Trains have entranced kids for generations, from Thomas the Tank to that Little Engine that Could. And when it comes to model trains – and tons of other miniature wheeled wonders – Rainy Day Hobbies in Ferndale brings it to life for families!
The huge glass window of this throwback shop, located along Woodward Avenue, gives a peek at the eye-popping selection inside. It specializes in model trains in Z, N, HO and O scales, but you'll also find a great variety of detailed little planes, helicopters, boats and cars – including oodles of radio-controlled options.
Owner Rainy Hamilton, an avid lover of trains since his childhood, decided to open doors when he realized how hard it is to find hobby shops these days. That was true of Ferndale. Not to mention, Hamilton had always dreamed of owning a store. All the pieces fit into place.
It's really been connecting with local families – and firing up some old-fashioned fun.
"We have kids of all ages come in," Hamilton says. "To me, it's an opportunity to work in three dimensions. Instead of doing things on the computer, you can work with your hands and build and create things.
"It gives you a chance to really challenge your imagination."
Not to mention, whip up something that really works – like a racing car or soaring airplane, thanks to those cool RC models.
Rainy Day specializes in railroad models, and there's something here to spark interest across the board. Little ones will love the full railroad sets, featuring themes like the Polar Express and Harry Potter, to name just two. Budding and seasoned collectors can buy trains in individual pieces, featuring top brands like Digitrax, NCE, QSI and Proto 2000.
Big signs above each section help navigate customers to the right stop. From collectibles to figurines, there's plenty to explore.
That includes marionette puppets, featuring pirates, princesses and more. Rainy Day also carries Melissa & Doug products, specializing in wooden toys like trains and puzzles. Other hobby classics like dollhouses and pinewood derby kits are here, too – not to mention paints, telescopes and rockets.
Need a little choo-choo maintenance? This shop does repairs on any model – or can have your item sent out for work. It also hosts demonstration sessions to show how folks to build models and add scenery. There's an area called the junkyard, where used railroad and train pieces are sold at discount prices – a great way to save a few bucks.
And, for the true train tykes, don't miss its special space for birthday parties!
Rain or shine: Whatever the weather, Rainy Day Hobbies is a creative gem for southeast Michigan families. All aboard – for fun galore!