommend timing your visit beginning lunch time or after if you want to see the Clydesdale Horses (1-4pm) and catch a ride on the Teddy Bear Express (11:30-1 pm). I realize this may be risky depending on nap schedule / temperament as the day goes by.  Afternoons get risky for the Smith kids, we start to unravel.  If you were present for any of the unraveling today, have mercy on my mom soul.

The detail on the models was impressive, to say the least.  You could stand for hours and find new people or scenery each time.  We made a few loops around each table throughout the day soaking in the master layouts.  But, if I had to pick a favorite it was hands down the Lego display.  We are Lego obsessed at our house these days, so once Palmer locked eyes on the Lego table the rest was history.

If none of the above is enough excitement, there was a live Blacksmith giving demos (we skipped this interactive demo and watched from afar because well grumpy toddlers + sharp objects + fire = BAD COMBO!)  You could also tour a few of the train cars and see what the space inside was like.  Palmer was extremely bothered that the potty was so close to the bed yelling loudly that “EWWWW there’s POO POO by the bed mom that’s YUCKY!”

If you really can’t rearrange your schedule to stop by the Science Museum tomorrow, one of the groups present (River City 3 Railers) will have their display at the Great Big Greenhouse in Midlothian beginning December 1, 2017-January 20, 2018, starting Fridays at 4pm and on weekends during Greenhouse hours.


But, before you head out make sure you check out the under 5 area- its interactive and welcoming for our littlest friends.  There is a designated area for under 18 months and open to see your little one run and play without having to follow closely behind.  During the week, you will find sing a longs and interactive fun that you do not want to miss.


There is a lot to do at the Science Museum that I didn’t even hit on today, like the rotating exhibits, the rats that play basketball, the Dome, and the creatures! There is more fun that one can experience in a day, so I highly suggest considering a membership.  There are many options – but let me talk you through a great idea if you have children that are all under 5.  The Star Membership is   $75 annually for one adult.  It includes two Dome passes and two guest passes. This option is great for our family because typically I am out and about RVA with the boys while my husband is working, he can use the guest passes when he can join on weekends!  If you need the two adult passes regularly, look at the Pulsar option for 90$.  This membership is extremely affordable and will pay for itself in 3 visits or less depending on the size of your family!  Here is the link for more info about memberships. (Think about this as an option for holiday gifts!)

If you want to continue the train discussion after leaving, check out our 3 favorite train books to round out the evening.  I read with Grayson since Palmer is current counting sheep in his room.


  1. Sleep Train, Dream Train
  2. The Good Night Train
  3. The Polar Express

Round out your Thanksgiving weekend with bells and whistles RVA.  Did you make it to the event? If so, what did you think? Heading there tomorrow – let me know what your family loves!  Do you have a train lover at home – what are your favorite train books?


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  • Feebie
    November 26, 2017

    Thanks for sharing this information. Midday is iffy for my 4 year old, but it’s worth getting him out to see the displays.

    • FitFamilyLife
      November 26, 2017

      Ditto. Partially why I left little brother at home bc I knew two would be a train wreck waiting to happen. He slept 13 hours last night and woke up in the best mood ever so I’ll classify as a success!

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