Make & Play at home

During these upending times, the health of our community, visitors, and staff remain our top priority.  For the time being, our staff is working remotely, adjusting to a life of conference calls and building out a responsive strategy for the months ahead as we grapple with, and eventually recover from, the pandemic. We are incredibly thankful for our supporters, donors, and foundation support that are keeping our virtual doors open and the vision of the Rail Park alive!

Public programming at the park is postponed through May, but we have been working on fun ways to bring a little bit of Rail Park programming straight to your home — starting with this Saturday’s Make & Play Fest. See below to learn how to make playdough, made from ingredients you can likely find at home!

The Rail Park remains open as a walking trail and we ask that you please be aware of your surroundings and maintain at least a 6-foot space from others. 

The current situation is a reminder of how much we need and value our community. Whether you’ve been with us since the beginning or this is your first time reading a Rail Park email, thank you for riding this out with us, and we look forward to coming together in the not so distant future. 

Homemade Playdough Recipe, from TinkerLab

  • 2.5 cups water
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 5 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cream of tartar
  • 1 1/4 c. salt
  • Food coloring or liquid water colors


  • Mix everything but the food coloring together in a large pot until somewhat smooth. It will be lumpy. Not to worry, the dough will get smoother as it cooks.
  • Cook the dough over a low heat. Mix frequently. The water will slowly cook out of the mixture and you’ll notice it starts to take on a sticky dough appearance. Keep mixing until the edges of the dough along the side and bottom of the pan appear dry. Pinch a piece of dough. If it’s not gooey, the dough is ready.
  • Place the dough on a counter top or large cutting board that can withstand a little food coloring.
  • Knead the warm dough until it’s smooth and then divide it into the number of colors that you’d like to make. I divided mine into four balls, flattened each of them, added a little bit of food coloring or liquid watercolors, and then kneaded it in. I added more food coloring to get the desired shades of yellow, pink, teal, and lavender.
  • Play with the dough right away or store it in a large Ziplock bag or sealed container. Unused, it’ll keep for months.