The North Carolina Transportation Museum is sharing themselves a little differently these days due to the Coronavirus, but it is still a great place to visit and support in the Town of Spencer, North Carolina.
The museum has closed all of its exhibit buildings to the public, but they have found a way for you to learn and enjoy the experience of the trains by walking the “Transportation Trail”!
The “Transportation Trail” is a one-mile outdoor walking tour that you can take to enjoy exhibits at the doors of the buildings. You’ll be able to enjoy steam and diesel locomotives, automotive and trucking exhibits, fire trucks, and activities for kids to do along the way. The trail goes in one direction and of course social distancing is recommended, along with masks.
Tickets can be purchased at a reduced rate of $3.00 a person for ages 3 and up while children ages 2 and under are free. You can go online here to purchase your tickets prior to arriving or you can visit Barber Junction and purchase tickets at the booth. Whichever method you choose, be sure to check in at Barber Junction before entering into the museum.
Keeping Kids Involved
While kids are not able to physically come inside the museum, they have brought the museum to the kids!
If a child comes to the “Transportation Trail” you can go online and print off the “I Spy Map” for kids! It gives them 14 items to look for while on the tour which helps keep them engaged on the walk!
There is also a fun kid area where they can play online games on the museum website. A lot of these activities are part of #NCLearnAtHome activities for kids.
Social media has been a great friend to the N.C Transportation Museum! I encourage you to take time to visit their Facebook page where you can find a plethora of information and videos.
One of their most popular videos currently is called “Mail by Rail”. As I watched the video I was amazed to see just how our mail delivery has changed over the years. Trains truly modernized mail delivery and travel.
When you visit their Facebook page, called “N.C. Transportation Museum” click on “videos” and you can find interesting and educational information on trains. Craft and Story Times are found in this space as well. Also take time to scroll down their home page to see what new and current activities are happening virtually. Be sure to “Like” their page to keep up with all new information.
You will also find the N.C. Transportation Museum on YouTube! If you visit that social media site be sure to “Like and Subscribe” so you can get notifications on all new videos as they post.
Having videos like these for the kids to watch on an iPad or a smart phone makes it a lot easier to hand those devices to the kids!
Things To Remember On Your Visit
While the tour is open to the public, please keep in mind that the public is required to comply with any mandates by the Governor. Meaning remembering your 3 W’s… wear a cloth face covering, wait 6 feet apart, and wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer. The museum does appreciate the public complying by covering their nose and mouth while visiting.
Certain things at the museum are still available and that includes touring the grounds on the trail, seeing locomotives & rail cars like the 611 Streamliner, antique and classic cars, trucks, and airplanes. You can also still shop in the Gift Station while you are there or you can shop online!
However, there are some areas that are closed at this time such as no train/turntable rides, all exhibit buildings, the children’s play area, and no picnic areas are open. Restrooms are open and are frequently cleaned and there are also vending machines available.
They Still Need YOU
As always the museum still needs your support either by ticket sales, donations, or through a membership that comes with extra perks such as free admission and free train ridges, advance opportunities to purchase tickets for events like THE POLAR EXPRESS (which I did a blog on last year… such a great event… click on this link and read the blog here), discounts on select events and programs, 10% discount on most items in the Gift Station, admission benefits at more than 300 museums through the Association of Science and Technology Centers Passport Program, a subscription to Shoptalk Magazine and recognition on the annual members list, and an invitation to the annual Members’ Day. Check out the affordable prices for the memberships on their webpage and join them today!
As always, I was excited to speak with Mark Brown, the Public Information Officer at the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer. Mark and I chatted about all the wonderful things that the museum is providing during these trying times to keep the public engaged with them and to help educate both children and adults. When talking about the “Transportation Tour” Mark shared his thoughts with me saying, “The Train Trail is a great opportunity to visit the site in a limited way with fresh air, exercise, and with great sights to see”! I have to agree with him. I drive through Spencer quite frequently and I always enjoy seeing what trains or trucks are on display out front. The museum is a wonderful place for families to learn and make lots of memories! Take time to visit them soon… you’ll be glad you did!
The N.C. Transportation Museum is located at 1 Samuel Spencer Drive, Spencer, North Carolina 28159 and you can call them at 704-636-2889 or visit them at www.nctrans.org.
The museum is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and Sunday 12-5 p.m.