Choo Choo! I’ve always found toy trains captivating. So, I was fascinated to find out that thanks to a group of passionate hobbyists it was possible to actually take a ride on a toy train. How cool is that?!
On the third weekend of the month from May through September, members of the Great Lakes Live Steamers club gather at Kiwanis Park in the southeastern Michigan community of Southgate to provide rides on 1/8 scale model locomotives. During these Saturdays and Sundays from Noon to 4pm, weather permitting, anyone who stops by can hitch a ride along the track loop that the Great Lakes Live Steamers have set up at the park. What a great way to spend an out of the ordinary afternoon that is sure to amaze children and bring out the kid at heart side of any adult!
The folks putting on this event are all volunteers who donate their time and equipment in order to share their passion of trains and put smiles on peoples’ faces. While they don’t charge for rides they do ask for whatever donation you can afford to give while visiting them to help keep this great program going. Donations collected during rides are used exclusively by this non-profit group for the building and upkeep of the trains, tracks and other equipment used in providing this fun experience.
If riding a life-size toy train alone wasn’t an awesome enough of an experience, the Great Lakes Live Steamers take it up a notch for the holidays. For Halloween, the park is decorated for a weekend in October to provide spook-tacular after-dusk train rides as giant spider webs hang over tracks that are surrounded by giant jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, skulls, and other illuminated decorations. Kiwanis Park is transformed into a winter wonderland the first weekend of December as the trains traverse through the dark while passengers enjoy passing by colorful Christmas light displays. From 6 – 9 pm on Saturday and Sunday during this weekend, the Great Lakes Live Steamers transport people to the North Pole where at the end of the ride they can visit and get a picture with Santa Claus.
If you are in the Metro Detroit area, don’t miss out on the unique opportunity to ride on a life-sized toy train. It is sure to be a fun time that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face! For more information about the Great Lakes Live Steamers and a list of dates for their upcoming train rides, head over to greatlakeslivesteamers.org. To be assured that the trains are running on scheduled dates before heading over to the park, call 734-717-7920 for a confirmation message that the day’s event hasn’t been cancelled.All aboard … for a great time on a Great Lakes Live Steamers train ride!