New Hope Valley Railway opens a few weeks earlier this season so it can be part of the statewide North Carolina Science Festival.
The railway, which features seasonal rides on its steam and diesel engines, will open Sunday and feature a day of demonstrations and kids' activities, along with its regularly scheduled rides. Gates will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday at the train yard in Bonsal, N.C., which is 10 minutes south of Apex off U.S. 1.
The event will include train science related activities, including how a diesel motor turns a generator to create electricity; how train tracks work; and what's behind the workings of boilers and nozzles.
Activities for kids include several lightning bug activities, including a name the lightning bug contest and "get your glow on" jewelry making.
The lightning bug connection dates back to the 1980s when workers at the railway noticed a large number of fire flies and began referring to it as The Lightnin' Bug Route. This year, the railway took the connection one step further with a new Lil' Lightnin' Bug children's logo and mascot.
And, of course, there are the train rides. Diesel train rides will depart at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. and steam train rides at 12:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children. Purchase tickets online and learn more by visiting the website.
Tickets are on sale now. The rides are popular so it's always best to get your tickets early. The railway advises you get to the train yard at least 30 minutes before your desired departure time to make sure you get a seat. Also, be aware that these are open air rides and there are no bathrooms on the trains. The rides last for about an hour.