A few weeks ago I wrote a piece on Recreation Unlimited after I took all four of my kids at the same time. While I was there, I noticed an interesting thing: every little boy in the place was huddled around the train table. Since then I’ve been paying attention to train tables wherever we go and I think I can now safely say, little boys love trains.
This is not to say little girls don’t love them too. Millie, my soon-to-be three year old, loves a good train.
But if you are a parent to boys I’m confident you’ve seen more than your fair share of Thomas. So, when your little engineers are beyond the age of destruction and ready to move beyond the types of trains that can survive a few rides down the stairs and a good derailing into the dog’s water dish, head over to Mr. Muffin’s train museum.
Mr. Muffin’s train museum is a small building in Carmel that houses more miniature trains than you’ve ever seen in your life, I’m sure. The walls are lined with cars and engines and in the center of the building you fill find three tall shelves of train accouterment and topped with some of the most epic train displays.
The displays can be viewed from three sides and are remarkably detailed. Tiny train workers load coal on one table while urban campers (polite for hobo!) warm themselves by a fire on another. Kids playing baseball, dogs chasing mailmen and honkey tonks loaded with itty bitty ladies are all there to be seen here.
The displays are above the heads of little visitors like my kids, so I recommend you make use of the gobs of step stools that are provided to help them peer into the miniature worlds. For us, it was a fun chance to involve our kids in the stories – it wasn’t just a scene to look at, but an illustration to a story our kids could tell us. We asked them: “Who is this guy?” “Where is this lady going?” “What do you suppose these urban campers are talking about?” Their stories made the museum fun for us.
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A good ole’ parenting tip: These displays are protected by nothing other than height. So if your child is up high enough to touch, there is nothing but their own good nature to stop them from reaching out and grabbing little Sally ice cream truck girl right off the table. There are no complimentary baby handcuffs so be on your guard.
On your way out make sure you leave a donation and grab a piece of candy for any little ones who made it without touching! Don’t do what I did and give them the candy on the way in. That becomes a serious problem. Your wife won’t thank you for upping the ante from “don’t touch” to “here’s a sugar rush and sticky hands: Now don’t touch!” Live and learn right?
MORE INFO: Mr. Muffins Trains is located at 177 W. Main Street, Atlanta, Indiana 46031. Hours are Tuesdays-Fridays from 10am-5pm and Saturdays from 10am-3pm. Trains run on Saturdays but are always available to look at during the week. If you have a group visiting, call ahead to arrange for the trains to run. Visitors are admitted into the showroom for free. Call 765.292.2022 or visit their website for additional details.
In late June, 2007 Luis Ruvacalba removed his laundry from the dryer to find that he had rendered all of his undershirts pink and shrunk his favorite red University of Arizona sweater.
At that point – as he says: “I realized: I need a wife. I married Katie in Sept of 2007. Aside from one lousy pen left in my pants pocket and numerous dried on Conner Prairie stickers, the laundry has gone pretty well since then.” Luis has four children: Maggie- 7, Micah- 5, Millie- 2, and Merritt- 1. Each of them helps him sharpen his parenting skills in new and unique ways. “Without Maggie I’d never have learned to put on tights. Without Micah I would have the weakest MMA fighting skills on the block. Millie challenges me to improve my search and rescue abilities. Merritt gives me weekly lessons in Matrix style urine dodging. Together we are the greatest family to ever ruin your family’s nice quiet afternoon at the park.”
Follow along with Luis as he helps shows you the best places to let your family run wild.