Trains, Trains, Everywhere

So, I picked up my grandson Miles this morning after an appointment, and we got into what he dubbed (for reasons unknown to me) my "super car," and set off to the train display at the Cincinnati Museum Center, in the Cinti. Historical Center and the Children's Museum. We took the pic above on our walk from the parking lot to the museum, the historical and beautiful Cincinnati Union Terminal train station.

The first train display we stopped and marveled at was a recreation of Cincinnati's downtown, circa 1940, complete with trains, riverboats, and of course beautifully authentic models of many buildings that still stand (and others I remember from my childhood). Surrounding this display were others of Union Terminal itself, Ivorydale (the sprawling Procter & Gamble plant on the north side), the Mount Adams and Clifton inclines, and more.

Another long stop was a flatboat re-creation which had removable wall planks, which Miles just loved...mostly the demolition stage of the process. He made Crappaw do most of the building part.

And then we finally got to the holiday train display, deep in the bowels of the children's museum (probably not a great metaphor, but I was surprised at how big the place was!).

There were many different train displays, featuring trains of varying scales, and all done well enough to send Miles and me into rapturous ecstasy and ecstatic rapture!

And lo and behold, there was also a nice big train table to play on, which occupied Miles for a good hour or so.

And there were other interactive train displays. In one, there were 6 or 8 buttons to push to control different functions in the plexiglas-encased village, like a switch or a rotating light. And another small display had a button that could be held down to make the train go or released to make it stop. Miles's favorite technique could best be described as stopgostopgostopgostopgo stopgostopgostopgostopgo stopgostopgostopgostopgo.

And that still wasn't all. There was a train for Miles to ride ON! Crappaw was too big to join him, but Miles was undeterred. He even got to sit in the engine of the three-car train and ring the bell! It was hard to tear ourselves away from it all, but we managed somehow, and on the way back home, Miles took a well-deserved nap before an also-well-deserved (and very late) lunch at McDonald's in Oxford.

A Bibliophile's Library Wish List

To follow up my post of Tuesday, listing eight favorite libraries I've visited or patronized, I thought I'd mention eight libraries I would love to visit, starting with the Abbey Library, St. Gallen, Switzerland, above.

Another would be the Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura, in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

And Trinity College LIbrary ("The Long Room"), Dublin, Ireland.

Melk Monastery Library in Melk, Austria.

The Rijkmuseum Library, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

And the second Austrian nominee, the Library of the Benedictine Monastery of Admont, Austria.

And, since I've already seen (but would nonetheless love to revisit) both the Library of Congress and the main branch of the New York Public Library, let's include the George Peabody Library, Baltimore, Maryland.

And last, but definitely not least, the Old British Reading Room at the British Museum, London, England.

A Bibliophile's Eight Favorite Libraries

I love books. Therefore, I love libraries. And everywhere I've lived, I've owned a library card...and used it well. So I thought I'd take a few moments to reflect and share on my favorite libraries, of all those I've visited (though I have not belonged to or borrowed from them all). I came up with eight. They are:

The Cincinnati Public Library, downtown branch, on Eighth Street (above). I grew up with this library. I knew it back when it was just a kid, back when I was just a kid, and my mom worked a mere block away. Now it's a whole city block, and it's wonderful.

The public library of Bloomfield, New Jersey (above). These were some of the best library years of my life, from 1987-1991, when my kids and I would visit this library almost every week. Oh, the fun we would have. We felt like robber barons leaving the library with a weekly treasure trove.

Lane Public Library, of Hamilton, Ohio. I have used the heck out of this fine library, with a fine website and convenient branches in Hamilton (the main branch, pictured above) and Oxford.

Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. I've only been there once or twice, and was too overwhelmed to do much more than gawk.

A few years ago, I visited Nashville to attend the National Pastors' Convention, and enjoyed several lengthy visits to this fine downtown library, just a block away from the convention center.

The lovely Robin and I took a walking tour of Nassau, Bahamas, a few years ago, and I was delighted that this stop was included: the public library of Nassau. While the library's collection is very old and very humble, the fact that it is housed in a barely converted ancient jailhouse added to its interest and charm.

The New York Public Library. I think I've only been here once, but the experience has stuck with me for more than twenty years now. It's awe-inspiring.

This is the only private library on my list, the library at Chatsworth, a grand English house that is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. I was here with my wife and kids in 1995, and it made me break the tenth commandment. But it was still fun.