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Posted on: June 15, 2018

Train Tales a Friday favorite at Cookeville Depot

Children enjoy Train Tales at the Cookeville Depot.

COOKEVILLE – While most kids may never set foot on a moving locomotive, they’re all “experts” on these massive rail-riding vehicles.

“Kids are genuinely excited about trains,” Ashley McKee, education specialist for the Cookeville Depot and History museums, said. “I don’t have to get them excited — they just are.”

The horn-blowing and steady rumbling along the tracks are only part of the appeal. It’s also about the history.

“Trains were such a big deal for this area’s growth,” McKee said. “It’s easy for kids to get excited about local history because it’s their history.”

McKee, along with museums manager Beth Thompson and exhibit specialist Pam Philpot, strives to build on that natural enthusiasm through a number of fun and educational community outreach programs — one of which is Train Tales.

Geared toward preschoolers, Train Tales is a free half-hour program that consists of a story and activity every Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the depot. It’s an important program, McKee said, since it introduces children to transportation history at such a young age.

“We do something different each week,” she said, noting that activities can be anything from crafts to games. “At holiday times, we’ll do themed activities.”

From the museum manager’s perspective, Thompson said it’s rewarding to see visitors learn while they are being entertained.

“We want our community to know that museums aren’t boring,” she said. “We have so many activities that are lots of fun and free for the whole family.”  

A couple of the other activities include History Hikes (second Saturday of each month, April through August and October, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.) and WestSide Scavenger Hunts (second Saturday, January through March, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.).

For more information about Train Tales, field trips, tours and other museum activities, call 931-528-8570 or 931-520-5455.

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