Trains and Boats with Thomas and the Vikings!

There are two fabulous exhibits open now at the Canadian Museum of History, and both are GREAT for kids!

Thomas & Friends: Explore the rails

Based on our favourite book and television series (seriously, I can't believe my kids are watching the same Thomas show I watched when I was little!) Thomas & Friends has chugged into town for a layover until May 1st, 2016. We had a chance to visit him this past week, and the exhibit did not disappoint.

There is a climbable Thomas the Tank:

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A HUGE toy railway:

And a chance for kids to learn about steam engines, as they feed the trains with "coal":

 The coal goes up the conveyor belt and Percy gives a big CHOO CHOO! 

The coal goes up the conveyor belt and Percy gives a big CHOO CHOO! 

And so much more - there is a small tot place, a chance for kids to dress up in a conductor's hat and jacket, and interactive video/audio throughout.

My only tip? Get there early - we know how popular this museum is, and weekends are a bit hectic. Plan to see Thomas as soon as the museum opens, and then you'll have time after to explore at a leisurely pace. If you're planning to take your children during the week, it will be much quieter.

From Trains to Boats: The Vikings

I was really excited to see this exhibit, although I wasn't sure how appropriate it would be for children. We escaped the zoo that was the children's museum, and the relative quiet in the rest of the museum was lovely. 

The Vikings exhibit was full of awesome visuals, including this display of a boat hull, using only the nails and wire to represent the shape. The boat had been buried, so the original wood decayed, leaving only these thousand year-old rivets.

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I learned a lot about the Vikings that I didn't know before - for instance, did you know that the "horned" helmet is a myth? Vikings never wore horns, but you wouldn't know it looking at our modern-day Halloween costumes!

 Shadowy image of the horned helmet...take those away, and you're left with a more accurate representation of what they really wore

Shadowy image of the horned helmet...take those away, and you're left with a more accurate representation of what they really wore

My 3 year-old was certainly not bored in the exhibit, although a word of caution that they LOVE to play with the bouncy rope that cordons off the displays (who doesn't like a nice bouncy rope?) They will quickly be told by the staff NOT to touch the rope :)

My 6 year-old found it all very interesting, and she was able to participate in the interactive displays, including a Viking game of chess.

 A traditional Viking boat

A traditional Viking boat

If you're hoping to see both exhibits, I would plan to spend most of the day at the museum. You could pair it with an Imax movie if that's what your kids are into (mine are still too frightened by the giant screen!)

Hurry to get to the museum before the Spring, as the Vikings set sail on April 17th and Thomas pulls out of the station on May 1st!

Have you been to visit Thomas & Friends or the Vikings? What did you think?