Airplanes, Cars, Trains, and Space Ships???!
Have you ever had one of those “It’s not going to be a nice day, but we’ve got some free time, what should we do?” days? I mean it’s a Sunday afternoon – why not get out?
That was our Sunday, so we decided to go for a drive. I’d been through Vulcan a number of times, but never stopped, and I wanted to see the Trek tourist station, and I’d heard about Nanton, so we thought – “Let’s go!”
Our good friend Dan was down for a couple of days so, Dan, and I, and Katherine and Josh hit the road! Left right after church at Bow River Alliance in Carseland, and headed to Vulcan, Alberta.
First stop in Vulcan – A&W of course! But then we crossed the street to see the Enterprise! This one was unveiled in 1995, weighs over 5 tons, and has over 40 cubic yards of solid concrete! It’s not going anywhere!
Then of course there is the Trek tourist station. There is a large room with a very large collection of Star Trek memorabilia. I hadn’t seen half of this stuff before – it was amazing! And they had a place where you could get your picture taken, in a Star Trek outfit, on the bridge of your favourite Star Trek ship! Most Excellent!
They even said that since the town of Vulcan has started to participate in Trek lore, all of the town councillors have their own Star Trek costumes, which they take and wear at various meetings, conferences, and conventions! When I retire, I want to move to Vulcan!
After Vulcan, we headed over to Nanton. This is another small town, right on highway 2, South of High River. Our first stop – the Bomber Command Museum.
The first thing you see is the Bomber Command Memorial, which lists the names of those who died while serving in the Bomber Command. It was very impressive, and inspiring at the same time. We took some pictures, and read some of the names. It was a very appropriate memorial – sometimes I think we don’t do enough of this here in Canada.
And now into the museum! Wow, is this an impressive place! By donation, this is a fantastic facility. Right away I noticed QR codes. So I pulled out my phone, found out they have free Internet, and when you scan a QR code near a display – it takes you to a YouTube video about that particular display. Very, very cool. Josh walked around with my phone, scanning codes, and learning! It was incredible! Then we walked into the main hangar – and there are some serious airplanes in there! I was honestly expecting to be outside, and seeing maybe one or two rickety, run down airplanes.
No siree! This was incredible! Of course the biggest plane is the Lancaster Bomber – and you can go through it, go underneath it, see where the bombs were, see how everything works, see the gun turrets – you name it – you can see and learn about it! Of course there were many other planes too, and tonnes of great information about each! We spent about two hours here, and we could’ve easily been there for two more! This is definitely worth a trip to Nanton!
I know this isn’t a bomber, but they have one of the Snowbirds trainers here too! I have many great memories of seeing the snowbirds when I was a kid! Such incredible pilots! So I had to take a picture!
I’m sure you’re thinking that this was a fun afternoon, and it’s now time to go home! Nope, one more stop!
Kitty corner from the Bomber Command museum is Ultimate Trains. This store is owned and run by an amazing guy named Tony! You walk in, and you see a train store that specializes in G scale (or Garden railway). These are fairly big trains, where an engine is about the size of two 2L milk cartons placed end to end. It’s a packed store with an amazing assortment of trains! We chatted briefly with Tony, and then we went out the back door…. into a whole new world!
It was like going through the large armoir described in the Chronicles of Narnia stories that transports you into the world of Narnia!
Yet we were transported to the world of the Ultimate Trains Garden Railway! It is an unbelievably large layout of G scale trains! There must be a dozen different trains running. There is a river, a mountain, many bridges, lots of towns, even gondola’s traveling up and down the mountain. Thomas the Tank Engine trains, Amtrak trains. Absolutely amazing! It takes your breath away because it’s way bigger than you expect! And it’s all done by Tony and his incredible wife – Mrs. Tony!;) She gave us the tour, telling us it is setup differently each year. It takes them weeks to set it up, and even now they still have many many people, and other items to put in the layout. You could stand and watch for quite a long time, and still not see everything!
But that’s not all! They have a train you can ride on too! This train does a very large figure eight through a tunnel, and all around the layout, and through the layout so you can see everything right up close at a different angle! Mrs. Tony was the train engineer, and she collected our tickets and helped us to enjoy a magical ride through the railway! We had so much fun, it was absolutely incredible!
After Ultimate Trains, we stopped for slurpees, and headed home. Visiting Vulcan and Nanton, even though we only saw a part of each, reminded us how each place can be so unique. We are very much looking forward to returning to both places on a nice Summer day, to explore some of the many, many things to see!
Make sure you take some time this Summer, to let the magic of a small town surprise you!