By David Tennyson
For many people “Thomas the Tank Engine” was just a cartoon character, but its powers were realized when research conducted by the National Autistic Society discovered that children with autism respond more strongly to Thomas the Tank Engine than any other cartoon character. Many parents even reported this interest in Thomas the Tank Engine proved to be a point of entry into the world of communication and learning for their autistic child, encouraging them to look through books, try computer games and explore many other things. Another survey found that Thomas was the favorite toy of children with autism, as reported by their parents.
Benet Middleton from the National Autistic Society explained: “Parents feel that the Thomas the Tank engine character has played a vital role in the early learning and development of many children who have autism partly due to the clear facial expressions and simple storylines.”
Do you have a kid with autism or special sensory needs? It may be a great idea to take them to one of the nation’s top model train destinations.
Below is a list of the top 5 model train museums in the United States. Don’t forget to bring binoculars to have a better experience!
1. Northlandz Miniature Wonderland:
Northlandz, with the help of Inclusion Festival has recently created a sensory supportive relaxation area. This Inclusion Zone has comfortable seating, a variety of soothing textures, weighted blankets, noise canceling headphones and other sensory toys for all ages and abilities.
Guinness book of world record title holder for being the world`s largest miniature railroad, it is a great place to visit for everyone. With roughly a mile-long walk through different exhibits, it takes you to the journey of another world. You will see 8 miles of railroad track with 100+ model trains passing through different exhibits that showcase life-like buildings, structures, waterways, bridges and much more in a miniature form. With so many other attractions including a doll’s house, an art gallery, and a playing area, the whole family will love this place.
Address: 495 U.S. Route 202, Flemington, NJ 08882
2. Sierra Pacific Lines:
One of the largest model railroads in the USA, Sierra Pacific lines covers more than 5,000 square feet of display. This exceptionally detailed version was all laid out by hand. Operated by the Pasadena Model Rail Road club, it takes around fifteen minutes to walk from start to finish. This HO scale model train display features many exhibits like canyons, bridges, cities, deserts, waterways, mountains, industrial areas, and more.
Address: Pasadena Model Railroad Club, 5458, Alhambra Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90032