TEMPLE — After practicing their potions, choosing their wands (or did the wands choose them?) and mastering their spells, wizards and witches boarded the Wizarding Express – destination Hogwarts … I, ahem, mean McGregor.
I was one of 70 people to board the Wizarding Express, a “Harry Potter” inspired event and train ride, which is organized by the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum annually at the Temple Train Station. People of all ages attended the fifth annual event, dressed in robes and sporting their signature “house” colors.
Several booths and games were set up inside the historic train station, causing the excitement to build while waiting for the train to arrive. Inside, people could make potions, design their own wands, take photos at Platform 9-3/4, take a quiz to find out which Hogwarts house they belong in, make a necktie and house emblem, among other activities.
Making the event especially fun for the children were volunteers dressed as “Harry Potter” characters. Shelby Martin from Central Texas College dressed as Professor Minerva McGonagall and helped the children practice their spell casting with the wands they made.
I found the event extremely fun. All the activities were enjoyable and I sat down to enjoy them all. After creating my own wand, I took it to receive my wand permit, because you have to be legal. They had a booth, selling “Harry Potter” souvenirs and snacks. I sat down to color a house emblem. I was going to color all of them, but the gentleman at the table asked me what house I’m in. I was clueless, but took a little quiz, only to discover I belong to Ravenclaw, just like my favorite “Harry Potter” character, Luna Lovegood. I then sat down at the dragon-making table, where people could create their own paper dragons, but had to leave before I could complete it, because it was time to board the train.
The train ride was just a quick ride from Temple to McGregor, outside of Waco. Once everyone boarded, Michael Hicks, museum director, and Jordyn Kinsler, museum development assistant, passed out a special surprise to all the riders – a chocolate frog. The children beamed with joy at the surprise.
The train ride was surprisingly smooth and very comfortable. Once we arrived in McGregor, we took a bus back to Temple and ended our adventure.
Overall, I found the event a wonderful break from the normal hustle and bustle of life. I could tell all the families in attendance were having a great time and wished the wizarding world was real, so they could go on the adventures like their favorite “Harry Potter” characters.
The Wizarding Express is only taking place two weeks, with the second one on Oct. 26, but they will also have a Jingle Bell Express train ride on Dec. 14-15.
For more information, visit https://templerrhm.org/jingle-bell-express-train-ride or call 254-298-5194.