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Best Railroad Experiences Near Baltimore For Kids

June 28, 2013 6:00 AM

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Baltimore has been part of railroad history since the creation of the B&O Railroad, and Ross Winans (Mount Winans’ namesake) invented the Camelback locomotive. Moravian immigrants brought traditional holiday putz gardens to the United States, a continuing Baltimore tradition now featuring toy and model trains (a popular pastime nowadays). There are many venues in the Baltimore area for kids to discover railroad history and contemporary railroading through museums, train excursions, safe train watching or model railroading.

Chesapeake And Allegheny Steam Preservation Society
Leakin Park
4921 Windsor Mill Road
Baltimore, Md. 21207
(410) 448-0730
www.calslivesteam.org

Bring lunch and let the kids (and adults) ride on a miniature steam train traveling around a small-scale railway at Leakin Park in Baltimore. Operating since 1963, this double-tracked railway takes up 11.5 acres. Available April through November, public rides are on the second Sunday of every month from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. These free train rides are made possible by the nonprofit Chesapeake and Allegheny Steam Preservation Society. Picnic tables are available to create the perfect kid experience.

Irish Railroad Workers Museum
920 Lemmon Street
Baltimore, Md. 21223
(410) 699-8154
www.irishshrine.org

A multitude of Irish immigrants arrived in the United States from 1840 to 1850 and worked for the B&O Railroad. The Irish Railroad Workers Museum consists of two period alley houses; one that is furnished as a typical Irish family home and another offering rotating interpretive exhibits depicting how these families lived. As part of an Irish Heritage walk, the Irish Railroad Workers Museum offers tours of the historic community surrounding the museum. It’s a great way for older kids and teens to learn about the people that made railroading possible in the United States.

Baltimore Streetcar Museum
1901 Falls Road
Baltimore, Md. 21211
(410) 547-0264
www.baltimorestreetcar.org

Before there were buses, everyone used streetcars to get around cities like Baltimore. The Baltimore Streetcar Museum offers a glimpse into Baltimore‘s streetcar history. With a small admission, the modest museum features exhibits, a video presentation about streetcar history and restored streetcars from 1849 to 1944. What kids will enjoy most are the unlimited rides on some of the historic streetcars. The Baltimore Streetcar Museum is open Sundays (year-round) from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays (June through October) from noon to 5 p.m.

Related: Best Railroad Museums For Kids

The Great Scale Model Train Shows
Maryland State Fairgrounds
2200 York Road
Timonium, Md. 21093
(410) 252-0200
www.gsmts.com

Almost every kid loves running or watching model trains, especially during the holidays. The Great Scale Model Train Shows, hosted four times a year, offers something every model train fan could want, sponsoring vendors selling model trains, supplies and train-related merchandise. Every kid or grownup kid will love the many running train layouts created by Baltimore-area model train clubs. Even if you’re not a model train hobbyist, the Great Scale Model Train Shows are a great place to just look around. For show-related information, e-mail Howard Zane at hzane1@verizon.net. The next show will be held on Oct. 26 and 27.

Walkersville Southern Railroad
34 W. Pennsylvania Avenue
Walkersville, Md. 21793
(301) 898-0899
www.wsrr.org/2013

The Walkersville Southern Railroad offers train excursions for families, kids and grownups; operating the railroad Saturdays from May through September and Saturdays and Sundays in October. Visitors can ride aboard a coach, open flatcar or the caboose against the backdrop of the Catoctin Mountains through the Maryland countryside. Throughout the year, the Walkersville Southern Railroad offers special activities, including holiday trains, reenactments and steam trains. It offers charters for a special event or party, whether it’s renting one car or the whole train. Kids love the “Little Red Caboose” for birthday parties. There are also dinner trains suitable for families and adults twice a month from May through November.

Related: Best Model Trains In Baltimore

Michael Townsend lives in Baltimore and has an Associate’s degree from Harford Community College. Working for Examiner.com as the Baltimore Family Entertainment Examiner, Michael writes about family-oriented and budget-conscious activities. His interests include nature, history, mythology, crafts, photography and cooking.

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