*Apologies in advance. My beloved Nikon DSLR had a possibly fatal heart attack right before we arrived at this museum. It is lying in a heap on my kitchen table. I might start weeping again. We had to take pics of the museum with our *hangs head in shame* camera phones. I’m sorry.
Last stop during our fantastic trip to Lancaster County, PA was the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Biker Bob and I have already decided that we will DEFINITELY be heading back here when Lily Bean is a little older. We would love more time to explore this place. At over 90,000 square feet and with over 100 historic locomotives and vintage railroad cars on display, you could VERY easily spend a day here. We had about 1.5 hours thanks to a little girl who really needed a nap.
Located literally right across the road from the Strasburg Railroad is the RR museum. There is SO much to see here!
We started out on a walkway that gave you a bird’s eye view of the display floor. Trains everywhere- what a collection!
When you set out to explore the different locomotives and cars on the main display floor, you will discover that you can actually climb IN and ON some of them! We climbed up onto one of the old steam locomotives and I have to tell you.. I walked away thinking a couple things:
- How unbelieveably INTRICATE and COMPLICATED all of the controls, switches and valves were. It must have taken some serious training and skill to properly operate.
- How in the WORLD did the engineers and men who shoveled coal (I’m sure there’s an official title for them?) stand the blistering heat of that coal oven? Especially in the summer? They practically stand on top of it the entire train ride. Talk about stamina!
- Just that LITTLE, TINY window on either side to peep out of?? How did they see ANYTHING at all? Talk about obstructed views! Phew!
There were some favorite places that we found at the museum…
Stewart Junction Railway Education Center: entire area set up for kids to learn, play and explore the rails! GeoTrax, Legos, Thomas Tracks and more were set up for kids to play the day away. This was Lily Bean’s first time playing with trains- it goes without saying, she now has a new hobby!
We decided to brave the extreme heat and humidity and ventured outside where even MORE trains could be found. This was my very favorite find- a steam locomotive similar to train in The Polar Express.
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania has SO MANY events throughout the year. Different themed events- truly something for everyone. As a teacher, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg was always my very absolute favorite book to read to my students. I made a huge production out of it… rearranged their chairs in rows like a train, printed up special “tickets” that they had to have punched for admission, served chocolate milk and snacks while I read the story. At the end of the book, each child was presented with his or her very own silver bell. :)
So it’s no surprise that this event caught my eye more than any of the others:
Polar Express Parties 12/4/10 & 12/11/10
The conductor calls “all aboard” for a reading of Chris Van Allsburg’s classic holiday story in an authentic, historic passenger coach. Kids who believe are welcome to dress in their pjs and will delight creating their own seasonal take-home craft and receiving a small bag of goodies. Advance registration required (beginning 10/18/10) at $10/child. Recommended for ages 3+.
Regular Admission Rates
Kids 2 and under: FREE
Youth 3 to 11: $8
Seniors 65+: $9
Adults 12-64: $10
Save some $$- combo tickets with other area attractions ARE available!
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania invited our family to be their guests which included complimentary admission. All opinions our 100% our own. Everything written above was based on our own experiences.