“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 son is obsessed with trains…he can 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 a place that we could go and ride the trains, big and small.
One of the great things with living in Sacramento is that in any direction you choose to travel there are great “day trip” destinations. My family and I recently decided to head out to Sonoma County and enjoyed an afternoon in downtown with lunch, wine tasting and of course a trip for the kids to Sonoma Traintown Railroad.
Located just one mile south of the Plaza in Sonoma, Traintown features a quarter scale railroad on four miles of track, a miniature town, petting zoo and carnival rides for the family.
Admission into Traintown is free, but you do need to purchase train tickets to ride the train and tickets for the carnival rides can all be purchased at the concession stands. Ticket prices are $5.75 for the train ride and $2.75 for carnival ride tickets.
The train ride lasts about 20 minutes and goes through tunnels, over bridges, along side of waterfalls and makes a stop at “Lakeview”- the miniature town with a petting zoo for the kids to enjoy.
This was by far the favorite for our family. We had so much fun exploring through this “town” and going in and out of the miniature buildings (school-house, doctors office, saloon, jail). Everything was made “kid sized” so the children were having fun climbing on the fire poles at the “fire station” and playing “teacher” at the school-house.
We also had the chance to pet and feed llamas, goats and sheep. The kids had a blast and then the conductor blew his horn…and we were back on the train to the carnival area and enjoyed riding the carousel, the “flying airplanes” and “dragon roller coaster”.
Train Town was a great stop for the kids! We spent the afternoon in downtown Sonoma enjoying some of the locals best selections of food and wine, and didn’t feel guilty for “dragging them along” since they had so much fun at Train Town.
And if you are not feeling as adventurous as we were and would rather stay close to home, then check out the list I have complied for some of our local train rides for the kids:
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 $3.00 and the train runs year round, just check the website for times changing each season.
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 and Tuesdays are free.
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.
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 Easter Egg Express, the Pumpkin Express and the Christmas Train tops the list! Check website for more information.
Nut Tree Shopping and Visitor Center Train Ride– Take a short drive to Vacaville to do some shopping at the outlets. And while you are there the kids can ride the Nut Tree Railroad. Train operates 10am- dusk.
The Sacramento Railroad Museum is a great place to visit if you have children who love trains. Train rides run during the summer and into fall. Check the website for more information.
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!”