Attention! Anyone with little train lovers! Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store in St. Paul offers a FREE Story Time for kids several times a month. It’s led by Engineer Paul who’s on the locally produced show for kids called “The Choo Choo Bob Show.” The show airs on Saturday mornings at 9am on channel 45. I just heard about it and started watching it with the kids recently – It’s really a neat show for kids, with fun characters, engaging stories and special effects!
I took my kids, Heidi and Thor, to a story time at Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store (2050 Marshall Avenue, St. Paul) on Thor’s 2nd birthday a few weeks ago. I thought it would be a fun way to start out his special day! We got there right at 10am when story time began and it was packed! There were a lot of parents, grandparents and kids there – the seats were all taken so my kids and I sat on the floor by the door.
Engineer Paul came out right on time, blowing a real-sounding train whistle and getting all the kids excited for music and stories! He sang some songs, did some interactive activities with pictures, and read a train story. Everyone had a great time.
Unfortunately, midway through story time, Thor discovered the rest of the store…and wanted to explore it. No wonder – it’s 4000 square feet of toys and fun for train lovers of all ages! Heidi and Thor found many toys they wanted (I kept mental notes for Christmas), and in the back of the store, found some tables with train sets for little kids to play with. There were many kids playing there – most were from a birthday party taking place (another little boy was turning 2!). I saw two train-themed rooms for birthday parties and found out it’s $125 for a two-hour party room rental. It includes a cake and gift bags for up to 8 kids ($5 for each extra kid). (Visit their website for more info!)
I did buy a couple of small toys that the kids picked out, but will be going back before Christmas to buy some neat toys I found there that I haven’t seen before. Most were train or transportation related, including Thomas the Train toys (of course!), but many were “girl-themed” as well. There were many Melissa & Doug toys and other high quality toys that you don’t see at, say, Walmart and Target. The prices were a little higher than Walmart and Target toys but were appropriate because of the quality and uniqueness that you get.
The free story times at Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store are offered a few times each month on Tuesdays or Saturdays:
- Visit their website for times and details.
- Plan on parking on a neighboring street – I parked about a block away.
- Try to come early to get a good seat (I know, I know – that’s hard with kids! But it’s worth the effort!).
- Try to avoid bringing a stroller. There isn’t a lot of room for maneuvering a stroller around all the people, train sets and toys in the store. (If you must, bring a smaller-sized stroller.)
- Be prepared to do some store browsing afterward! Your kids will want to explore the whole store. (Trust me.)
Note for parents: There are several really nice, moving train sets toward the front of the store that little kids shouldn’t touch. They can break! Thor wanted to play with them (and steal the train cars off the tracks!), and I kept having to pull him away. Prepare accordingly.