There’s something about the rhythmic sound of a train chugging along that appeals to children and adults alike. If you’re a railroad enthusiast or the caregiver of one, you’re in luck! Richmond has many opportunities to see, learn, and even ride trains!
Ashland Train Fun
Only about 20 minutes from RVA, Ashland, Virginia is a popular spot for train spotting. This quaint town has a charming downtown area, fitting for trainiacs of all ages. While in Ashland, a few must stops include:
Whether your interest is railroad history, or you have a little one in tow who loves just loves trains, the Ashland Museum is ideal for any railroad buff. My son loves to play with the large train table, while my daughter enjoys sitting in an actual, former train car.
Ashland Visitor’s Center
Pop into the Ashland Visitor’s Center, which doubles as the Ashland Train Station. The staff love visitors and often dole out railroad and/or Ashland souvenirs for children (sunglasses, color changing cups). From this spot, you can watch trains go by. (Tip: Pack noise-blocking headphones for those who are sensitive to loud noises.)
Tiny Tim’s Trains & Toys
Searching for the perfect gift, or hoping to add another train car to your collection? Then, you must stop at Tiny Tim’s Trains & Toys. This unique toystore is full of train related toys, games, and even clothing!
Ashland Train Day
Lastly, the town of Ashland hosts Ashland Train Day every spring. This free event includes the chance to ride on a small train, model trains, singing storytellers bringing railroad history to life, and much more! The event will be held on April 27, 2024.
Holiday Train Experiences
Trains are an integral part of the holidays for many – whether it’s traveling by railroad, reading The Polar Express, or having a train that runs around the holiday tree. Take your family to these places to further enjoy trains around the holidays.
Great Big Greenhouse
During holiday weekends, Great Big Greenhouse has a free model train display. Taking my children to see this train is a tradition for our family. While you’re here, grab some free popcorn and get your photo with Santa! Great Big Greenhouse shares hours and information on social media.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Everyone knows about Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s stunning holiday lights, but did you know there’s also a train display? My family loves to walk through the GardenFest of Lights, and then check out the train display to warm up from the cold.
North Pole Express
Want a magical ride to the North Pole? Ride the Crozet Trolley, which also doubles as the Polar Express straight to the North Pole. This holiday train excursion includes a 20 minute train ride, reindeer games at “The Polar Express,” and the return trolley ride. Tickets typically go on sale in mid-October.
Science Museum of Virginia
Held annually, Science Museum of Virginia hosts a large model railroad show during Thanksgiving weekend. In addition to the large display, children may ride the Teddy Bear Express.
Train Displays around RVA
Run by volunteers who are also railroad experts, River City 3 Railers run train display shows throughout the area. These detailed model trains are impressive and appeal to all ages. Often, the shows are free. For the most current list of shows, follow River City 3 Railers on social media.
With so many ways to enjoy trains around RVA, the hardest thing may be deciding which one to choo-choose to do first!