Trolley Rides, Pumpkin Picking, and a Playpen of Corn!

My family and I recently moved to Connecticut and I am, for the time being, spending time with my son as a stay-at-home dad (and blogger, of course!). This was the first time we’ve moved with children so the entire process has been something of a roller coaster.

Together, my wife and I have moved several times – and all across the country – so between the two of us, we’ve become somewhat proficient at it. However, with my son, things have become a bit more complex.

No longer can we cram long hours over a weekend to get everything packed, moved, unpacked, and set up in time to watch the evening NFL game (Go Patriots!). I mean, we could if we just threw on Netflix and let our son veg in front of the boob tube, but we would also feel like awful parents.

So, as the primary day-time caretaker of our child, I decided to look to see what was going on around us for fun and educational activities for us to do between unpacking boxes, meals, and naptime.

October is a great time to get out and find various family-friendly activities. Whether it’s a fair, a hay ride, or a haunted house, there is a lot of options for the outgoing family. It was during my research that I discovered the Connecticut Trolley Museum was hosting an ongoing event called Pumpkin Patch.

My son loves anything he can sit in which moves; trucks, cars, law mowers, you name it! We’ve attended every touch-a-truck event we could find, ridden on the Narrow Gauge Railroad in Portland, Maine, and even visited a firehouse or two to get close up and personal with some shiny red fire trucks!

One thing we’d never done before was ride on a trolley, so I thought this would be an awesome new experience for him and an educational journey through history for me and we were not disappointed.

The Connecticut Trolley Museum is a quaint vestige of the Street Car era (1880 – 1950) nestled in rural Windsor Connecticut and is, in my opinion, a must-see for transportation history enthusiasts.

Aside from preserving and operating authentic street cars which visitors can ride, the museum’s Pumpkin Patch was a really great experience for kids and adults alike. We arrived when they first opened at 10 a.m. to ensure that we were able to get on the first ride of the day (and it allowed us to maximize our day before going home for naptime).

For a very reasonable $15, we took one of the museum’s trolley cars on a short five minute ride to their pumpkin patch – a field with hundreds of pre-picked pumpkins – and had the opportunity to choose a pumpkin to bring home.

Another thing my son loves doing is flexing his little man muscles by picking up “heavy” things and carrying them around. At our old house he would spend his outdoor time picking up rocks and carrying them across the yard like he’s moving Atlas Stones in the World’s Strongest Man Competition – toddler edition.

With that in mind, getting off the trolley and seeing all those plump orange gourdes just begging to be picked up and carried around the field was like heaven for him. Eventually, I had to make the mean fatherly executive decision to choose just one pumpkin and get back on the trolley to go back to the museum.

Back at the museum, they had tables set up with stickers, markers, and other crafty items for you to decorate the pumpkin you picked. There was also a dress up area where your kids could pretend to be a train conductor, stationary trolley cars to explore, an educational movie on the history of streetcars, and outdoor activities.

Unfortunately, we had to leave before they were done setting up most of the outdoor activities, but one thing my son did get to play in was the corn box, a giant sandbox like structure filled with dried corn kernels. It was a neat, unique twist on the playground tradition and also offered great tactile experience for the younger kids, like my son.

Although we didn’t get to experience everything, I think what we did have the opportunity to explore was well worth the price and I’d highly recommend anyone in the area, or anyone who wants to travel, to go experience the Pumpkin Patch and the Connecticut Trolley Museum for themselves.

Learn more about the museum by visiting its website, here.

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