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San Diego Model Railroad Museum, San Diego, California

1649 El Prado Suite 4, San Diego, California

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Submitted by: Sheryl H.

we came here during the holidays so there was a special section where the trains were decorated with christmas lights and snow. i loved seeing all the classic sets that were beautifully hand crafted and REALLY expensive as well as the random ones (toys) you may recognize from you childhood. the people were really friendly and were happy to ...

Submitted by: Kate G.

This is a little boy's paradise!  So many model trains, so little time!  Everyone knows a little boy who loves Brio sets and would love to have his own choo choo set going around his room, right?  This is the place to take him to! This is also a great place for anyone else who wants to come see some pretty cool model railroads.  Everyone who works/volunteers here is so enthusiastic about model railroads.  They're pretty cool and a lot of fun to look at.  The gift shop here has Thomas the Tank Engine souvenirs.. which could be a good, or a very, very bad thing depending on how much cash you have in your pocketbook.  My little brother loved this place.. and I'm pretty sure my poor parents spent way too much mo...

Submitted by: Chad S.

After a less than spectacular trip to the San Diego Automotive Museum, my girlfriend and I crossed the plaza to see the Model Railroad Museum.  I've a childhood love for model railroads as well as cars, and after the first museum I wasn't expecting to find much at the second. I was so very, very wrong - and quite sufficiently impressed. The Model Railroad Museum is run by volunteers from the local model railroading clubs, and there are a number of amazingly impressive displays set up.  On entering, I was rewarded with the sight of a hundred-car HO-Scale freight train being pulled by five diesel-electric locomotives.  It was literally more train cars on a single train than I'd ever seen displayed in one place...

Submitted by: Raquel C.

Do you have a child who loves trains? Then you MUST come here. Better yet, support the museum and get an annual pass. My husband loves taking our son here once a week or so to watch the trains. They even have a cool area with train tables for the kids. I am considering hosting his...

Submitted by: Guy C.

It's a sweet little place.  I never fully understood the hobby, but my Dad loved the hobby dearly. It took me a long time to come to understand that what is done here is yet another form of art, built from imagination and intricately detailed.  There is a lot of work done here, and a lot of sets to see.  The people who run the museum have a clear love for their craft, and it shows.  It's nice to see that level of enthusiasm for anything.  And it's very family friendly, meaning anyone can truly get into it and "play".  It's a very accessible museum. My Dad's passed on since that visit, and I can't pass this place without thinking of him, or that time.  But it's a wonderful place for Fathers to take their sons...

Submitted by: Kristen J.

My dad is a model train hobbyist and told me about this place. I went there thinking it would totally be something for kids (which it is to some degree) but found that it is also for adults and really enjoyed it. My husband says it was his favorite thing we visited at Balboa Park actually. It is great seeing the attention to detail and passion the builders and operators of all the different guage/scale model railroad layouts possess. They really love what they do and you can see that both in the beautifully constructed model layouts but also in their enthusiasm to talk about the trains/landscape. It was awesome and I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes things that are made well by people with a lov...

Submitted by: Gabrielle O.

My family absolutely loves this museum!  It's really fun and easy to walk around.  Entry fee is very reasonable and there ar...

Submitted by: Amy S.

Taking care of one of my favorite three year olds he requested to go to the Model Railroad Museum and thanks to his parents having member passes, entrance was a breeze! The train sets are very elaborate and the cityscape is very detailed! It reminded me of my great-uncle's train collection that had the entire basement devoted to displaying them. Every surface in the museum is covered with some amazing train-moving contraption that keeps people and children coming back for more. I thought it was a great idea that they cater to little children or those with height challenges with the stairs that lead to a little platform every few feet, that way no one in the family misses out on the action. The informational ...

Submitted by: marilyn n.

I'm not a big fan trains but my students love it! Especially after reading the Polar Express they were super excited to go here.   The lady at the ticket counter was very nice and didn't charge any of my staff or volunteers and the kids only paid $0.50 each.  Olga who runs the Mac's kids corner also gave us a tour and pointed out little things we would have missed.   We went on a Friday so we got to play in the "Mac's Kids corner" which is open Tuesday and Friday from 11:00am-3:00pm, except every first Tuesday.   Here, they can listening to stories, playing games, operate their own trains, make railroad tracks on a computer program, dress up like a conductor and everyone left with a cute paper conductor hat....

Submitted by: SubPrimeTime T.

A Great Discovery in Balboa Park. Anyone that owned a Lionel train set as a child will enjoy spending an hour here. It's focus in on the local area routs with a lot of supporting history. The topography exhibits represent the San Diego and Imperial counties nicely. On the weekends, there are several volunteers that love talk about the various trains (Gauges) and the different railroad companies of the past and present. There is also a Thomas the Train area where kids can play on the wooden sets. Unfortunately, you might up ending spending lot of time here if you have young kids. Tip - If you look closely enough you can find some humorous "Easter eggs" in the various towns and landscapes. There's a shark in a...

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