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“Needs a Big Update”

Texas Transportation Museum
Ranked #111 of 266 things to do in San Antonio
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Attraction details
Owner description: This museum houses a collection of motor vehicles ranging from fire engines to chuck wagons.
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Needs a Big Update”
Reviewed July 7, 2012

We took our young grandsons to "see trains", and although they had fun making the visit worthwhile, we found the place needing a big update and especially an overall improvement in quality of presentation. Based on advertising and the web site we expected much more from this place for the price ($8 adults and $5 children), and found many things were not operating even at noon although they supposedly opened at 1000. By the way, they have a very good web site that contains much detail about their collection.

The kids enjoyed the train ride -- a 10 minute train ride on a real train - out a 1/3 mile track and back; nothing too exciting, but where else can kids ride a real train. They have an old passenger train (stationary) that you can walk through (car with sleeping compartments, bathroom dining room, and kitchen; car with seats that convert to beds including pull-down beds, ladies & mens lounges; and steam locomotive and tender). Although these are old and in need of cleaning and some repairs, it is a good display of railroading in that era, especially due to the personal/human items displayed as if these cars were occupied by passengers.

There is a building that houses some old cars and old fire trucks along with a very large HO scale railroad setup as well as other sizes of railroad setups. Unfortunately, several major additions are underway to the HO setup, and no trains were running until around 1:00. There is a larger "G" gauge minature train of Thomas the Tank Engine and Percy (possibly others) set up outside that wasn't running until after 1200, and even then consisted only of the engines. This train layout is very large and has potential, but has a very unfinished appearance. The cars, trucks, and fire engines of the museum collection are also packed into this building, but are too close together for a person to look at them very well (some even had display cases pushed in front of them, partially hiding the vehicle). The model railroad setups and vehicles have significant potential, but the volunteers seem to be more interested in adding more track/displays rather than improving the quality of the existing displays.

This museum is run by volunteers, and mostly it seems to be a site where a couple of model railroading groups can enjoy their hobby, and enthusiasts of full-size railroading can try to preserve some old rolling stock and support equipment. Most likely the volunteer staff are overwhelmed with the immediate work and not museum professionals, so there seems to be a
minimalist approach to museum-quality presentation and preservation. It appears the greatest need is for large donations of money and more volunteers (and possibly paid staff) to maintain it and make it what was intended. They especially need professional quality presentation and attention to items that have been neglected (grassburrs along the paths, dusty displays).

Maybe as time goes on it will become something special, but for now you should be aware of its limitations, and you might want to ask about status of exhibits before going to ensure all model railroads are operating on the day you plan to visit.

Visited July 2012
Thank BulldogUsa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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33 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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English first
San Antonio, Texas, United States
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
“Outdated place.”
Reviewed January 7, 2012

We took our children, to get the kids out of the house. The place looked like it had been nice at one time, but neglected for way to long. It was old and run down. The kids did enjoy the train ride, though short. The place is run by volunteers and sorely needs a large monitory donation with some paid staff to bring it back to life. My husband enjoyed the old vehicles in the building behind most of all.

Visited February 2011
Thank Kailey L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Total Let Down”
Reviewed September 25, 2011

I expected so much more from this place.... we paid 8 bucks a person to get in and nothing worked! It was a self guided tour. They had an old passenger train that you could walk on, which was pretty cool. There was a minature train set up outside that wasn't running and didn't look like it had been for a while. There was another place that had some old cars and old fire trucks it was ok but smelled of gasoline. They also had a model train set up which wasn't working. We were told there was an electrical problem that would be fixed later in the day. Then there was a 5 - 10 minute train ride on a real train but it was out a 1/3 mile and back, nothing too excting but our 4 yo loved it so that was the only thing that made this worth it, the smile on my kiddos face! This place is run by volunteers some who seems to really like what they do others not so much. They said they open at 10am and it was well past that before the doors were open. It also appears to be a work in progress.... maybe as time goes on it will become something special but for now, I would avoid this.

Visited September 2011
1 Thank TexasHoustonfoodie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nicholasville, Kentucky
Level 6 Contributor
256 reviews
151 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 170 helpful votes
“Pass if you are from out of town.”
Reviewed February 18, 2011

I could not give this a two. But it is not up to snuff with other similar places. There are a lot of train places throughout the country. Since Thomas the Tank Engine, there has been a rebirth in railway. Which is fantastic. I mean who does not like trains? You can climb on one and it will take short trip out and then go backwards. Almost all train places we have been to, does this. Which drives me nuts. But this train ride was even shorter than other places. The building that had a couple different modes of transportation and was small and uninviting. We also visited at Christmas and in the evening it is decorated with lights. A slight upgrade and not too far from Wincrest if you wish to see the lights. One big bonus is that dogs are allowed. We brought our small dog and he was even allowed on the train ride. But there is simply not enough here to warrent a recommendation.

Visited March 2010
Thank KentuckyDB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brownsville, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“An Interesting Place”
Reviewed March 16, 2009

We spent a recent afternoon at this museum and enjoyed it. The highlight is a short ride in an old train which my son really enjoyed. It may not be as thrilling for adults but if you have kids they will surely enjoy it. They also have two old unrestored sleeper car trains which you can walk through as well as many old vehicles which are hands off.....simply to look at. Another part of the museum includes a working miniature train set. The museum is operated entirely by volunteers and runs on donations.

2 Thank Momasaurus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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