My family arrived bright and early to the Boston Mill Train Station on Friday. My 3- and 5-year-olds were ready to experience Thomas the Tank in real life based on their “as seen on TV” perceptions. My husband, Hank, and I were more interested to see what this experience would mean to the other riders. None of us left disappointed.
It was clear that this was a special treat for all of our patients and their families. For many, this extravagant day of fun wouldn’t have been possible without the generous donation of 700 tickets from the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Many of the families I met had several special needs kids, and at $18 a rider, this wonderful journey just wouldn’t have been a possibility.
The train ride was a blast, but there was so much more to do than the 35–minute rail ride. Some of the more popular hands-on activities for the kids included inflatables to bounce on and tables with miniature trains to touch. The national park had a display where the kids got to see and touch all sorts of animal pelts, including beavers, skunks and coyotes. All the bells and whistles that one associates with trains were ready for little hands to experience.
The best part for me was seeing our patient families out of the hospital environment, together and smiling. I kept thinking of the bumpy journey so many of them have experienced. Thomas provided us all with a smooth and uneventful ride. And for many of us, that was just what the doctor ordered.