Tag Archives: train

Trains Big & Small

Northwest Railway Museum

I like trains. Who knew? On a drive from Snoqualmie Falls to Seattle, I found myself driving alongside the longest, most colorful museum I had ever seen – the Northwest Railway Museum. There was simply no driving by this museum; I had to make the stop! A couple hours of climbing trains and a few dozen photos later, I had to admit that I like trains. After a visit to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, I am now quite fond of model railroads too. See the train itineraries below for San Diego and Snoqualmie, Washington.

On a trip to Mesa Verde in 2010, I spent the night in Durango, Colorado. The next morning included a bike ride (free rentals included with the hotel) to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum. This is an old line (operating for over 125 years) that connects Durango to the old mining town of Silverton on a scenic trip through the San Juan National Forest. You can even race the train on bicycle as part of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. While racing the train may not be in my future, another visit to Durango with a train ride to Silverado has made the list.


San Diego

  • Start your day in Balboa Park at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum with a game of “I Spy” as you explore the models.
    • Here are a few to get you started: I spy…a truck, chickens, a train crash.
  • Walk a short distance to the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad for a half-mile, 3-minute train ride.
  • Head downtown to visit the historic Santa Fe Depot. Check out this old photograph. Note: observe parking signs.
  • Cross the street to the America Plaza station and take a 40-minute trolley ride to the San Diego Railroad Museum (La Mesa Depot Museum) via the orange line to La Mesa Boulevard. This is approximately 12 miles by car.
  • Option: Take the Coaster for a scenic train ride up the coast.

Snoqualmie, Washington (45 minutes from Seattle)

  • Start your day at the Northwest Railway Museum where you can explore the Depot Museum and see countless locomotives and cars.
  • Enjoy a 75-minute train ride to Snoqualmie Falls.
  • Don’t forget to visit the bookstore before you leave the museum.
Try This:
Use the train vocabulary below to:
(1) write a story – think about what the train is carrying and where it is going
(2) label a drawing or photograph
(3) as a scavenger hunt at a railway museum

Train Vocabulary
  • “All aboard”
  • caboose
  • conductor
  • depot
  • engineer
  • locomotive
  • platform
  • railroad
  • ticket
  • timetable
  • Two Little Trains by Margaret Wise Brown
    This picture book follows the parallel journey of an actual train and a model train. Compare their journeys to the sights on your itinerary.
  • Freight Train by Donald Crews
    This picture book compares different types of train cars. Can you find the different types of cars at your museum?
There are close to 300 rail museums in North America! Visit www.railmuseums.com.