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Durham Amtrak Station
What it is: About a month ago, we celebrated National Train Day and there were lots of special events at train stations all over. This got us thinking, and we went out to have a little adventure on our own. Downtown has a train station - in fact, Durham started as a humble train depot! - and even if you're not traveling, it's a fun stop for little boys and girls that like trains. The Durham Amtrak Station has trains that come through and stop six times a day: 7:17am, 9:42am, 12:17pm, 2:33pm, 5:24pm, and 7:48pm (as of this post in June 2012).
My son and I stopped by to watch the 9:42 train after we dropped of my older son at preschool. e coasted in to their back parking lot right off of Duke Street just a few minutes before the train pulled in. You could easily see over the wrought iron fence that separated us from the ticketed passengers. We pulled in and got out to watch the action. We watched the passengers, including a field trip from a local elementary heading to Raleigh (what a cool field trip!). Then we heard the whistle. The train pulled in, dropped off its passengers, sat around for a few minutes, boarded the other passengers, and then chugged away. My son was mesmerized. He loved watching all of it, but got a bit concerned when all the people disappeared into the train. He was relieved when I told them that it was like a car inside, and they were all just fine, just sitting inside the train.
It was a quick stop, but just across Duke Street from the parking lot is Parker and Otis! So, after our train watching we headed across the street and had a delicious snack there. What a great way to spend the morning! In looking at the schedules, our next step is to actually get tickets and ride the train. We're currently plotting a morning train adventure trip to Raleigh to check out some of the museums.
What we liked: It was so easy to pull in the parking lot and watch the train for a quick diversion. Kids love trains, and it's great for them to have a chance to watch them. Plus, if you actually do choose to ride the train, tickets are fairly inexpensive at under $10. We also loved how close it was to Parker and Otis and Brightleaf Square. One idea is to watch the 5:42 train pull in and then head over to one of those places for dinner.
What we would change: It is a quick stop, so if you're not riding the train, you probably want to combine that stop with another one.
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