Dutch Country- August 2008

Instead of a romantic getaway for our 10 year anniversary, we took a couple days to get away as a family. We have been to the Lancaster, PA area several times in the 5 years we have lived in Maryland. It is about 3 1/2 hours away. On this summer trip we decided to go to Dutch Wonderland (only open during the week in the summer & some weekends in May, September & October) and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

On Wednesday we went to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. They had family days in August, so kids were free. Normally the prices are $8 for adults, $6 for children 6-17 and FREE for kids under 6. So we saved $6 on the admission of our 7 year old.
The railroad museum is a large building with many trains and displays. They have a great kids area with hands-on activities and displays. We had about 2 hours until closing, so we spent most of our time walking up and down the aisles between all the full-size train engines and cars. The kids enjoyed being able to look in some of the cars and climb in a few as well. My parents had been there about a year ago and said they did not have the trains open to walk through, but one of the older passenger cars was from open from an earlier presentation and Malachi & Abigail thought it was cool to be able to walk through it. Evan came on the other side and said it was a holdup and that became Abby's favorite part and continues to talk about "the train we got robbed on".
There are displays where you can listen to information and there are written descriptions as well. I try to point out just a couple things that I think will be remembered and I don't even attempt to read or explain everything at a museum. We pointed out the fruit car and how they packed in ice through the top to keep the fruit cold for travel. We also looked inside the mail car and discussed how the mail was sorted and delivered.
You don't have to worry about being quiet in this museum because the building is huge and I think it's a great place to bring children. FYI, it is not air-conditioned, but it is bearable.
BTW, the railroad museum is across the street from Strasburg Railroad where you can ride their trains. We decided to save that for another trip because we have learned to do a few things well rather than cram too much in and wind up miserable with burned out kids.

On Wednesday evening after supper we went to Dutch Wonderland and purchased tickets for the following day. They have a deal where if you come the night before to buy a ticket you can "preview" the park during the 3 hours before it closes. We arrived about 2 hours before closing and it was not crowded. We were able to walk up to most of the rides and get right on. The kids rode at least 10 rides and some more than once.
We returned the following day and though there were a lot of people there, the lines were still short. 10 minutes was probably the longest time we waited in a line and there were some rides where the kids rode more than once. Between Wednesday night and Thursday we rode over 25 of the 30+ rides and played in the water area, Duke's Lagoon.
The cost for Dutch Wonderland was $29.95 for ages 3-59. 2 & under are free. So we spent about $120, which is high for us, but we definitely felt we got our money's worth. Plus, when I researched parks, Sesame Place, which is also in PA, was $47 per person.
Dutch Wonderland is an amusement park designed for kids. Our 4 year old & 7 year old were tall enough to ride every ride. On some rides they did need an adult to accompany them. I would say it is definitely the place to go with children under 10. It was fun to watch them enjoying the rides and riding with them on some as well. They even have 2 roller coasters.
It is a clean park and the other families were very nice and I talked to several other moms as we waited with our little ones. The arrangement of the park is well-planned because they put rides for younger children near the bigger rides, so either Evan or I was able to stay with the twins and watch Abigail on a smaller ride while the other parent went with Malachi on the bigger ride.
Some other important info:
1. They have a nursing station near the park entrance with 2 private rooms. It is air-conditioned and has a changing table, rocking chair for mom & a rocking chair for a toddler. I was able to fit our double snap-n-go stroller in the room with me. Big thumbs up to Dutch Wonderland for this building!
2. Food prices are, of course, highly inflated. They do have a picnic area outside the park, but we chose to eat in the Mill Stream Eatery. It is a large air-conditioned room where you have several choices in food, including an a la carte area with fruit and things. We bought the kids each a chicken tenders kids meal and wished we had only purchased one because they could not eat all the huge chicken tenders they were given. However, they did each get a plastic souvenir cup, which was nice, since we don't normally buy souvenirs.

We enjoyed the museum and amusement park. If you want more info, here are their websites to check out:

http://www.rrmuseumpa.org/ - The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

http://www.dutchwonderland.com/ - Dutch Wonderland


Kendra said…
We lived in Coatesville, PA for 18 months, and we have been to these exact places! We took our son to A Day Out with Thomas a few years ago in Strasburg, and when company came from out of state, they often wanted to see the Railroad Museum. We went to Dutch Wonderland as well and thought it was a perfect park for families with young children. I second everything you said here!
Momma_Duck said…
Oh my goodness! Twins!!! That's so incredible! Big congrats to you guys!!!

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