Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Toy Museum’

Toys and Trains for All Generations

Kruger Street Museum

Kruger Street Museum in Wheeling, WV

All of us are children at heart. Find the child within you by visiting the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum, a hidden gem in Wheeling, WV. Discover toys from your childhood as well as multitudes of model trains.

A one hundred-year-old Victorian schoolhouse, Kruger Street School on the edge of Wheeling, WV, has been converted into a haven of toys from years gone by. With two floors containing ten rooms of toys, the child in you will want to explore for hours.

This lifetime dream of a toy museum for father and son, Allan Robert and Allan Raymond Miller, came true back in 1998. The vision began with a collection of Lionel trains, and the Millers’ thoughts and plans expanded to the present day museum.

Can you find the dinosaur hidden in the HO-Gauge Train Display?

Can you find the dinosaur hidden in the HO-Gauge Train Display?

Upstairs, trains fill several rooms and all offer interactive buttons so you can be a railroad engineer for a short time. While the HO-Gauge Train set, with dinosaurs hidden within, is a major attraction, there are several layouts on display. One attractive display uses local business names on stores and train cars. Names like Riesbeck’s, Coleman’s, Bleifus Tires, and Wes Banco draw viewers’ attention.

 

Interactive Slow Car Race Tracks

Interactive Slot Car Race Tracks

A slot car room gives opportunity to participate in driving the track, and is a favorite of many youngsters. Even this gypsy had to give it a try. Every room contains something children can play, as well as chairs for parents to sit and watch. Perhaps you will even meet Loo, the cat, who wanders freely while enjoying encounters with visitors.

K-Land Amusement Park

K-Land Amusement Park

The present curator, James Schulte, enjoys seeing entire families bond wth new memories as they discuss their favorite toys. Schulte also constructed the rides in a room called K-Land Amusement Park, from his own creative designs using the K’NEX building system. There you will find a ferris wheel, old-fashioned swings, and roller coaster that work at the push of a button.

Popular Pinball Machine

Popular Pinball Machine

Downstairs an old-fashioned Nickelodeon plays tunes for a quarter, while at the other end of the lobby you can play a vintage pinball machine, the most popular game here. This gives children a chance to experience fun before video games. It is a favorite of all generations with a long line quite often waiting for a chance to play.

The Game Room contains a mixture of traditional games from the 1900s, such as Candy Land, Rubik’s Cube  and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, a long ago favorite. A large selection of games are available to actually play such as foozball, checkers, blocks, and dominos.

Dollhouses from floor to ceiling

Dollhouses from floor to ceiling

Dollhouses and many dolls, including Barbies, Raggedy Ann and Andy, and Dippity Flip Flop, entertain the young ladies. Packed from floor to ceiling, dollhouses of all eras, Barbie cars, and several doll collections are on display.

For the 17th year, the Marx Convention will be held mid-June at the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum. Over a hundred tables display Marx toys, but the biggest attraction is the group of former enthusiastic Marx employees, who have stories to tell regarding their part in the toy making.

1890's Tut Tut Car - oldest toy at the museum

1890’s Tut Tut Car – oldest toy at the museum

Stop by their Gift Shop, which has been described as one big toy box, to take home a lasting memory. A special section features glassware from Wilkerson’s Glass in Moundsville, WV. The museum is open every day from 9- 4 in June – December. During January – May, they’re only open on weekends, except for special arranged tours.

Relive your childhood memories at Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum sometime soon, when you can spend the day.  So many toys create a wonderland for the young at heart.

Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum can easily be reached just off I-70 in Wheeling, WV at Exit 4, Elm Grove. Take a right on Route 40, then go straight through the intersection to Kruger Street, with the museum on the right hand side. The sign is easily spotted.

Toy and Plastic Brick Museum “Unofficial LEGO Museum”

The sign out front says "Unofficial Lego Museum".

The sign out front says “Unofficial Lego Museum”.

Building blocks have been a favorite gift for many years. That tradition continues today with evolvement of blocks from wooden to plastic, including animation possibilities.

An active imagination can create almost anything from Lego plastic bricks. Dan Brown, museum curator at the Toy and Plastic Brick Museum, displays proof of that.  He has collected enough Lego blocks to earn the museum the title of “Largest Personal Collection of Lego Blocks in the World”. There’s no doubt about that fact as Dan has over four million Lego blocks…a number  that increases almost daily.

This Toy Museum is for all those who enjoy the world of Lego art- young and old alike. The name Lego actually comes from a contraction of two Danish words: leg godl, translated “play well.”  Lego began as a builder of wooden toys. Then in 1937 Ole Kirk Christiansen began making plastic blocks.

Plastic Brick Museum Sign in front of building.

Plastic Brick Museum Sign in front of old school building.

You can’t judge a book, or a building, by its cover, as surprise after surprise waits inside this old school. The former Gravel Hill Middle School in Bellaire, Ohio has three floors of amazing suprises, which all involve Lego blocks!  Since there wasn’t enough room here for Dan, he bought another local school to store his spare parts. Dan has a great sense of humor as he hoards Legos for future use. While shaking his head, Dan describes himself as “a crazy guy who wanted to retire and open a Lego Museum in Bellaire, Ohio!”

"The Vault" contains original Monopoly set in gold.

“The Vault” contains original Monopoly set in gold.

When entering the main lobby on the second floor, amid all the Lego creations, a large display case called “The Vault” catches the eye. This was purchased from Disneyland and features a real gold 2 x 4 brick and an original gold Monopoly set. Throughout the museum, items from all over the world appear…most of them being Legos!

Lego Mona Lisa with Lego artist giving a final touch.

Lego Mona Lisa with Lego artist giving a final touch.

Lego creations of Mt Rushmore and Mona Lisa also add interest. Mona Lisa has a small Lego figure painting the finishing touches on that portrait. Major creations, like these murals, have been glued together to save future repair work, while many of the Legos are assembled just as youngsters would at home. Another fun fact on the walls of the museum estimates there are 52 Lego blocks for every person on the planet.  Do you have your share?

World's Largest Lego Mural on gym floor.

World’s Largest Lego Mural on gym floor with animated band on stage.

After walking down a carpet made in the pattern of Lego blocks, you arrive in the old gymnasium. Before your eyes is the largest Lego image in the world – a mosaic of an 18-wheeler tractor trailer. Designed by Brian Korte, this giant image was created by over 250 local school children with the help of AFOLs (Adult Friends of Legos). It contains over 1.2 million Lego blocks and measures 44 feet by 21 feet.

Some of those same Lego enthusiasts, the builders of tomorrow, are now attempting to construct the tallest Lego tower in the world. It begins in the basement, going up through an air shaft. They have even cut a hole in the roof so it can reach the sky. Plans at this point are for the tower to reach forty feet above the building.

Lego Train Room is animated at the push of a button.

Lego Train Room is animated at the push of a button.

Each of the classrooms throughout the building overflows with themed room Lego designs from Knights Room to Mission to Mars.  The Toy Museum also has Guiness World Records for the largest Lego castle, and longest Lego castle wall. As you can imagine, the sign “Do Not Touch” appears frequently throughout the museum but some find it hard to resist. Therefore, they have a special area where you can sit and build your own creations.

Designs from this favorite plastic brick come to life with many examples of animation…a favorite being a lively band called Plastica, which appears on the stage in the old gymnasium. The musical figures were purchased from a department store in New York City, the place Dan called home for most of his life while he worked in the world of computers. The band is powered pneumatically, showing that the world of Legos is more complicated than just building with blocks. It’s a world of engineering as well.

Youngsters always have fun with Lego projects.

Youngsters always have fun with Lego projects.

If you or someone in your family enjoys creating with Lego blocks, this is the perfect place to explore.  Buiding with blocks is a real brain stimulator. Did you know that possible combinations of six Lego eight-plugged blocks can create 209,000,000 seemingly endless combinations? You might get some new ideas while you explore! What will you build next with your Legos?

Bellaire Toy and Plastic Block Museum can be reached off I-70 at the Bridgeport exit. Take Route 7 south to the 48th Street Drive. Turn west two blocks until you reach a dead end. Turn left and within two blocks you will be at the museum on the right hand side at 4597 Noble Street. Hours during the winter months are 12-5 on weekends, while during the summer season, the museum is open Wed. – Sun. 12-5. For more information, call 740-671-8890.

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