Parties, Pirates, and the Pumpkin Express…

We love to snorkel, kayak, zip line, etc…but sometimes you have to step back and just be a kid.  We have a 4 year-old grandson and a 6 year-old granddaughter who live in Iowa. We flew back to Iowa to celebrate Wyatt’s 4th birthday. He wanted Pirates and to eat at McDonalds.  So we set-up the party in the local McDonalds dining area.

Wyatt got a bike for his birthday, it took several people to help with his lessons.

We spent the next day, playing board games with the grandkids and Wyatt’s new toys.

Northwest of Des Moines is the town of Boone, home to the Boone Valley Scenic Railroad.  Every fall they have a Pumpkin Express train.  It is slightly pricey at $17.00 per person, but you do get a pumpkin, and we off-set the price by eating at Sam’s Club for lunch.  (Cheapest lunch around!!!)

On their website, they encourage everyone to wear costumes, we must have been the only people who read that, as we were the only adults who dressed up, but this just added to our adventure.

In the train station, there is a gift shop.  Wyatt found a train set to pass the time as we waited to board.


The train ride is about 35 minutes to the “pumpkin patch”.  It passes through the Iowa countryside. The kids were given activity books and crayons.  Wyatt just wanted to watch the scenery.  We went over the Bass Point Creek Bridge.  It is 156 feet high.  It was kind of cool to watch our shadow below.

Once at the pumpkin patch, we were given  15 minutes to pick out our pumpkins.

Back on the train, they handed out candy, and we settled in to enjoy the trip back.  You travel on a bridge over the Des Moines River, as well as pass the train graveyard.

We stopped at Sam’s Club for lunch, hot dogs and pizza. We also learned that it makes people nervous to have “ducks” walking around inside the store.  On the drive home, we enjoyed Pirate cookies that our daughter had  Jaarsma Bakery make.  Oh my word, they have awesome cookies.

It was a great week-end and we hated to leave.  Wyatt felt the same way, as he was very sad at the airport that we were leaving.


For future reference, the Boone Valley Scenic Railroad, does a similar train during the Christmas season.  They read a book that was written about the Boone train.  Santa walks through the train, and cookies and hot chocolate are served.  This would make a great future family adventure.

Categories: Entertainment, family

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