Show your love. Hit the Facebook “like” button above. Thank you!
Thank you to the Essex Steam Train for providing our families with tickets to this event. All opinions are 100% my own.
Cut to the chase. Take me to the Momsense.
This past weekend, we got a chance to check out Essex Steam Train’s latest event, The Valley Railroad Circus Train & Big Top Show.
My niece was in town for a visit, so she joined me, my hubby, the twins and little Sweetheart. We were back to man-to-man defense for this outing. Woo hoo!
Now, the last time I visited the Essex Steam Train was for our outing in April to the Day Out with Thomas event. So you may find me doing a little comparison of the two events as I give you a tour.
What is different from the Day Out with Thomas event is that for the Circus Train, the train ride from the parking lot to the circus grounds is the main ride. So, whereas for the Thomas event the departure time on your ticket was the departure time from the train at the event (so you had to arrive extra early), for this event the departure time is from the parking area. So you don’t have to arrive super early. I would suggest getting there about 15-30 minutes before your train departs.
As you are making your way to the parking area, these signs will be there to guide you.
There was plenty of parking available in the lot and then we had just a short walk over to where the train departs.
If you are purchasing tickets the day of the event, the ticket booth is right next to the train entrance. There is also a shaded area with chairs if you arrive early and need to wait.
Our train arrived about 10 minutes before our departure time of 10:30. The passengers returning from the circus grounds got off before we boarded. The trains basically were running every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour.
The Ringmaster welcomed us and there were people available to help us load our stroller onto the train. I saw plenty of people with strollers in tow. The only thing to note is that the circus grounds are gravel and dirt, so the smaller the wheels of the stroller, the more difficult it might be to get around. But we saw strollers in every shape and size when we were there.
Once on board, we found our seats and got settled in for the train ride. The Ringmaster got to work getting us ready for the Big Top Show and handed out clown noses which kept the kids very entertained during the ride.
Once we arrived at the circus grounds, we were greeted by clowns and bubbles galore!
The tent was pretty empty when we arrived, but filled up quickly. There were drinks and snacks for sale inside the tent and a clown to keep us entertained.
Once the show started, my kids were sucked in (and so was I!) There was an aerial silk act performed by the “Aerial Diva Wendy Bell” along with some amazing balancing and juggling acts and a chair balancing act that about gave me a heart attack. I think my heart stopped as I watched him continue to add more and more chairs to his tower. Yikes!
The show lasted about 30-45 minutes (I forgot to check the time as we were leaving). Afterwards, some families stayed behind to get their picture taken with the performers, but we headed back outside to see what other entertainment was available.
As we exited the tent, our first stop was at the porta-potties. These were the only restroom facilities for the event (and in case you are looking for one, I did not see a baby changing table available).
After our brief restroom break, we continued onto the petting zoo area nearby. Circle K Farm in Connecticut had a wide variety of animals for the children to meet. Food for the animals was also available for purchase (bring your quarters for this one!)
Besides the Big Top Circus show, there were a few additional shows for the kids. Music and magic under one tent and the “Punch & Judy” puppet show under the other.
Food and beverages were available for purchase from several vendors.
Probably the best part of the whole event (at least from the standpoint of a couple of two-year-olds) was that they could watch the train passing by all day long.
When it was time for us to go home, I didn’t even have to deal with upset kids because “going home” just meant that we were riding the train again. Perfect!
The great thing about the circus train is that all the activities are included in the price of your ticket so my kids could ask over and over again to ride the same ride and I happily said “yes”.
I’m a much happier mom when I don’t spend the entire day saying “no”. Much happier.
The Essex Steam Train’s event The Valley Railroad Circus Train & Big Top Show, is running again this weekend and tickets are still available for purchase. See below for more details.
Are you headed to the Essex Steam Train’s Valley Railroad Circus Train & Big Top Show this weekend or did you already go? Any questions or tips to share? Let me know in the comments section below.
And again, thank you to the Essex Steam Train for providing our families with tickets to this event. All opinions are 100% my own.
Essex Steam Train
Event starts at The Lee Company parking area
Phone: (860) 767-0103
Main website: http://www.essexsteamtrain.com/
Hours & Admission:
July 20-21 and July 27-28
Ticket prices are $20 for ages 2 and up (taxes, service charges and fees may apply). Please note that tickets must be purchased for a specific train departure time.
Tips & Things to Bring:
- Tickets are available on site, but it is recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance (remember this for next year!). Click here for details.
- Tickets include the train ride to and from the circus grounds plus all the other rides and activities. Tickets do not include food or beverages, which may be purchased on site.
- Departures leave every 30 minutes beginning at 9:30 am and ending at 3:00 pm.
- A ticket must be purchased for a specific departure time.
- Return trains leave from the event every 30 minutes from 9:45 am until 5:00 pm.
- No specific return time needs to be selected when purchasing tickets.
- The Big Top Show seemed to be running every hour and a half. Pay attention for updates on the show, so you don’t miss the event! I would suggest arriving at least 15 minutes early to get a seat.
- The event is stroller-friendly, you can even bring your stroller on the train.
- A wearable baby carrier will be very handy for getting around with an infant.
- Bring cash for the food stands and quarters for purchasing food for the animals at the petting zoo.
- The ground was very dusty. If you wear flip-flops or sandals, your feet may be filthy by the end of the day.
- Whatever you decide, wear comfortable shoes. There is a lot of walking!
- Porta-potties are the only restrooms available. I did not see a baby changing station.
Meet Our Sponsors!
- Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool – Visit their newly renovated center in Glastonbury. Now enrolling infants, toddlers, preschoolers and pre-k children for their fall programs.
- Kathryn Deane Photography – Kathryn is a natural light photographer specializing in maternity, newborn, child, family, and senior portrait photography.
Are you interested in becoming an Out and About Mom sponsor? Click here for more info.
Want to keep up with all our Out and About Mom adventures?
Check back every Tuesday and Thursday as we dish up more Momsense for getting out and about with your little ones. Don’t have time to check back in? Let us send you an automatic notification of new posts straight to your email inbox by signing up here. Also, you can like us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest posts and get some extra tidbits we share only through those sites.
Want to keep up with all our Out and About Mom adventures?