Railroad adventures for kids and adults await in the greater St. Louis area and surrounding counties in Missouri and Illinois. St. Louis is home to the Eads Bridge, the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi connecting the east and west railroads. Union Station was once the largest, most beautiful railroad terminal in the United States, hosting more than 100,000 passengers daily. It is not surprising that St. Louis has preserved its railroad history offering a diverse assortment of railroad adventures.
The St. Louis Museum of Transportation
3015 Barrett Station Road
St. Louis, MO 63122
St. Louis’ Museum of Transportation is an exciting educational adventure. The Museum has more than 190 railroad exhibits. Among these are 70+ locomotives, including the mid-1800’s Boston & Providence “Daniel Nason” and Union Pacific’s #4006 (“Big Boy”), the largest steam locomotive ever built. The Museum of Transportation encompasses 129 acres and includes “one of the two first man-made railroad tunnels west of the Mississippi River, four miles of switching and exhibition track” and 10 buildings to house its nationally acclaimed research library of transportation-related memorabilia and documents. The Museum also offers train rides on a miniature train that tours the museum grounds.
The Wabash Frisco and Pacific Railroad Association, Inc.
199 Grand Ave.
Glencoe, MO 63038
Just 25 minutes from downtown St. Louis, families will find a steam-powered train. The Wabash Frisco and Pacific Railroad Association operate an open-air passenger train powered by a miniature replica steam engine. This enjoyable scenic tour of the Meramec River bluffs and a portion of Castlewood State Park travel two miles of track and lasts about 30 minutes. Train adventures start at 11 a.m. and trains depart every 20 minutes.
St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railway
Intersection of Highway 61 & 25
Jackson, MO 63755
For a great railroad experience, travel about 100 miles south to Jackson, Missouri. St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railway runs a full-size engine, passenger cars, dining cars and a red caboose. The train runs April through December, hosting themed train adventures for all ages. You can choose from the Mystery Dinner Ride, Chocolate Lovers Express, Zoo Train with small animals supplied by Lazy L Safari Park, Dr. Seuss Train, Gospel Show and dinner and several more. For a complete schedule, click here.
Little Toot Railroad Company
255 Lake Road
Flora, IL 62839
After about a two-hour drive west of St. Louis, you’ll come upon Flora, Illinois and the Little Toot Railroad Company. Little Toot Railroad is a weekend adventure your family will enjoy. Little Toot miniature railroad, pulled by an authentically scaled steam engine, rolls through the scenic Charley Brown Park. The railroad excursion travels over three trestles; one is 15 feet off the ground. The Little Toot Railroad includes a large depot, waiting platform, a 60′ x 80′ car shed/maintenance building, a functional crossing gates at two grade crossings, a store and miniature trains available for kid play.
St. Louis Union Station
1820 Market St.
St. Louis, MO 63103
St. Louis Union Station was “once the largest and busiest passenger rail terminal in the world.” The National Historic Landmark has free guided tours and hosts the Memories Museum, also free, featuring model trains, railroad china and silverware, uniforms, timetables and memorabilia from Union Station’s history as a functioning major railway hub. In addition to the amazing architecture with its stained glass windows, arched entryways and marble stairs and balconies, Union station has the Whispering Arch marked with a plaque at the second floor north entrance to St. Louis Union Station. The Whispering Arch is a mystery kids will enjoy.
Pennee Struckman is an accounting professional in St Louis, MO. She currently writes for Examiner.com on topics related to parenting teenagers and living well on a budget in St. Louis. She is also a professional financial management writer with articles and white papers published by a well-known information firm. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.