This is a repost from last year but everything awesome still stands!
Public Works Day 2016
Here's a quick way to please the truck loving set: take them to Public Works Day! Please tell me you know about this. If not, have no fear - I'm here to fill you in all the way. It is the funnest! (Yes, I know that's not a real word.)
Okay, so our city's Public Works system is made up of all the people who clear streets of debris, repair roads, maintain underground pipes, and anything else super cool like that which will make your community helper obsessed kid swoon. Once a year they open up the yard (why is it called that?) and let over a thousand people come and poke around their facilities for the day.
So here's what that means:
- Watch a robot move through sewer pipes
- Get your photo taken and printed out for you to proudly display on your fridge
- Meet Casey the Fire Dog
- Sit in a police car, fire engine, dump truck, giant mower, and other big equipment
- Learn about the airport, our waste water system, emergency planning, traffic laws, and so much more
- Take home a free construction worker vest, coloring book, water bottle, etc (at least that was what they gave us the last few years)
- And for the grand finale...you can ride on a trailer being pulled by a dump truck through the Public Works "back yard" and see "an asphalt roller, backhoe, and dump truck at work in a pretend construction zone." (I pulled that off the Public Works website.) This is really so fun for all ages. I am impressed every year.
Now, the website says that this event is meant for elementary and middle-age school kiddos. However. I've been taking my son since he was two, and he talks about it all. the. time.
So clearly this is a pretty big deal. It gets pretty crowded. Here are my tips for navigating the craziness successfully.
- Go early! Once the field trips (large groups of kiddos conveniently dressed alike) start rolling in, it gets really crowded really fast. And the field trips come early! Last year we were literally the very first people in the door at 8:30, and we were out the door by 11:30. I would not have wanted to stay any longer than 11:30, because it was getting to be a bit much for this crowd avoiding mama.
- This is a 100% kid friendly event. They can touch everything, wander everywhere (within the event area I mean), and just feel like such real worker bees! Let them lead the way and explore. Bonus points if your kid has a hard hat or other dress up stuff that you let them wear.
- Go to the Public Works' website and check out the handy stuff they have there. For the grown up, you've got the map of where they are located. Maybe it's just me, but I had a super hard time finding the place the first time I went (#eugeneroadsarehard). For kiddos, they have two cool videos that show what kind of equipment and responsibilities Public Works is made up of, as well as what kids get to do when they visit the yard. The videos are a great way to prep your littles about what the event will be like. WARNING. Don't show them to your kids until the night before, unless you want to listen to them ask every fifteen minutes if it's time to go to "the place with the trucks" for more than 12 hours. Also, so that you all can be prepared, the website has the 2014 Tour Booklet. This walks you through the area so that you can prioritize what you'd like to see, or make a game plan, or find the bathrooms, or whatever.
- The whole thing is set up in a really easy to follow path through the yard. However, that doesn't mean you have to follow it exactly. And when you come to the end, it literally dumps you out back into the parking lot. Still wanting more? Last year my kiddo and I just circled back in and did the whole thing again.
- When you get there, they'll ask if you've pre-registered. Unless you're a classroom teacher, you don't have to do that. I'm assuming they do it to track attendance numbers and such. But they're not concerned about your preschooler and your baby in the Bjorn.
- Don't forget to pick up your photo on the way out!
- Go with some friends. Wrangling littles who just can't wait to clamber all over that fire truck is way easier when you can tag team it.
- You can take the trailer ride through the "back yard" more than once. And you'll want to.
- Be aware that it's all outside, and it is May. In Oregon. That means there's a 98% chance that it will rain. Be prepared.
Date: Thursday, May 21
Address: Public Works Yard
1820 Roosevelt Blvd, Eugene
Parking: There's a big free lot. Also, they've made it easy to get there using LTD. For details, check the website. Oh my word, I just decided that it would be super fun to ride the bus down there. I'm picturing my four year old exploding of happiness. Wheee!
Cost: Totally free. Thank you Public Works friends!
Food: None available. Pack a hearty snack and a water bottle, because you'll be doing some good walking around as well as climbing on those trucks.
Resting/Nursing Spots: Besides the transportation bays where they've set tables and chairs up for field trips to eat their lunches, there's not really anywhere else to sit. Also, the lunch spot is at the very end of your trip through the yard, so if somebody small gets hungry or tired and you want to sit, you'll end up back tracking just a bit. But it's your Public Works party, and you can do what you want to.
Bathrooms: Yep - there are several located in various spots around the yard
Time Frame: Last year we took about two hours to get through the whole thing once. Then we spent another hour hitting the highlights one more time before calling it quits. So...1-3 hours, depending on how interested your littles are.
Please go check it out! Let me know what you think!
Megan Defferding is the mom to two super fun boys who love to find great stuff to do all around Lane County! Check out her blog series, Happy Adventuring, weekly on GoMomGo.