Hop aboard the North Texas Express for train-themed activities your kids will love!
When I became a parent, I had a lot to learn about raising children. However, one thing was already very familiar to me: little girl stuff. Ruffles, hair bows, baby dolls and all that is pink. My daughters were as girly as they come and I enjoyed every second.
Fast forward a few years, I was fortunate enough to have a baby boy. This time, however, I was less familiar with the interests of his world: dinosaurs, bullets, and literally all forms of transportation, especially trains.
It was during this parenting season that I watched a lot of Thomas the Train movies and found out where to find some great train experiences in the area. I also learned that the great model train enthusiasts were as locomotives for locomotives as my son. With that in mind, check out this local roundup of train-themed destinations and experiences for all ages and stages. All aboard!
American Railroad Museum
8004 N. Dallas Pkwy
Frisco, Texas 75034
Founded in 1962, the American Railroad Museum closed its location in Dallas’ Fair Park several years ago to move its collections and operations to Frisco. Outdoor walking tours are available that offer up-close views of many engines and passenger cars. Some have been restored, while others show their age.
The walkways are gravel, so comfortable shoes are a good idea. You can buy your walking tour tickets online or at the offices of the Frisco Heritage Museum.
TrainTopia Model train exhibition
8004 N. Dallas Pkwy
Frisco, Texas 75034
Immerse yourself in a miniature world of trains! The 2,500 square feet TrainTopia The exhibit at the Frisco Discovery Center showcases the topography from Arizona to Texas, New Mexico and northeastern Texas in the 1960s. The soaring Rocky Mountains, logging camps, and the sights and shops of Formerly popular curiosities are carefully crafted in miniature.
Some of TrainTopia’s many features include a bustling downtown Dallas street scene and the famous Palo Duro drive-in with a real movie. This fun, self-guided experience is suitable for all ages. Book a time slot and buy your TrainTopia tickets in advance.
Vintage Grapevine Railway
636 Main Street S.
Grapevine, Texas 76051
Hop on the SH-121 and head west to discover the Vintage Grapevine Railway. Climb aboard an authentic 1920s Victorian coach for a train ride that connects Grapevine to the Fort Worth stockyards all year round! It’s so authentic you’ll swear a train heist is going to happen anytime. Don’t miss their special theme rides, like the North Pole Express or the Easter Bunny Train.
For adults 21 and over, try the Jazz Wine Train or the Kiss Me I’m Irish Express. The Cotton Belt Depot is always busy doing something fun; it’s an experience worth the short drive west.
Trains to Northpark
8687 N Central Expressway
Dallas, Texas 75225
For 34 years, Trains at NorthPark has delighted generations of local families as one of the area’s leading Dallas vacation traditions. The seasonal exhibit is available from mid-November to early January and benefits the Ronald McDonald House in Dallas.
Visitors of all ages will be wowed by the 500 meters of railroad tracks that will take you on a whimsical train journey through America! Trains travel from New England’s fall foliage to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge with stops along the way to see New York City, Washington DC, Dallas, and the Southwestern Desert including the Grand Canyon and the Garden of the Gods. Over 70,000 visitors are entertained each season, so don’t delay buy your tickets!
Miniature railway in the forest park
1700, colonial promenade
pi. Worth, TX 76110
The Miniature railway in the forest park dates back to the 1950s and offers riders a peaceful retreat around Fort. Worth’s Trinity Park. From the depot, the train heads east, then cuts north to cross the Trinity River on one of the train’s longest trestle bridges. The complete 5 mile circuit includes two depots, six bridges and plenty of scenery. It’s an affordable little adventure that kids will remember forever. Note: the train is cash only.
Next time you’re heading to Big D for an adventure, hitchhike on the DART rail. This train might not have the same railroad vibes as the “choo choo” variety, but kids love its speed! The DART Streetcar is a great way to get to Klyde Warren Park, the Dallas Zoo, or the Dallas Art Museum. The train is affordable and will drop you directly at your destination. It gets a bit crowded near major suburban stops, but is otherwise quite open.
If you’re riding with kids, consider starting your trip at Plano’s downtown train station. It’s a nice and long walk – plus there’s a playground at this stop!
Headed towards Fort. Value? DART rail can connect you to Trinidad express train, which goes from Dallas to Fort Worth and hits a lot of fun spots in between. Consider buying a Regional day pass, which allows you to ride all day. You’ll discover many great restaurants, shops, and other fun attractions along the way!
How about renting a train for your child’s birthday? These trackless trains are a big hit with the toddler’s birthday party crowd and a surprise departure from the typical bounce house. To try Clown around the party rental, BounceNPlus Where B3Talent.