A great attraction for trolley and railroad enthusiasts
Dec 3, 2010
Disclaimer: We didn't actually get to go inside the museum, we only toured the outdoor exhibits. Not exactly a National Park, but I thought this is the best community for this review.
My husband decided to take a day off on an October Friday and of course that was the coldest and wettest day of the entire month! Did we sit home in front of the fireplace, sipping hot chocolate? No... We decided to be daring and adventurous, we drove to Lowell, about twenty minutes from our house. Considering our toddler is obsessed with trains, we thought it would be appropriate to check out the National Street Car Museum. We were primarily interested in the outdoor display of a Boston & Maine Railroad #410 Engine.
I had no idea that free parking would be so tough to find in Lowell (wish the GPS would have been more helpful with that). After searching for about fifteen minutes, we parked right in what seemed the only few free spots right next to the National Historic Park headquarters on Kirk Street. This was on a rainy weekday with no tourists mind you. So then we took a five minute walk to the #410 display under our huge family umbrella and our toddler clad in her Tuffo Muddy Buddy.
When we finally got there I was pretty much freezing, but comfortable knowing my baby is warm. As I was taking the snapshot above, streetcar #966 pulled up on the tracks next to us. It sort of caught us by surprise because we didn't know there was an operational trolley as part of the museum. Imagine my daughter's excitement! Conveniently, the streetcar was making its last run of the day shortly before five o'clock. We didn't hesitate and hopped on to find we were the only ones there, that the ride would take us closer to our parking spot, and that it is completely free! The ride was short but satisfying. The cars on the road were stopped by the conductor to let the trolley pass. The rail line goes right in-between two public high school buildings. The conductor was very knowledgeable of the local history and gave a great tour.
All that made the freezing, rainy day a lot more bearable and now we didn't feel like we wasted our time driving there. On our way back we stopped at the Textile History Museum to use the public restrooms just before it closed. We browsed through the gift shop and decided we're definitely coming back here with older kids in our homeschooling endeavors.
I would definitely recommend this place for parents with children, especially those who love trains. It is a great day trip for anyone in the Boston area. It would make a good field trip for both public and homeschooled kids alike. Make sure you bring quarters for parking (priced same as in Boston, 0.25 for 15 minutes), or cash for a parking garage. There are plenty of area eateries nearby and even a bike route if you feel like taking a ride. Many other museums dot the area as well.
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About the reviewer
Anastasia B (EcoMama)
I am a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a friend, a Christ follower, an Interior Designer, a blog author, a cook, an artist, an eco-conscious consumer, a nature lover, … more
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