PLEASE NOTE: This post is from 2014 and while it should give you a great overview of the experience, please be sure to check The CT Trolley Museum website for the most up-to-date information, especially about things like dates, hours and pricing.
So this is a big weekend for Halloween events. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out our full list of 2014 Family-Friendly Halloween events so you don’t miss out on any of the fun!
One of the events that continues this weekend is the Trolley Rides to the Pumpkin Patch at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, CT. You may have heard of their downright frightening “Rails to the Darkside” annual Halloween event, but the Trolley Museum also has this kinder, gentler daytime trolley ride for tots. And I was so excited to finally get a chance to check out this wonderful event last weekend.
Two years ago, Mandy and I ventured to the Trolley Museum for their holiday events. The kids loved the ride on the trolley and all the festive activities, so I was pretty sure that the Halloween event was going to be a winner too.
Lucky for me, my brother was visiting us this weekend, so we had an extra set of eyes (and arms) to help corral the kiddos. Having a 3:2 adult to kid ratio always makes things so much more pleasant, don’t you think?
We arrived just after 11:00 am on Saturday, and there was plenty of parking in their large lot.
Because we had been to their winter event, we knew that the first stop would be the gift shop where we could purchase tickets.
Admission includes wristbands for everyone, tickets for the kids to get pumpkins out in the pumpkin patch (adults don’t get pumpkins), and goody bags for the kids with a few little trinkets inside (like stickers). Although the bags themselves would make good trick-or-treating bags.
There are lots of fun things to explore inside the museum, but you’ll want to take your trolley ride first because one of the fun activities is pumpkin decorating and, well, that tends to work better if you’ve got a pumpkin 🙂
The trolley runs every half hour, and the roundtrip (including time at the pumpkin patch) is about 30 minutes. One of the nice things is that you can actually ride the trolley as many times as you want during your visit. Now, as I mentioned above, you will get tickets for your pumpkins, so you’ll only get to pick them once (and don’t forget, only kids get tickets for pumpkins–adults don’t get one, which is fine by me since we’ve got about 15 pumpkins right now and I don’t need any more. Ha!)
The trolley cruises along at about, oh, 25 miles an hour, so it’s a nice, leisurely ride and you can take in some of the pretty foliage (if there is any left after these crazy rain storms, that is). I will warn you that it toots its whistle fairly frequently, so if you’ve got a little one who is freaked out by loud noises (like Boo), you might want to give them a heads up.
This is also a good opportunity to take some adorable pictures. Like this one:
And this one:
Fun fact: this is actually my second picture on this trolley with the little guy. Here’s the first one:
Okay, okay. I know that’s just hubby and me with Boo in that photo. But I had just found out I was pregnant when we visited the Trolley Museum for their Winterfest activities back in 2012. So technically, the little guy has been here before 🙂
When we arrived at the pumpkin patch, we all got off and headed out into the field filled with pumpkins. You’ll probably want to take all your things with you because the trolley may go up the track and turn around before coming back to pick you up (that was our experience). I’m pretty sure it is the same trolley that you ride back on, but it will be a few minutes before it returns. Just don’t want anyone to panic when they see the trolley take off with their diaper bag 🙂
You’ll have 10-15 minutes out here, so no need to rush. Take your time. Search for the perfect pumpkin. Pose for some photos. (Finally! Boo let me take a picture with him where he’s not hiding his face!)
When the trolley comes back, you can head for the platform. As you get on the trolley they will check your tickets to make sure you’re only bringing the appropriate number of pumpkins with you. Those would be the tickets you got when you purchased admission. Don’t be like me and shove them into some dark recess of your giant diaper bag. Keep them handy.
Once you arrive back at the museum, you’ll want to head inside again. This time go straight back through the lobby and then through the open door. There, you’ll find a festively decorated area with face painting, temporary tatoos and a spot where you can creatively decorate your pumpkins with all kinds of fun stickers.
Here’s Boo’s pumpkin. Cute, right? He did that all by himself!
And this is the pumpkin that my brother and I decorated (you know, for the little guy). We had waaaay too much fun making this candy-sticker face. What is it about a visit with your siblings that makes you want to act like kids again? 🙂
After the decorating, hubby and uncle took the kids outside to play with some of the lawn games. There are also picnic tables there if you would like to bring a lunch or a snack.
There are some treats/snacks/drinks available for purchase in the gift shop as well.
Outside the gift shop, there is this cute little area with benches and some kids’ activities like a train table, puzzles, and a coloring table (complete with Halloween-themed coloring pages).
There’s also a small theater with a continuously playing movie. I think the movie may be more for adults as it is history-focused, but you never know what kids might find interesting.
Oh, and before I forget, there is a real restroom here! I know, I know. Only at OAAM do we get excited about restrooms. But you know, so many of these fall activities are porta-potty-only kind of events and have you ever tried to change a baby in a porta-potty? Yeah. Me neither. So anyway, there’s a restroom with a separate baby changing area all the way at the back. I didn’t take a picture of it because I thought taking photos in the restroom while people are using the restroom would cross that fine line between strange and creepy. But trust me. It’s there.
Unfortunately, it started to drizzle a little bit while we were hanging out on the lawn, so we decided to head out since it was getting close to the little guy’s nap time anyway.
Such a wonderful morning though! A historic trolley ride, some pumpkin patch fun and photo opps, and to top it all off a clever craft project that’s perfect for preschoolers. Now that’s what I call a treat 🙂
Hours & Admission:
This post from 2014 should give you a great overview of the experience, but please check The CT Trolley Museum website for any updates to details about things like hours and pricing.
**Trolley rides run every half hour on the half hour and last about 30 minutes**
On Halloween day (October 31, 2015) children under 12 in costume will receive 1/2 price admission!
- Stroller Friendly: YES. The museum and grounds are very stroller-friendly. You could probably take your stroller (folded up) on the trolley ride too if you had to, although you really won’t need it at the pumpkin patch. It is a VERY short walk from the trolley platform to the pumpkin patch. Better to leave it in your car (the parking lot is very close as well) and retrieve it after the ride if you need it.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: Hmmm. My “research” says ‘yes’ since hubby managed to bring a large Dunkin Donuts iced coffee with him to the pumpkin patch and no one seemed bothered by that. On the other hand, I don’t want to encourage you to take hot beverages on a bumpy trolley ride. I’m sure no one would mind you bringing your own coffee to the picnic area though.
- Restroom: YES. There is a restroom with a baby changing station inside the museum; there is no restroom option on the trolley or out at the pumpkin patch, however.
- Baby Changing Station: YES.
- Parking: YES. One large lot adjacent to the museum; parking is free.
- Food for Sale: YES. There are light snacks, treats, and beverages for sale in the gift shop.
- Outside Food Allowed: YES. Bring a picnic to enjoy before or after your trolley ride!
- Cash Required: NO. Major credit cards accepted.
- Dress Code: Nothing special, but if it’s been rainy, you might want to wear some rubber boots out to the pumpkin patch.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES.
- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT this private pre-school, elementary and middle school serves families from over 20 communities.
- Mandell JCC – The Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT, welcomes and serves families and individuals of all ages, stages, backgrounds and faiths. Our fitness, wellness and recreation, arts and culture, camp, early childhood education programs, classes, clubs and services are open to all. You Belong Here!
- NEW – Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford, CT
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