Finding kid-friendly train destinations in the Chicago area
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Thursday, August 2, 2012
More Wheaton (and Glen Ellen): Cosley Zoo and 2 Toots
We just can't get enough Wheaton this week. Earlier in the week we visited the DuPage County Historical Society for a peek at their model railroad. Wednesday night found us in the area again in need of dinner, so we stopped at the ever popular 2 Toots in nearby Glen Ellyn. Today, in an effort to prove to my daughter that kids can have other interests, we went to see the animals at Wheaton's Cosley Zoo. Turns out her favorite part there was the caboose. Just can't fight the train love.
A past meal at 2 Toots during Christmastime
2 Toots is probably the favorite restaurant of most small railroad aficionados in the area. The concept is simple but well executed: food is delivered via model train. Guests can sit at the counter or at booths -- all seats are along the track. While waiting for the meal to come out of the kitchen and around the bend, there is plenty of railroad decor to study, a Thomas video to watch, and Metra trains passing just outside. It's impossible to have a conversation with kids at 2 Toots beyond, "Look at that!" but it's one of the few places that manages to keep busy bodies in their seats until the end of the meal. The joy of this place for Mom and Dad (and other grownups) is that the food isn't an afterthought. 2 Toots knows how to make a good meal. It's standard dinner fair, but very satisfactory.
Cosley Zoo's caboose
Just a few miles away, Wheaton's Cosley Zoo offers a very manageable outing for families with preschoolers. It's a small zoo with a duck pond, farm animals and wildlife native to the area. Within the zoo's bright red caboose is an exhibit about Illinois' natural world. The gift shop, cafe and restrooms are located "across the tracks" in a what was once Wheaton's first train station. It's just a cute place to visit.