Kids enjoy free train rides for TV Turn Off Week |

Kids enjoy free train rides for TV Turn Off Week

Karl Horeis

Jake Bakker was pouting. His mother called him from outside the Nevada State Railroad Museum, but he stood in the doorway in his “Little Train That Could” T-shirt, not budging.

“He really likes it here, he just needs a nap,” said his mom, Patti.

The two came out with Grandma and Grandpa, Lora and Doug Bakker from Yerington, to participate in TV Turnoff Week activities. Any child who mentioned TV Turnoff Week Sunday got a free ride in the museum’s motorcar. Regular motorcar fares are $2 for adults and $1 for ages 6 to 11.

Jake and his mom found a list on the Internet of things to do other than watch TV. They went birding Saturday and are planning to hike, cook a family dinner, go to the library, make crafts, and fix something.

“He’s going to do that with his dad,” Mom said.

Jake, who just turned 4, slid down the grass in front of the museum toward Grandpa.

Down at the station, other families were boarded the 1926 Edwards motor car.

Joe Bush of Sacramento brought his sons Ross Bush, 10, and Derick Walker, 5, who live in South Lake Tahoe. They knew about TV Turnoff Week and got the free rides.

After the ride, Derick said his favorite part was “at the ending.”

TV Turnoff Week is organized by a national nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C. According to their research, the average American youth spends more time watching television than going to school. Watching too much can lower a student’s academic performance, especially in reading, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“We support children not watching television,” said Lisa Macdonald of the train museum. “I think they ought to go out and do something other than just sit there in front of that dang thing.”

Museum program coordinator John Frink said they heard about the event a month ago. Other area sponsors include the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada, Hispanic Youth Image and United Blood Services.

Mansoor Ahmed’s television has been off for days. His family is on vacation from San Jose.

“Our’s has been off this whole week,” he said.

Sitting with him in the motor car were his wife, Noreen, and children Zain, 9, Erum, 7 and Arib, 3. Next they were headed to Spooner Summit for some sledding.

The motor car was operated Sunday by volunteers Larry Booth and John North. All of the museum’s 111 volunteers were honored at a party on Friday night. Altogether, they worked 18,231 volunteer hours during 2003.

“That’s almost equal to nine, full-time employees,” said Frink.

The museum’s steam train season will fire up in May. The motor car runs on the weekend when the steam trains do not.

Coming April 30, May 1 and 2 is a “Learn to be an Engineer” workshop. Participants will learn to drive the motor car. For more information, call the museum at 687-6953.

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Contact Karl Horeis at or 881-1219.