If you are interested in trains, the Twin Cities is your destination. James J. Hill–a native of Ontario, Canada–was a pioneer in Minnesota developing the Great Northern Railway and pioneering the Pacific Northwest Railway. Because of his legacy, the Twin Cities has a rich railroad history making it a great location for any train lovers.
Let me list for you what you can find here.
- Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum If you like to putter with model trains, you will enjoy a visit to the Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum. With the World Famous O Scale reproduction of the St. Anthony Falls Milling District, you will be able to see how the railways played a specific and important part in history. Another well loved exhibit is the Toy Train Exhibit which is open during the weekends. Including a Thomas the Train Engine model, this is a fun destination for everyone.
- Jackson Street Roundhouse is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays with special programming for the little ones on certain Wednesdays called Tots ‘N Trains. The historic Jackson Street Roundhouse is the former steam engine maintenance facility for the Great Northern Railway.The exhibits feature local and regional railway history, and you can experience a real operating roundhouse turntable. Exhibits of restored historic railway equipment include vintage steam engines.
- The Minnehaha Depot is located in Minnehaha park in South Minneapolis just off of Highway 55. It is open during Sundays in the summer and is an iconic piece of history. It is located in one of the prettiest settings in the Twin Cities–Minnehaha Park.
- Just across the border in Wisconsin lies the Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway, offering rides every Saturday and Sunday throughout the weekend. These beautiful trips through the scenic St. Croix Valley offer a one of a kind appreciation for vintage trains.
- The Hennepin Overland Railway Historical Society offers for the sincerest model train lovers a400 square foot layout in a nondescript building. If you are unfamiliar with Minneapolis, finding the building could be a challenge but well worth your time.
- Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store is a must stop for young train lovers and their parents. It house seven train tables and two or three different model layouts to mesmerize all youngsters (just ask me how I know)
- Your visit would not be complete without stopping by the Java Train Cafe for some coffee, ice cream, or an entire meal. With a caboose in the restaurant and a special sandbox on the patio, waiting for your food has never been more enjoyable!