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“Spectacular layouts - behind panes of Plexiglas” 4 of 5 stars
Review of San Diego Model Railroad Museum

San Diego Model Railroad Museum
1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101-1621 (Balboa Park)
619 696 0199
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$80*
and up
Ranked #25 of 192 Attractions in San Diego
Type: Specialty Museums, Museums
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Attraction details
Owner description: One of the world's largest model railroad museums features a scale model railway that replicates San Diego's tracks.
Vancouver, Canada
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
“Spectacular layouts - behind panes of Plexiglas”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2012

We stumbled upon this place by accident while walking around Balboa Park. As avid model railroaders we could not pass it up.

Admission is quite inexpensive at $12. There are wall displays about the history of model railroading and a vast selection of layouts from N scale to gigantic scale.

Our only wish is that the displays were more interactive. We could watch layouts and the people operating them but there was no hands on opportunity. We can understand not permitting the public to interact with such elaborate and expensive layouts but we would have really appreciated more access to the people who designed and ran the displays, and maybe just a little bit of hands on somewhere along the way.

Nevertheless this was the most spectacular display we have ever seen and we got a lot of ideas how to build on our own layout at home.

Visited January 2012
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146 reviews from our community

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san diego
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
42 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“What a great surprise for our whole family”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2012

We went to a birthday party here recently. The party was for a 1 year old, but all ages attended. Everyone loved the place - adults, teens, kids, toddlers. Something for everyone. An old-fashioned, relaxing, interesting place to spend an hour or two.

Visited December 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Impressive”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2012

The layouts are crafted with such skill and attention to detail. Again, my husband appreciates this more than I do, but I enjoyed my visit.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson, Arizona
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Loved it!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2012

This is a great museum! Our boys ages 6 and 8 really enjoyed watching the trains. The workers were very friendly and willing to answer questions. The Lego display was great fun.

Visited December 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Train Fantasyland tucked away in a Balboa Park Basement”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2011

This Museum is one of the only attractions in Balboa Park that captivates toddler boys starting at 2 years old. We have been taking our now 4 year old son here since he was almost 2 years old. They have a room with train tables with toy Thomas trains for kids to play with. This room is packed with parents sitting on chairs and little boys ages 2-5 playing with trains. It is probably the only place parents can rest while their young boys are entertained fully during a trip to Balboa Park. The toy train room is the biggest treat of all. Volunteers bring their own personal trains. You always get a great surprise. This Museum is so well done for train enthusiasts because of the dedicated volunteers. They also do great special exhibits for holidays. Special events with Lego Trains round off the fun. They do offer a birthday venue and library. The gift shop is the stop for young boys to pick out a new train toy. Great manageable place, that is small and intimate. Most young children cry when they have to go. It is the ultimate train fantasyland.

Visited December 2011
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