‘WOW on rails’ brings Val­ley stu­dents to Lodi mu­seum

Lodi News-Sentinel - - PAGE TWO - By Oula Miq­bel NEWS-SEN­TINEL STAFF WRITER

Lodi’s World of Won­ders Science Mu­seum is ex­cited to roll out a co­op­er­a­tive ef­fort with Am­trak of San Joaquin called “WOW on Rails,” which is aimed at getting stu­dents to the mu­seum by train.

WOW ran a pilot of the pro­gram on Nov. 29 with fourth­grade stu­dents from El Nido El­e­men­tary School in Merced County. The train ar­rived in Lodi around 10:30 a.m. where stu­dents then were able to en­gage in in­ter­ac­tive science ex­per­i­ments.

“I think it is ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic for stu­dents to be able to get here by train,” WOW Pres­i­dent Sally Snyde said.

Snyde has been in­stru­men­tal in de­vel­op­ing a part­ner­ship with Am­trak over the past cou­ple of months to get the pro­gram launched.

“A bus from Stock­ton to Lodi cost $500 to rent, and if you are trav­el­ing fa­ther it could cost more, but if schools could take the Am­trak it’s more cost ef­fec­tive,” Snyde said.

WOW of­fers dis­counts to groups of 10 or more peo­ple at $4 a ticket and pro­vides tick­ets at $5 per stu­dent and $7 for an adult in or­der to make the mu­seum ac­ces­si­ble to all look­ing to learn and en­joy in a shared in­ter­ac­tive science ex­pe­ri­ence.

Am­trak cur­rently pro­vides a pro­gram known as Kids 'n' Trains, which is avail­able to stu­dents from Bak­ers­field to Sacra­mento. The pro­gram pro­vides a dis­counted ticket to pas­sen­gers for one-way and round-trip fares.

Ac­cord­ing to Snyde, the dis­count pro­grams for both the mu­seum and the Am­trak ex­ist in­de­pen­dently of one an­other, but she is look­ing to uti­lize both dis­count pro­grams to get more stu­dents to ex­pe­ri­ence travel on the rail­way.

Snyde be­lieves getting a time slot for Lodi’s drop-off lo­ca­tion around 10:30 a.m. is some­thing that can be ben­e­fi­cial for Lodi res­i­dents, as it could in­crease down­town busi­ness, con­nect the town to peo­ple from neigh­bor­ing com­mu­ni­ties and mo­ti­vate peo­ple to travel with Am­trak.

“The de­ci­sion to cre­ate a des­ig­nated time slot took months of back and forth but I am very glad it worked out,” said Snyde.

Snyde is con­fi­dent that this new part­ner­ship will in­crease rid­er­ship for the train and get stu­dents more en­gaged with science. Due to the early suc­cess of the pro­gram, there have been more schools in­ter­ested in tak­ing part in the “WOW on Rails” pro­gram. The mu­seum has al­ready re­ceived reser­va­tions by schools look­ing to hitch a train to sci­enceville.

COUR­TESY PHOTO

Stu­dents take part in the “WOW on Rails” pro­gram.

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