Christmas Holiday Season 2017 On The Train!

With another successful Great American Teach-In behind us and the Thanksgiving holidays fast approaching, the Christmas holiday season is upon us!  Just recently I gave my annual presentation on web design to students throughout the school day over at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School in St. Petersburg, which was very well received by both students and teachers!
Haven’t you been by the website portal for the websites of the Edward Ringwald Websites Network lately?  I recently did a major overhaul of the website portal and gave the page design and layout a more uniform look all across my websites.  If you haven’t checked it out lately, head on over to my websites portal at EdwardRingwaldWebsites.com – it provides convenient access to the three websites of the Edward Ringwald Websites Network, which are Interstate275Florida.com, DrawBridgeAhead.com and of course EdwardRingwald.com!
OK.  Let’s change gears a little bit and set the mood for the 2017 Christmas holiday season, which traditionally begins the Day After Thanksgiving.  A lot of you out there will partake in Black Friday and the shopping crowds, but more than likely you may incorporate a themed train ride at one of Florida’s two official state railroad museums, the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish as well as the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami as part of your Christmas holiday season activities.
First, the Florida Railroad Museum will be kicking off its North Pole Express event beginning Thursday, 30 November 2017 and on these dates in December 2017:  1 to 3 December 2017, 7 to 10 December 2017 and 14 to 18 December 2017, which are on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays  (with the final run on Monday, 18 December 2017).  North Pole Express sells out rather quickly once tickets go on sale on Labor Day in September; a check of the Florida Railroad Museum website is advised for remaining ticket availability.
Second, the Gold Coast Railroad Museum will be kicking off its Polar Express event beginning Friday, 24 November 2017 as well as the remainder of Thanksgiving weekend, Saturday, 25 November 2017 and Sunday, 26 November 2017.  The Polar Express will also be held on these dates in December 2017:  1-3 December 2017, 8-10 December 2017 and 15-24 December 2017 (the final run is on Sunday, 24 December 2017 which is Christmas Eve).  Some dates for The Polar Express at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum are already sold out; you can check ticket availability for the remaining dates over at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum website.
As with any train themed Christmas event, arrival at either venue at least 30 minutes to an hour prior to train departure is highly recommended.  This will give you time to park, pick up your tickets and be in line for boarding.  In addition, hotel accommodations are a plus especially if you are traveling a considerable distance to either Miami or Parrish as the events take place in the evening hours.
The Florida Railroad Museum is located in Parrish just off of US 301 at 12210 83 St E and is 35 miles south of Tampa as well as 25 miles north of Sarasota on Interstate 75.  Easy access to the Florida Railroad Museum via Interstate 75’s Exit 229, also known as Moccasin Wallow Road.  From Interstate 75 follow Moccasin Wallow Road east for about five miles to US 301, then south on US 301 for 1/4 mile to the museum entrance.
The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is located in Miami on the grounds of Zoo Miami at 12450 SW 152nd Street, which is a mile and a half west of the Florida Turnpike at Exit 16.  It’s easy to get to from anywhere in South Florida as well as the Florida Keys and from the Tampa Bay region it’s a 4.5 hour drive via Interstate 75 and the Alligator Alley to the Florida Turnpike exit at Exit 5; south on the Florida Turnpike to Exit 16 and SW 152nd Street and you’ll be there in no time.
You ought to go on a Christmas themed train ride at one or (if you can) both railroad museums.  Believe me, a Christmas themed train ride will be a memorable Christmas holiday season for you and your family.
ALL ABOARD!!!
 

Day Out With Thomas 2015

I know, I’ve been busy with a lot of things but I try to keep the Edward Ringwald Blog as fresh as possible with new content.  But we got a friendly tank engine that you may know which is just around the corner.
If you guessed Day Out With Thomas, you are right!  Day Out With Thomas 2015 is just around the corner at both the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami as well as the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish!
Here are the dates for Day Out With Thomas 2015 in March at the two railroad museums:
Gold Coast Railroad Museum:  7 and 8 March 2015 as well as 14 and 15 March 2015.  Admission is $20.00.
Florida Railroad Museum:  14 and 15 March 2015 as well as 21 and 22 March 2015.  Admission is $19.00.
Advance purchase of tickets for Day Out With Thomas is highly recommended.  That way, you can purchase your tickets online and on the day of the event, just head on over to the Will Call window and pick up your tickets.  I agree, you and your family will have plenty of Thomas fun!
To purchase tickets, click on either the Gold Coast Railroad Museum or the Florida Railroad Museum links above to go to that railroad museum’s website.  Then click on the link at the railroad museum website for Day Out With Thomas and select the date and time for your ride.
OK.  Now where is the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami as well as the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish?  Glad you asked!
The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is located in Miami on the grounds of Zoo Miami, 12450 SW 152nd Street in Miami.  The entrance to both the zoo and the museum is located about a mile west of the Florida Turnpike at Exit 16, which is the exit for FL 992, SW 152nd Street.  From southwest Florida follow Interstate 75 across Alligator Alley to Exit 5, which is the exit for southbound Florida Turnpike.  Continue south on the turnpike to Exit 16, SW 152nd Street.
The Florida Railroad Museum is located in Parrish, east of US 301 at 12210 83rd Street East.  The museum is 35 miles south of Tampa, 15 miles south of St. Petersburg (via Interstate 275 and the Sunshine Skyway) and 25 miles north of Sarasota and can be reached from Interstate 75 at Exit 229, Moccasin Wallow Road.  East on Moccasin Wallow Road for five miles to US 301, then south on US 301 to 83rd Street East and the museum entrance.
For those of you coming from St. Petersburg via Interstate 275 and the Sunshine Skyway, follow Interstate 275 to its southern terminus at Interstate 75.  When you get to Interstate 75 you will want to follow the signage for northbound Interstate 75 to Tampa but you will exit at the very next exit at Exit 229, Moccasin Wallow Road to Parrish.
Be sure to check out my adventures with the 2014 Day Out With Thomas at two railroad museums in two states over at EdwardRingwald.com!  That way, you can get yourself an idea of what a Day Out With Thomas is like.  In fact, HiT Entertainment – the proprietors of Thomas the Tank Engine including Day Out With Thomas – have plenty of great ideas so that you and your children can plan for an exciting Day Out With Thomas!

Day Out With Thomas 2013

Recently the Florida Railroad Museum proudly hosted a Day Out With Thomas for two weekends in March 2013.  As a proud member of the Florida Railroad Museum, I volunteered for the event over the two weekends performing a number of duties ranging from crowd control to checking tickets and issuing wristbands for the many people that attended.

After all, membership in the Florida Railroad Museum has a lot of benefits.  The one major benefit, free train rides on regular ride weekends, is an excellent justification for me to go out and about rather than spend all day at home and sitting on the couch or comfy chair watching TV or YouTube.
After all, volunteers are the lifeblood of the Florida Railroad Museum.  When there is a special event taking place such as a Day Out With Thomas, the museum does everything it can do to recruit volunteers from all walks of life, including this experienced Interstate 275 Florida roadgeek and railfan in training.

In fact, the museum gave us volunteers a free train ride on the last train of the day as a token of appreciation for our hard working and dedicated service over the two weekends the event was held.  While on the train, which was a ride to just south of Dickey Road in Manatee County and back to Parrish, I happened to enjoy the continuous Thomas and Friends music including the main Thomas theme; right after I disembarked from the train I went to the gift shop and bought me a CD called Thomas and Friends All Star Tracks; I was enjoying some Thomas tunes including Go Go Thomas, Roll Call (which is also the main Thomas theme), Misty Island Rescue, What Makes An Engine Happy and the others that were on the CD for the ride on northbound Interstate 75 through Tampa and back to Interstate 275 and St. Petersburg.

While I was in the gift shop, I noticed that the other Thomas and Friends CDs (not the one I bought) were on the Koch International label.  This rang a bell:  I have a 2 CD Avsenik Ensemble album on the same Koch International label in my increasingly expanding Slovene music collection.

Now I would like to share with you some photos that I took of the Day Out With Thomas event over the two weekends in March 2013 it was held at the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish:
 
Here’s a link to the set of photos that I have over at Flickr on my Flickr account, Interstate275Fla.  There you can view the photos and their descriptions if you so desire.

Sometimes I will use Google Picasa for photos on this blog if there is not too many.  As I took so many photos at the Day Out With Thomas event, I decided to use Flickr as it has better photo gallery capabilities, but I am trying out a photo gallery program for EdwardRingwald.com as described below.
Have you also visited my new Florida Railroad Museum page over at my website?  You ought to come by and check it out – in fact, I have a gallery of photos which I have organized using a new photo gallery software called Galleria.  I am still trying to get the captions to show up despite coding them properly in the HTML code, so just bear with me as I continue to introduce newer web design related features in order to make EdwardRingwald.com a better website.

For more information on the Florida Railroad Museum, head on over to their website.  There you can get the latest information on the regular train rides plus the themed train rides that are scheduled throughout the year, including the annual Day Out With Thomas event.

What I enjoyed very much is the smiles I have seen on the children when they enter the event, especially when I hand them a map that features Thomas prominently in the center.  Believe me, it was the best two weekends in March 2013 that I will remember.