Hocking Valley Scenic Railway: Easter Train

9 Apr

On Saturday we took our (almost) 3- year old son on the Easter Train at the Hocking Hills Railway.  Overall he had a great time but there were some definite areas needing improvement.  First, Let me tell you what the website described.  Then I will go on to add some actual details of our day.  The website, http://www.hvsry.org/index.htm described the Easter train as leaving promptly at 1:00 or sooner, so to get there early.  We were early, boarded the train by 12:15, and the train did not depart until about 1:20.  (1st fail.)  But, my son was very excited to be running around on a real train so fortunately, he didn’t mind the wait.  Second, the train was sold out, which was nice, and the website did mention it would be a full house.  The train cars themselves are from the 1920’s I believe.  The looked it, and smelled it a bit too.  But, I understand the railway is run on volunteers and does not have a huge budget.  It was so far worth the $17 per person for the experience.  We traveled about 20 minutes down the tracks to the ‘Easter Egg hunt.’   About half the kids brought their own basket for the egg hunt.  We did not.  The website never mentioned to bring one and I assumed maybe they were passing out bags once we got there.  Quite a few parents made the same assumption, so the train staff walked through the cars passing out clear plastic garbage bags.

My son was very excited to see the Easter Bunny standing alongside the tracks as we pulled up to the event which was staffed by a Boy Scout troop.  There had to have been nearly 1000 riders on the train, and the easter egg hunt area was extremely small.  It was separated by age groups but it was quite insufficient.  Parents were entering with the kids and scooping up handfulls of eggs.  I had to shove my son into the crowd and I had to push a “sports mom” out of the way just so my son could get ONE plastic egg.  The entire hunt was over in literally about 60 seconds.  For a sold out event, they did not plan it well at all and should not have allowed the parents in with the kids.  Luckily, my little boy was happy just getting 1 egg with a 3-pack of Sweet Tarts™ inside.  Needless to say, I was not the only disappointed parent. So, after the maybe 5 minutes we were off the train for the supposed Easter Egg Hunt, boarded the train once again to start our journey back.  As we waited about 30 minutes for everyone to get back on the train, a volunteer did walk through the train car asking if every child had gotten a prize.  We mentioned that we did not, and he handed my son a big chocolate Easter Bunny.  He was thrilled!  This made up for the disappointment I was feeling.  They also ended up handing my son another prize of an egg filled with M&Ms™.  Again, a very nice move on their part.  So, in the end, everyone was happy and enjoyed the ride back.

One other mention though.  The gift shop which is talked up quite nicely on the website…was closed.  I had promised my son the whole time he could pick out a new Thomas and Friends™ train while we were there, then he was very sad we could not keep that promise.  I asked about the shop being closed to be told that they had not restocked since last season.  That was not a smart move on their part.  There were probably 500 kids or more and I am sure the gift shop could have made a killing.  We ended up stopping at the local Walmart to get my son the promised train.

Even with a few bumps in the road, we all had a nice day and a good experience at the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway.

~Chica Pants

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