This past weekend we had the opportunity to visit Edaville USA! For starters let me tell you a little about the history of this “magical place” as my boys call it.
Ellis D. Atwood gave this historic amusement park its name, his initials (E.D.A). He started this railroad by purchasing most of the surviving equipment from Maine’s once expansive network of two-foot gauge rail’s and had them trucked south to Carver, Massachusetts. This was the making of Edaville Railroad.In Maine, these two-foot gauge rails covered several sections of the state starting in the late 1800’s. These short line railroads fell prey to the depression and competition from automobiles. With the railroads shutting down, Ellis D. Atwood began purchasing the remaining rails in 1946 and 1947 and had it trucked to cranberry bogs of Carver, Mass.Atwood had a plan, he built a railroad 5 ½ miles long around his 1,800 acre plantation of cranberries. He used the trains to service his bogs as well as hauling paying customers through the plantation for sightseeing. This operation evolved into a “Family Fun Park”; with an emphasis on carnival type rides, bright lights and extravagant Christmas displays. Edaville Railroad became a local institution, and drew visitors from far and wide.Jon Delli Priscoli purchased Edaville and it’s 250 acres in 2002. There have been many exciting changes under his ownership including, including the reconfiguration of the entire rail course and the incorporation of vintage amusement rides such as an antique carousel and an illuminated Ferris Wheel. Other attractions throughout the year include, “Day Out With Thomas™” a family event centered around the Thomas the Tank Engine™ classic storybook; the National Cranberry Festival, which features a train ride through the fall cranberry harvest; and the Christmas Festival of Lights offering rides through brilliantly lit displays in the winter.
We arrived after a 1 hour trip from our home. Jose and I were tired, but the boys were excited and ready to explore, especially after seeing the train going past the entrance as we were parking. It was a warm afternoon for it being October and all we needed to add to the boy’s outfits later on in the visit was a sweat shirt because it was a bit windy.
One of the biggest attractions at Edaville USA, of course, is the train ride. It takes about 10 minutes to complete the 2.5 mile loop and with its comfortable bench seats and huge glass windows, you get a relaxed setting and an awe-inspiring view while watching the trees and bogs go by in the comfort of the coaches. Unlimited rides are included, but to avoid the crowds, be sure to go early for the shortest wait.
Of course, Edaville USA also has the standard amusement park feel, including food carts and games (with great prizes), cranberry world, indoor play area, as well as a beautiful gift shop, and model trains. They also have two Thomas tables set up with the usual trains, tracks and destinations. And as many of you with Thomas-loving children know, your kids love to play with other train tables more than their own! So it’s not hard to believe that we had a difficult time getting the boys away from the tables and back out into the park .
There are 14 amusement rides for the kids to choose from. Some rides are for the littlest children, in the 2-4 year old range, and include a miniature train, flying turtles, and a bumpy caterpillar. Other rides are geared toward the 4-10 year old range, including high-flying planes (which was the boys’ favorite amusement ride, twirling drums, soaring elephants, and spinning spaceships. A few rides are even reserved for the older children (and some brave adults ). There is also an antique carousel and a Ferris wheel (with an amazing view). A couple of the kiddie rides will accommodate adults as well. Jose had the privilege of riding with the boys on a few; I’m pretty sure he may have had as much fun as they did! We also really enjoyed the fishing! All in all, we felt that the selection of rides, as well as the fun factor helped to make this a wonderful family outing.
Our family had a fantastic time during our 3 hour visit. The boys enjoyed many of the amusement rides as well as riding the train, playing with the train tables and looking around the gift shop. They won a prize playing an amusement type game, studied the old steam trains and made a lot of happy memories to last a lifetime. Children of all ages will enjoy this wonderful park, but I feel that children 3-12 would most enjoy everything Edaville USA has to offer.
Edaville Railroad is located in Carver, Massachusetts and has varying hours during their operating season. Here is their 2013 Calendar & Hours. Friday-Sunday are the busiest days, so if you’re looking for maximum enjoyment and minimal crowds, I recommend visiting on a weekday or as soon as the park opens. Admission varies depending on the event going on, so here is their Event Schedule and Pricing. Be sure to print your $5 off coupon (see coupon for valid dates) for their Pumpkins Aglow Event happening 10/9/13-10/27/13.
The Park closes for the season on January 1st 2014. If you live in the area or are lucky enough to be visiting New England, why not make some happy memories at this iconic amusement park that so many of us know and love.