I know, it’s been a while since I posted here but I have been so busy between the regular train rides and the themed train rides we’re having. So, let’s get right down to what has been going on lately here at the Florida Railroad Museum!
First of all, we had our first themed train ride in early February, which is the Hole In The Head Gang Train Robbery. Let me tell you, this is edge of your seat fun as US Marshals (played by actors, of course) see to it that the shipment of gold is put on the train and secured. However, when we get to just south of Dickey Road the fun begins when the train stops only to find out that someone made off with the gold!
In addition to the Train Robbery event, on the Saturday part of the Train Robbery weekend we also had our Hobo Campfire Cookout. It consisted of a train ride to our Willow facility and event grounds where participants were given a hot dog to roast over an open pit fire. Believe me, those hot dogs tasted awesome when roasted over the open fire! (However, it got a little chilly as the sun sets to the west so I ended up getting back inside the train before we boarded our passengers for the return trip). By the way, I only had one and that was practically my meal for the evening, as I was watching my diet closely. In addition to the hot dog roasting, participants were treated to music by a local Bluegrass band.
After the dust settled on the Train Robbery and Hobo Campfire Cookout events we had two more regular ride weekends before our next event which would take place over three weekends, one weekend in late February and two weekends in early March: Murder Mystery Express, and this year’s theme was Murder in 3-D.
I had an opportunity to be a crew member on many of the Murder Mystery Express runs as well as assisted in other activities related to the Murder Mystery Express, specifically assisting on the ground at Willow and assisting staff at the ticket office in Parrish distributing will call to our passengers who had purchased tickets for the Murder Mystery show. That being said, here’s how a typical Murder Mystery show played out:
1. The passengers board and there is assigned seating, similar to North Pole Express. As Car Hosts we direct the passengers to their seats and in case of any seating problems we contact the conductor on the radio.
2. As soon as we are boarded, we Car Hosts have to retreat to areas on board our assigned cars – once the show starts, the actors have full control.
3. Just before we get started we hand out appetizers to our passengers. This means wearing disposable gloves; after all, food safety is very important!
4. The show is in three acts:
Act One takes place on the train headed north towards Willow.
Act Two takes place in Willow while you are having dinner.
Act Three takes place on the return train to Parrish.
5. During the short intervals where there is no acting the passengers are trying to solve the whodunit and writing their thoughts on a clue sheet given to them as they came on board.
6. While the passengers are enjoying their dinner we car hosts and the rest of the crew also get dinner too!
I had a great time working the Murder Mystery Express, no matter being a car host on board or working on the ground either in Willow assisting in setup and cleanup or in Parrish assisting in ticket sales and will call. It was the best time I have had yet!
Now that Murder Mystery Express has come and gone, it’s time to change gears and get ready for Day Out With Thomas. That’s right, one of my favorite Florida Railroad Museum events in addition to North Pole Express, Day Out With Thomas, and this year’s theme is The Thrill Of The Ride Tour 2014! A lot of preparation goes into making sure that the Day Out With Thomas event goes so smoothly and without a hitch; therefore, I had the honor of being in Parrish for a couple of days setting up the computer equipment both in the event gift shop tent and the ticket tent among the many other things.
Now did you get your tickets for Day Out With Thomas? Advance purchase is highly recommended and you can do that by going to the Florida Railroad Museum’s website and clicking on the Day Out With Thomas graphic on the left side of the page. Once there you can find a good wealth of information and a link to purchase your tickets.
Your ticket entitles you to all day admission on the grounds plus your train ride at the time you select. The time you select for your train ride is printed on your ticket. Allow ample time to get to the museum in Parrish so that you and your family can participate in the events including your train ride. Speaking of your train ride, you may want to make your way to the boarding area at least 30 minutes before your train’s scheduled departure time. Again, your train departure time is printed on your ticket and believe me, Thomas does indeed depart on time; doors close three minutes before departure for the mandatory safety check.
Day Out With Thomas takes place on 15 and 16 March 2014 as well as 22 and 23 March 2014. Admission is $18 each for all guests ages two and up. After all, Thomas is for all ages!
So, we got an exciting two weekends coming up at the Florida Railroad Museum! After Day Out With Thomas we got the Cottontail Express coming up on Saturday, 19 April 2014 at 10 AM, 1 PM and 4 PM. Again, check the Florida Railroad Museum website for details and to purchase tickets. And while you’re there, you can purchase tickets for our regular train rides we have on the weekends at 11 AM and 2 PM; just after the Cottontail Express in April we will be back to our regular ride fare for the summer – and plenty of time for this now certified car host to train for the next step.