It’s almost springtime! Let’s get outside and take the kids for a fun train ride. But here’s the big question: What makes for a great train ride? Most parents look at these or similar factors: price, location, scenic views, realism (does it feel like a real train or a toy train) and available dates and times. We’re going to compare 5 train rides in Sacramento and the surrounding area: The Sacramento Zoo, Funderland, Old Sacramento, Folsom Zoo and the Fountains at Roseville.
Best prices lowest to highest: Fountains ($2 each or free on Tuesdays), Funderland ($2-2.25 per ticket), Folsom Zoo ($3 per ticket).
Location: This is somewhat subjective and based on where you live. The Sacramento Zoo and Funderland are within close walking distance of each other. Old Sacramento has lots of stuff to do and see, including a train museum. The train in Folsom is next to the zoo, library and park. The Fountains are across the street from the Galleria Mall.
Scenic views: Old Sacramento (river and scenery), Folsom Zoo (outside of zoo and park) and Sacramento Zoo (animals).
Realism: Old Sacramento (real train) and Folsom Zoo (steam engine).
Available dates and times:
Sacramento Zoo: open from 9am to 5pm. Tickets for zoo: $11.75 general admission and $7.75 child/youth (ages 2-11). Train rides additional $4 each.
Funderland: open Fridays 11am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm, verify hours on website. Weekday tickets: $2 per ride, $17 for 10 rides. Weekend tickets: $2.25 per ride, $21 for 10 rides.
Old Sacramento: opens in April, Saturday and Sunday 11am-5pm, Tuesdays 11am and 1pm, see website for dates. Tickets: $12 adults, $6 youth (ages 6-17) and ages 5 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased at the California State Railroad Museum.
Folsom Zoo: open Tuesday thru Friday 11am-2pm and Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm. Tickets: $3 per person. Ages 12 months and under are free.
Fountains at Roseville: open Monday thru Sunday 11am-6pm. Tickets at Guest Services: $2 per person. Adults ride free with kids under age 2.
What if your kids are on spring break and you want to spend the whole day playing? Take a look at the websites for upcoming events. For example, go to Funderland for their annual Easter Bash on 3/18 and 3/19. Head over to the Sacramento Zoo for Earth Fest on April 2 or try a First Friday at the Fountains starting in May. Walk around the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento and then take a train ride. Get a combination ticket and go to the Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town. Find a Groupon or other online deal. Remember, spending quality time with your kids and seeing things through their eyes is priceless.
Post and photos by guest writer Lara Brandon