If you have a child that loves trains, the Bay Area is definitely the place to be. There's everything your little conductor could ask for, including both full-size and mini train rides! Of course, that's not all the locomotion the SF area has to offer.
Western Railway Museum
Erynn: This museum has over 50 historic train cars, plus 22 miles of tracks, where families can visit and explore. You can also take a ride on one of their streetcar or interurban trains, which leave the station regularly each day.
Cost: Admission is $10 for adults, $7 kids ages 2-14
Niles Canyon Railway
Erynn: Niles Canyon Railway runs train trips throughout the year so kids can get a feel for what it's truly like to ride the rails! Some cars are open, but trains run year-round even in rainy weather. There are snacks and beverages available for purchase while you ride, or you can pack your own food for the trip.
Cost: Fare is $14 for adults and $8 for children; under 2 are free
Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad
Erynn: Take the kids to Oak Meadow Park and they can hop on a miniature train for a ride that lasts about 10 minutes--the mini train even crosses a bridge along its one-mile loop (it also passes through Vasona park). Pack a picnic (or visit the Snack Shack) and plan to stay a while, because you can also ride the carousel and enjoy the surrounding park, too.
Note seasonal hour schedule changes throughout the year.
Cost: Train and carousel tickets are each $3
Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society
Erynn: This is one of the largest HO scale model railroads in the US, and it won't disappoint your little engine enthusiast! There are trains harking from as early as the '50s on both narrow and standard gauge tracks across over 4,300 feet of track. There are more than 240 working switches and turnouts, too!
Cost: Adults $3; kids 6-12 $2; under age 6 free; note that they can only accept cash!
Tilden Regional Park Steam Train
Erynn: This park has tons of attractions for kids, one of them being the steam train, which is run independently of the other attractions. Other on-site activities include the Little Farm, Merry-Go-Round, Botanic Garden, and picnicking. Tilden Park Steam Train rides involve a trip along a scenic ridge within the park.
Cost: Carousel rides are $3.50/person; steam train rides are $3/ride, kids under 2 are free
Golden State Model Railroad Museum
Erynn: This 10,000 square foot railroad museum contains tons of miniature trains surrounded by more than 200 feet of walkways. Kids can follow along as the trains run! There are also special themed days to celebrate specific types of trains; check their calendar for more information.
Cost: Adults & kids 12+ $5; Kids 4-11 $3; Under 4 free
San Francisco Railway Museum
Erynn: This rail transit museum combines historic informational exhibits with real-world interactive experiences; families can ride streetcars and cable cars before or after the museum experience to really bring the history to life!
Cost: Admission is free
San Francisco Cable Car Museum
Erynn: This cable car museum memorializes the unique trains of SF--cable cars! It features a collection of historic cable cars, photos, mechanical displays, and more. You can also hop on one of two cable car lines (Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason) that pass right by the museum and go for a spin!
Cost: Free; Cable car fare is $7 each way
Randall Museum Model Railroad
Erynn: Randall Museum houses more than just the model railroad; there are also live animal exhibits, an ocean area, a makers' spot, and more. The model railroad has replicas of real Bay Area trains, while the Riding the Rails exhibit teaches kids how trains helped impact society.
Primary photo: Upparent
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