Hands down, one of our all time favorite trips as a family is to go to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Lancaster County, PA.
Now, when I was a kid, and my dad brought us here, I had very little interest in the museum. My poor dad! He’s always been interested in trains, having created various gauges of model railroads through the years, not to mention being current President of the Cinder Sniffers in Indiana. Fortunately for him, daughter number three likes trains as does all of his grandchildren.
The Railroad Museum is located in Strasburg, across the street from the Strasburg Railroad. Admission is $10 for Adults (ages 12 – 64), $9 for Senior Citizen (65+), and $8 for Youth (3 – 11).
Children age 2 and under are free. You can go in and out of the museum on the same day; just remember to present your receipt when you come back in.
I highly recommend purchasing a membership if you plan to come back within a year. For a family, the Susquehannock level is $40. It provides free Railroad Museum admission for individual adult (any age) and immediate family (spouse or significant other, dependent children and dependent grandchildren). For our family, if we paid admission, we would have to pay $46 so the membership pays for itself in one visit for us.
The main part of the museum is an enormous hall with about five tracks full of engines and cars. There’s plenty of room for strollers. However, with the tracks being below floor level, I recommend keeping an eye on little ones who want to get close to the trains. Behind the hall is a smaller exhibition area outside. Donations are suggested for admission to this area. Staffed by volunteers, this area is usually open to the public if the weather is good.
The highlight of the museum for our family is Stewart Junction, the education center. In the main part of the Junction are O gauge railroad displays, a Lego train display and building area, and displays about railroad history. The children’s section is located in the back of the Junction where you can find a Geotrax set up and two wooden railroad setups. There’s also a place to sit and read books and puzzles to work on.
During the winter, the main hall is a bit cool since it’s unheated. No food or drink is permitted to be brought inside the museum, however, there is an area in the main hall complete with chairs, tables and a soda machine.
Typically, if our only stop is the train museum we will eat in the car year round. It’s just easier with lots of little ones. This summer, I’m going to try to find another place to visit near by that has outdoor picnic tables. The ones located adjacent to the Railroad Museum parking lot are frequently dirty-looking. There’s also the odor of farm animals near by that can make outdoor dining an unpleasant experience.
If you want to take advantage of the cheaper gas prices in Lancaster County, there are two gas stations on Route 141, a Turkey Hill and a trucker gas station, which usually have the lowest price.
Other Attractions Off of Route 741: