Tweetsie Railroad reopens to the public | New

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BLOWING ROCK – Like attractions and hospitality-focused businesses all over the world in 2020, surviving the pandemic has proven to be a challenge. This included the challenges facing theme parks such as Tweetsie Railroad, which reopened to the public on April 2.

“The hardest thing we’ve ever done is tell employees that they can’t come to work and close our doors,” said Cathy Robbins, who, along with her husband, Chris, are the owner and operators of the hotel. popular and family heritage. Far West railway and amusement park.

Now, with 2020 in the rearview mirror and the park reopening, Robbins said many of their employees are back, keen to provide customers with the same fun experiences offered in the past – with certain health and safety protocols.

“With a few hundred acres, it’s not difficult to achieve social distancing,” Robbins said. “The biggest obstacle was the train, which is of course the centerpiece of the attraction. We had to put limits on the occupancy of the train.

Although the 3 mile train ride is the main attraction, there is much more to do in the park. It is one of those places where young and old alike let their imaginations run wild while discovering the pleasure in its many Tweetsie dimensions.

There are “country fair” rides, such as a Ferris wheel, a whirlpool, a merry-go-round and a chairlift up to Miner’s Mountain. Young boys and girls will be delighted to take the “controls” of a biplane or a helicopter. Then there is the G-force endurance test with Round-Up. Let yourself be carried away by a tornado. Discover the force of gravity with Freefall. Cruise around the toll highway.

On Miner’s Mountain, you might not find real gold, but you can take the Mouse Mine Model Train to visit North America’s only “cheese mine”. Then turn, turn on Tweetsie Twister.

Don’t be fooled by the name “Deer Park Zoo” because there are other species that run away. Visitors have the chance to meet an African dwarf goat, European fallow deer, Nubian goat, llama, emu, burro, miniature horses, micro-mini donkeys, Olde English Babydoll Southdown sheep and bellied sheep yellow and red-eared slider turtles. There is a whole world of animal species besides dogs, cats and goldfish, and kids will be amazed at what they find on Tweetsie.

Robbins explained that the live entertainment shows and dining venues are all open-air, so social distancing is a cinch. Throughout the train ride there are action-packed scenes with the good guys versus the bad guys.

Diamond Lil’s Can-Can Revue is a lively and colorful spectacle at Tweetsie Palace, where a magic show is sure to arouse the curiosity of a child. There is other interactive live entertainment, as well as the Tweetsie Railroad Country Clogging Jamboree.

“It’s been a tough year for the business,” Robbins said, “even though we were able to open for Christmas. Certainly you take a financial hit when the business can’t open its doors. paychecks, or PPP loans, have been a big help in being able to reopen and keep at least some of our employees. ”

Robbins said the Tweetsie staff are now putting all of the previous challenges behind them and looking to the future.

“We look to 2021 and beyond with a lot of optimism,” Robbins said. “The state of North Carolina has done a good job getting people vaccinated. We hope that with more people vaccinated, they will open up more of the state, including entertainment facilities. “

Robbins said there was a lot about Tweetsie Railroad that was “good old school family entertainment.”

“The state has done a good job getting people vaccinated and as even more people are doing things should open up more,” Robbins said. “Money orders require us to take reservations. Due to social distancing requirements, we are limited to around 140 passengers per train. “

Tweetsie’s opening weekend hosted the Easter Bunny at the park, and Thomas the Train arrives in June. The ever popular Frisbee dogs will arrive in July. Robbins added that Tweetsie is planning to host fireworks on July 4, but the event could be a little different.

“Sure, a lot of people are in their cars anyway,” Robbins said.

The Railway Heritage Weekend will take place in late August, and then the crowds’ favorite ghost train will return as Halloween approaches.

“There’s always a lot going on at Tweetsie,” said Robbins, “and we’re really excited to be able to share the experience with people again. “

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