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“Next Best Thing!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of California State Railroad Museum

California State Railroad Museum
111 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
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Ranked #1 of 171 things to do in Sacramento
Certificate of Excellence
Activities: Arts and crafts
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Attraction details
Owner description: North America's largest railroad museum draws more than 500,000 train enthusiasts annually.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Winters, California
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Next Best Thing!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2013

Aa a child, I was privileged to visit a Southern Pacific rail yard. This is definitely the next best thing! We took our grandchildren who were fascinated, but the adults found the outing just as exciting. It's a wonderful hands-on museum, so we all enjoyed climbing on engines to play engineer and walking through cars such as those for dining and sleeping. Does anyone but me remember the thrill of sleeping in a Pullman berth?

The museum is vast, and one should probably allow at least 90 minutes for a visit. It is possible to take a guided tour or to visit self-guided, with helpful docents stationed throughout.

Our family was not as excited about the toy train collection, but we do have a layout at home that may have dampened the enthusiasm. However, the models pale in comparison to all the full-sized, beautifully restored, cars and engines. There is a nice shop on the premises where once can purchase interesting books and posters, as well as train-related items.

Located in the tourist center of Old Sacramento, this museum is close to numerous reasonably priced family restaurants. You may also want to book an actual train excursion that leaves from a nearby location.

Visited December 2012
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1,151 reviews from our community

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Wailuku, Hawaii
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“A must see for all visitors to Sacramento”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2013

This is a must see for anyone visiting Sacramento, even if you are not "into" trains. It's a great hands on history lesson with tours about the origins of train development and travel in the Western U.S. There is a large collection of restored trains, Pullman cars, postal cars, and a toy train collection upstairs. Great for families and everyone else too!

Visited October 2013
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Folsom, California, United States
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“The Gem of Sacramento”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2013

Wow! This museum is incredible. The displays are well done and the trains are first rate. I honestly think we enjoy going more than the kids! Plan on 60 quick minutes or 90 minutes to do some of the reading / learning. You can't do much better if you are visiting the Sacramento area.

Visited July 2013
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Bend, Oregon
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
“Excellent museum, but the movie needs work”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2013

This was actually my fourth or fifth trip to the museum, and it continues to impress. The exhibits are really extraordinary. My personal favorite is the cab-forward steam locomotive, with is truly awesome. They've opened up the cab for display as well, so you can sit in the engineer's seat and get a real feel for what it was like to drive this monster! The rocking 1930's Pullman car is also a real treat. For kids of all ages, the Lionel and Buddy L toy train exhibit on the second floor is incredible!!

The only negative comment I could make is about the movie. It's so California-politically-correct it's almost laughable. It's also due for a remake, since it's the same one they've been showing for many, many years.

That aside, this is a really great museum for the entire family. And as one other reviewer said - plan on setting aside plenty of time. There's a lot to see!!!

Highly educational, and highly recommended!

Visited September 2013
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San Francisco
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
49 attraction reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
319 helpful votes 319 helpful votes
“Fantastic museum for any train enthusiast”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2013

I have visited this museum at least half a dozen times in the past, and I must say each time I learn something new here. What is great about this museum is its knowledgeable docents who would patiently spend time with visitors to tell about the history behind the many exhibits. There is no doubt all of the exhibits and artifacts are wonderful to look at and experience, but to get a deeper level of appreciation you would really need to have a docent tell you more about them.

My recommendation when you visit the museum is to give yourself at least 2-3 hours to experience everything. Guided tours are given several times a day, so make sure to take advantage of one. Ask the docents to tell you about the exhibits, if you'd like to learn more about them. This is a great museum for kids also (we have 4 and 7 year olds), as there's a giant model train display area, as well as a play area with lots of Thomas and Chugginton sets.

Visited October 2013
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