Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Our Tweetsie Railroad Adventure

Tweetsie at the station, picking up passengers.
As part of our family vacation to Blowing Rock, NC last weekend, we spent a day visiting the Tweetsie Railroad.  The attraction is a wild west themed amusement park nestled in the mountains and centered around a real railroad train, #12, called Tweetsie.  While planning our trip, T read a review of the park saying that it was the land of four foot tall people, meaning that it was dominated by children ages 4-8.  We knew then that the Tweetsie Railroad was the perfect place for us to visit.  We were right.

The park includes the Tweetsie train and it's track running around the mountain, as well as a western-themed town and two areas of amusement park rides, shows and other attractions.  We spent the entire day, from 10am to 5 pm, at the park, which gave us just enough time to do nearly everything once.  The park was large enough to keep us walking and active all day, but accessible for us to tackle without a stroller for G-Bear and E-Bear.  We brought a picnic lunch but certainly could have enjoyed the food at any one of a number of themed restaurants or food stands.

We found Tweetsie at the perfect time in our lives.  Thanks mostly to E-Bear, we are a family of train enthusiasts.  We love Thomas the Tank Engine & his friends, and our train table is one of our most beloved places to play.  An amusement park centered around a real-life train was just too good to be true.

We all loved Tweetsie the Engine,

each in our own special way.

As the above picture would suggest, Tweetsie's whistle is a real whistle, and her coal burning engine is real too.  Riding the train is a real steam locomotive experience and we loved it.  After our train ride, we watched a clogging show and then headed up the mountain via chairlift to try some of the rides.

One of the unique parts of the park is that many of the rides have maximum rather than minimum height requirements.  There are certainly plenty of rides that accommodate adults, but many more are for children only.  After about age 7-8 there are definitely rides that will be off limits.  Thankfully, that was not a problem for our half-pint crew.

We enjoyed the airplanes immensely.  G-Bear announced that she was flying to MoMo's house.  E-Bear chimed that he was going to Papa's.

The boats were next, complete with individualized bells to ring wildly.

G-Bear and E-Bear certainly impressed me with their bravery.  It seemed that the faster the ride, the more they loved it.  The "twister" ride and the "tilt-a-whirl" were two favorites:

Thankfully, T took tilt-a-whirl duty, because I definitely would have gotten sick.

After a wildly successful car ride with dad,

we tackled the helicopter, 

(which, by the way, ended rather badly...note to self, don't put the Bears in the same helicopter with the choice of going either up or down via pushing or pulling the restraint bar.  There are bound to be differences of opinion regarding which direction to go)

and finally, a lightning fast ferris wheel.

I might be smiling, but I was sure we were going to wheel right off this ferris.

Not pictured, but also thoroughly enjoyed, were the animal petting zoo area with goats, deer, ostrich, and llamas, the climbing tower on the top of Miner's Mountain, a miniature train ride, a playground, the carousel and several other attractions.

Our wheels started to drag just as the day was coming to a close.  We were pleasantly exhausted and thrilled with everything we had tried.  T and I couldn't have imagined a more perfect amusement park for our crew.  

We waved goodbye to Tweetsie as she pulled her last train load of passengers of the day.
"By, train!"  yelled E-Bear and G-Bear.

Like I said, definitely worth repeating.


B-Mama said...

Looks like it was the perfect little place for you all! I can imagine our crew would have loved it too. Great job finding it!! So fun!

Anonymous said...

Ha! I love G-Bear's expression as she gives the "thumbs up" on the Tweetsie Twister! Good for her for staying positive even as the decision seems dubious at the outset.
Meanwhile, we are praying for your safety in the next days as you batten down for the arrival of Irene.