Friday, June 17, 2011

A Western View: Sonoma's Traintown

Welcome to the first official A Western View, a collection of features on well known and not so well known Western US theme park attractions. We're going to start our first feature with a park that's very dear to my heart. Growing up in California's Wine Country, I was taken many times by my Grandma to Sonoma's Traintown. Back then, the park was a 10 acre wooded patch of land in the city of Sonoma with an amazing scale railroad that traversed throughout. The only other features of the park were a petting zoo that the train stopped at mid journey and full sized rail cars that you could explore and featured old arcade games.

The park's storage facility for their scale engines.

Today the park's train system is still very much intact and operational but the park has upped the ante with other rides like a carousel, ferris wheel, kiddie coaster and more.

The park is really well tended and lushly landscaped. I noticed that whenever the employees are not operating a ride, they were cleaning cobwebs and sweeping the rides. Something you don't see often at big corporately owned parks.

The Park's train making its way through the park.

Everything in the park is done to scale including the great bridges the train goes over.

It's obvious that the park's train system is still very much the main attraction as parents and kids flock to the train first thing to take their journey around the park. Everyone's favorite part is of course the cute miniature town the train stops at that features a petting zoo.

In 2001 the park decided it wanted to expand the park's offerings by adding more rides to the park. The credit to be had by coaster enthusiast visiting is a Dragon, a Wisdom Rides "Orient Express" kiddie coaster.

The park's kiddie plane ride features snoopy silhouettes all around it. For those of you unfamiliar with Sonoma County in California, not only is it famous for wines (some would says it's even better than Napa) but it was also the place that Charles Schultz, the creator of Peanuts, called home. I had the pleasure of meeting him when I was young and it's really no wonder why the area still honors him all over the place today.

Traintown isn't exactly a destination park, but if you happen to be in Northern California it's a beautiful attraction to check out and spend a couple hours.