Railroads have been around since the mid-16th century. Trains and railroads first made their mark in the United States in 1753, when a shipment arrives in the country from England. The complete history of railroads is captured at the California State Railroad Museum. The museum started its operations in 1976 and has accommodated no less than 500,000 guests every year!
The Railroad Museum is a 100,000 square foot structure that is dedicated to everything about railroads. There are six buildings that house the different exhibits, steam engines, vehicles, and railroad cars. All museum guides, or docents, have extensive knowledge about the exhibits, so visitors can ask different types of questions while on tour.
The museum wouldn’t be complete without a real train ride. The Railroad Museum also has seasonal train rides which can take guests on a scenic ride of the area. The Sacramento Southern Railroad starts from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot and makes its way along the Sacramento River. The entire ride lasts for 40 minutes and guests can choose to stay in the El Dorado. This 1920 train car has been equipped with an air conditioning unit and guests are served with cool drinks and cookies. This train ride is available every Saturdays and Sundays, from April to September.
The museum store sells a variety of items, from Rosie the Riveter memorabilia, t-shirts, baseball caps, and posters. There are souvenirs especially for kids, such as a small model of a Streamliner train, an engineer kit for boys and girls, and a small wood whistle which has a picture of a train etched on it.
Visitors are allowed to take photos while inside the museum, but they are refrained from using tripods or other bulky camera equipment. The Museum is open every day from 10AM to 5PM, save for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.