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“Avoid this sad museum” 1 of 5 stars
Review of The Gold Coast Railroad Museum

The Gold Coast Railroad Museum
12450 S.W. 152nd Street, Miami, FL 33177
+1 305-253-0063
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Ranked #96 of 283 things to do in Miami
Attraction details
South Florida
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Avoid this sad museum”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

The museum seems to have fallen on hard times. Gold Coast Railroad Museum was an awful experience. Dirty, unstaffed, dangerous. The place should be condemned. Rusted trains, moldy interiors, many of the trains were taped off with crime scene tape to keep people away. For good reason. Model trains did not work in model train exhibit room. The lights were off in the model train exhibit and we plugged them in from a cord dangling from ceiling. Garbage all over. Old TV sets and VCR's for presentations not working or turned on. Discarded furniture, construction equipment laying all over. Grounds unkempt, to put it kindly. Dead trees, grass, weeds everywhere. Very sad place.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheFold, Manager at The Gold Coast Railroad Museum, responded to this review, February 17, 2013

Thank you for your review of our property. While your review of the property is negative, what you highlight is what some people want. The Gold Coast Railroad Museum was founded in 1957. At the time, we had about 5 pieces of railroad equipment. From 1957 to even today, we are still a completely independent non-profit organization. We recieve very little in public grants, and even fewer in private grants. We recieve no tax dollars, and are for the most part, self-funded. In that aspect, we are much like a club. Today we have approximately 50 cars on the property. The majority of these cars are not in our public collection. They are awaiting restoration by our volunteer staff. However, being in South Florida, anything that is steel and sitting outside, rusts. The majority of our equipment requires to be completely repainted every 5 years or less.

As you highlight in your review, there are many trains that are indeed "dirty, rusted and moldy". Our public collection, which is basically what's under the shed, are the only pieces that are truly open to the public.

However, unlike other museums, particularly railroad museums, we do not limit the public to this small area, and we let them roam the property. In addition, we do let the public go into any railcar they wish. This is extremely rare in any museum. Because of this, we have to put up caution tape on the pieces of equipment that are waiting restoration and are simply too dangerous for people to go into. Many people tear them down, and go in anyways. These are the rusty/moldy/dirty pieces of equipment that you describe. Once you go outside the shed, you should not go inside any of the equipment. There are signs and indicators instructing you of such. However, we don't have the staff in place to police everyone. We expect people to be responsible enough.

I do not know at approximately what time you visited, but if you went into the models after we were closed for the day, then you would experience what you did. The lights, models and TVs would be off.

As far as the landscaping, you're absolutely right. We are sitting on a property of 50 acres, and one of our 6 staff members only job is to landscape. He does it 40 hours a week.

I'm not familiar with the construction equipment or discarded furniture you describe, but I will look for it.

Overall, thank you for your review. Whether positive, or negative. I'm always looking for outside feedback from people.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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51 reviews from our community

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English first
Granbury, Texas
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Something your kids would love!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013

We went here last minute and it had closed at 4:00 but the young gentleman let us look around quickly. I wish we would have made it in time because it is a very interesting place. It has a lot of little areas for your kids to play. I would recommend it.

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Actually surprised”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

I was pleasantly surprised with my visit to The GCRRM. My brother had recommended it so we decided to take the kids on a Saturday. Initially arriving you notice that the site is unkempt and once inside you get the feel of a "train graveyard". Then you start asking questions. You're in a museum... trust me... ask questions. You find out the history of the museum itself and the hit it took during Hurricane Andrew. You then realize that in Miami there is almost no support for museums. The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. The trains themselves are in various states of restoration. It's quite a feeling to sit in some of these seats. I took a nap on the Zephyr and it was awesome. All I can advise is that you go and touch our history. Walk through train cars that have seen thousands of faces, some common and some great. Understand history and learn from it. Oh and they have a pretty nifty gift shop for the kids too!

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chesapeake Bay, MD
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“A fun surprise!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

We visited the railroad museum on a whim while visiting Miami New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, 2012.
We took our twin boys who are over 2.5 years old and the weather was perfect - not too hot, not too cold, with a nice warm breeze. There are lots to explore here. Lots of trains and tracks. You can walk around forever. There are some covered trains under the NAS hanger, and a separate 3rd buidling that has the toy electronic trains/tracks. This separate building has lots of wooden Thomas Train tables to play with. My boys did not want to leave this building. It was not crowded the day of our visit. We climbed up and down many trains. I loved the double decker train all the way in the back. It looks like they use this one for the Thomas Train Days. My kids loved pushing all the engineer buttons.
Bathroom facilities are fine. Be sure to wash hands and face before eating. There's a deck to eat. We only had ice cream snacks here. There is minimal food. My suggestion is bring your own lunch.
We did not explore the large, covered sand box, and we missed the kiddie train ride.
Admission price was right. Our kids were free, and with AAA card we only had to pay for 1 adult price.

Visited December 2012
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Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“American history you can feel and touch”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2012

The railroads played an important part in shaping what is today the United States. This museum gives you a wonderful taste of what long distance travel must have been like in the first half of the 20th century, before the advent of commercial air flight. The museum is struggling to upkeep itself, but some of the pieces on view make the journey more than worthwhile.

Take for instance the Ferdinand Magellan railcar that was effectively a predecessor on wheels of Air Force One. Used intensively by President Roosevelt, it is said that Winston Churchill wrote his famous “Iron Curtain” speech at the car’s dining room table. You can feel the weight of history as you are shown through the railcar which was also used by Presidents Truman and Eisenhower.

Another remarkable set of carriages make up an original 1950’s California Zephyr which used to cover the route from Chicago to Oakland, California in two and a half days, from 1949 to its demise in 1970. You can sit in the Vista Dome end carriage and get an impression of what it must have been like to travel through mountains and valleys in wonderful comfort.

A more sombre aspect of US history can be found in a passenger car from the segregated era. It had signs which could be turned over, indicating whether a passenger area was reserved for “WHITE” or “COLORED”. See my photos, and go touch this history.

It is a shame that the museum does not have enough funds to maintain in pristine condition these original and irreplaceable jewels of US history. It is unique in the Miami area and well worth a visit.

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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