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.