Local Train Rides that are perfect for kids and won’t break your holiday spending budget!

By Heather Crivellone

“They’re two they’re four they’re six they’re eight..Shunting trucks and hauling freight..red and green and brown and blue..they’re the really useful crew….”
Do your kids know the difference between Thomas, Percy and James? Are they excited and yell “choo-choo” every time they hear and or see a RR Crossing?  My kids are obsessed with trains…my little guy can even hear the train whistle miles and miles away! So I decided on one of our outings to give them the chance to enjoy the steam engines up close and personal.

Now, we have visited the Sacramento Railroad Museum multiple times and every time we are there- we spend hours upon hours viewing the trains and playing in the kids’ area. However, this time I wanted to find places that we could go and ride the trains- big and small.
I’ve compiled a list of some local train rides in case your kids are anxious to hop on, put on an engineers cap and whistle “choo-choo”…

Folsom Valley Railway  is located outside the Folsom Zoo at 403 Stafford Street in Folsom.
You can enjoy a ride around the park on a “real” steam engine.  Tickets are only $2.00 and through November-December the hours are 11am-1pm Tuesday-Friday and 11am-4pm Saturday and Sunday.

The Train at the Fountains in Roseville– is  located at the center of the mall on Roseville Parkway and Galleria Boulevard. Take a break from shopping at one of the most popular and upscale malls in the Sacramento area and let the kids enjoy a train ride around the outside mall. Train runs daily from 11am-6pm, but takes a “rest” from 2-3pm. Ticket fare is only $2.

Sacramento Valley Live Steamers at Hagan Community Park in Rancho Cordova.  This is a family organization dedicated to preserving the love and history of American steam railroading with a large scale fully functioning steam engine and a railroad for children and adults alike to ride on and enjoy.
You can take a scenic ride through the park with views of the American River on this local train. Check their website for times of departures. On December 3,4,10 and 11 from 12pm-4pm you can ride the rain and have pictures taken with Santa Claus!

Sacramento River Train departs from Woodland and is a must -do activity for visitors coming into town. You can choose regular scenic trips, dinner mysteries, brunches, etc. etc. But- for a family outing, the Christmas Train tops the list! The family Christmas train trip features story-telling, Christmas Carols, Elves, Cookies and Hot Cocoa and of course- a visit from Jolly St. Nick! The trip lasts about 90minutes and pajamas are welcomed. November 26th, December 4th, 11th and 17th-23rd. Adult tickets $29, Children ages 2-12 are $23.

Nut Tree Shopping and Visitor Center Train Ride– Take a short drive to Vacaville to do some holiday shopping at the outlets. And while you are there- the kids can ride the Nut Tree Railroad. Train operates Monday- Friday 11am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-7pm.

The Sacramento Railroad Museum is a great place to visit if you have children who love trains. During the non- winter months you can also ride the train departing from Old Sacramento along the river. This is especially fun for kids of all ages, and will start back up in April.

Hopefully this list will help you choose a fun and educational outing for your kids. If you have found other rides that are not mentioned here, please let us know and we would love to post your findings.

Have fun and “Happy Trails!”


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