In the spirit of fun and free, my six year-old and I decided to give the train-spotting scavenger hunt in downtown Madison a try. We took the page of clues, our walking shoes and sunglasses and hit the pavement! Trains On Main is a free, fun, and family-friendly activity to do outside.
How Train On Main Works
I was a little worried that Dax would be too young for this activity, but the questions were easy enough for him to figure out with just a little help from me. I first read each question as it’s written and then I asked one or two more questions to help him figure out what we were looking for. He caught on quickly and had so much fun.
This would be great for older kiddos as well. I let Dax write our answers on the worksheet, and we took a picture at each of the trains. He had the most fun trying to spot the train at each location, and he found each of them all by himself (some are kind of tricky!). Then, I let him turn in the worksheet at the Chamber office; he got his picture taken there and chose his prize.
This year, there are eight bronze trains to find. Find all eight, take your worksheet to the Madison Chamber of Commerce (located in the YMCA building), and claim your prize. They have a variety of prizes to choose from, all train-themed. Trains on Main is a collaborative effort with the Madison Chamber of Commerce, City of Madison, Madison Station Preservation Historical Society and the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau. For more information, visit trainsonmain.com.
We’ve got a few tips to consider before you head out to do Trains On Main!
Go mid-day when the shops are open. I made the mistake of assuming this would take a long time, but it didn’t. We went too early and some of the stores weren’t open yet. This activity is available to do any time, seven days a week, but it’s much more enjoyable if you take time to go into the shops and browse around.
Instead of completing the worksheet in 20 minutes, take an hour or so and enjoy the downtown area. You and your kids will enjoy the eclectic stores and restaurants, and the shop owners greeted us and gave us encouragement with our search. Stop and have lunch or a snack – I recommend the gelato at the sweet shop!
Go as a group & be prepared to walk. This activity would be much for fun if done in a group! Let the kids work together to figure out the clues and see who can spot each train first. And if you have little ones, bring a stroller or wagon. You’ll have to cross the street at least twice, and you’ll have to walk all the way down Main Street and all the way down Front Street if you want to find all the trains. It actually isn’t a far walk, distance-wise, but if I had toddlers with me, it would easier with a stroller or wagon, especially with the cars coming and going.
One train isn’t located near the others. If you want to find all eight, you’ll probably need to drive up the road a short distance. I’m told there are plans to add more trains in the years to come!
Visit the website first. You’ll see what the trains look like and even how they are made, and you can download your worksheet of clues and print it off before you set out on this adventure.