For Minnesotan Kids: Train Rides (Interview with the North Shore Scenic Railroad in Duluth)

The search for new toy alternative gift ideas lead us to creating a series of interviews with creators and providers of such gifts For Minnesotan Kids. We are excited and honored to have North Shore Scenic Railroad as the first guest of this series.

There is something magical about train rides and you don't have to necessarily be a Thomas fan to enjoy being on board of a train. If you want to be a cool parent, aunt/uncle or grandparent and offer an unique experience to the children in your life, you may consider taking them to Duluth for a one-of-a-kind train ride.

The North Shore Scenic Railroad offers daily excursions as well as special ones like Princess Tea-Time Express or Thomas the Engine. For more details you can follow them online on Facebook or Twitter.

Q: No doubt Thomas the Engine has many fans among kids but what makes the "Day out with Thomas" ride memorable?

A: I've watched thousands of kids come through to ride with Thomas, and each time it's amazing to watch them when they see Thomas for the first time. Their eyes are locked onto him from the second they walk in, and you can see their amazement and almost validated that he is real! I've watched some children start tearing up from happiness and excitement when they see him. It's an amazing thing I never knew was possible - kids just love Thomas and the chance to spend the day with him (along with their families) is a special thing to watch. Meanwhile everyone gets (included) admission to the Depot museums as well - so it is not just a "for fun" thing to do, there is plenty of educational activities to do. My favorite thing is watching grandparents playing with the grandkids aside some of our most historic items in the museum - its truly special to watch the generations spanned and somehow gives some answers to this human experiment we're all in.

Q: When will Thomas return to Duluth this year and when do tickets go on sale?

A: Tickets are on sale now, for when Thomas returns July 31st and the first two weekends in August, 2015. We operate Friday-Sunday for two weekends, and trains do fill up quick. Tickets can be purchased at

Q: While the Thomas ride is more boy oriented, the Princess Tea-Time Express is definitely a girl ride. What can little Princesses expect on this ride?

A: I'd say Thomas the Tank Engine is for both genders, but you're right, as for some reason trains in general seem to be a little more of a boy thing. No idea why. This is why events like the Princess Tea-Time Express are fun, as it is a chance for the 'girls to rule the railroad' for a day, as princesses from many kingdoms descend on our railroad to enjoy tea-time on the train. All of the royalty are treated to lots of snacks and sip juice while they enjoy the train ride and mingle with prince and princesses we have on the train. Last year was our first year of this event and it was a smashing success.

Q: Are there other kid-friendly rides offered by the North Shore Scenic Railroad throughout the year?

A: Almost all of the train excursions of the North Shore Scenic Railroad are family friendly as trains make great places for families to be together and create experiences together. We operate 7 days a week form May through October, with many different excursion options for all ages. Parents in particular love the Wine Tasting Trains and Dinner Trains.