The Plan: Being that a straight train ride was out of the question this birthday we settled for the next best thing. The train ride at the zoo. It's about a 30 minute ride which I though would fulfill this boys need for a train ride. When we decided to go to the zoo my first idea was 1,2,3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle. Animals and trains combined in one perfect package. I Spoke to my MIL and she mentioned doing a toddler friendly scavenger hunt where they identify a few animals and get treats along the way. BRILLIANT! Here is my interpretation of that.
1. I looked up the type of animals that were at the Oregon zoo that matched the animals in the book. I printed pictures of these animal (polar bear, lorikeet, asian elephant) and lastly the picture of the train that we would we riding at the end. **confession** I forgot these at home but I bought postcard at the zoo gift shop that worked just as good. These would be the 1,2,3, animals that we were on the look out for.
2. The gift bags: Each time we would find the animal I planned to give them a goodie bag. I wanted easy things and since it was just B and one friend my budget was a bit more than if a had a party of 5+ kids. (also a MIL tip I like, only invite the amount of kids of the age your child is turning it makes things a bit easier *ex. if they are turning 4 I would have no more than 4 kids including the birthday boy at the party.)
The gift bags were no more than sandwich bags with sticker of trains amd animals that I combined to look like the animals were riding the train.
The first bag had a few snacks. We went to the zoo right after nap I knew that if we didn't feed them this would not be a happy trip (not pictured a water bottle) .
The second bag was a Little People elephant.
The third bag had a few stickers and a Thomas whistle (not pictures a train conductor hat for our friend) B has one that is a staple in his wardrobe :)
There were two baby sibling along for the ride and I wanted to give them something too. An organic baby food pouch, a baggie of puffs and a stroller book was their treat
Lastly when we got on the train they were given a larger gift bag to put their loot in as well as a copy of 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo
for our guest and Thomas and the Hide and Seek Animals (Thomas & Friends)
3. How it played out. It could not have been a better day. We didn't make it to see the elephants so we combined one of the bags but other than that the kids were so thrilled each time they "found" the bags (husband would walk ahead of us and conveniently place them in front of where we were heading.
Lastly the train ride was the highlight of the event for our birthday boy! He even sat in a seat in front of us all by himself most of the trip. He sure is growing up fast! He imitated the noises and laughed every time the whistle would blow. I could not be more happy with the results and judging by that big smile I think he was too.