If your child is going through a train-loving phase, then we have you covered. Maybe they want to ride a real train and yell, “All aboard” like a real conductor. Or maybe they want to view and play with elaborate trains at one of these places in Metro Detroit and Ann Abor.
We rounded up our favorite kid-friendly train activities and experiences that your whole family will enjoy.
This burger joint is a favorite for kids, but not because of the amazing food it has. Children (and adults) love coming here to see the model train go all around throughout the restaurant.
Blakes’s Orchard & Cider Mill
- Address: 17985 Armada Center Road, Armada
Enjoy a train ride through the orchard at this location. Blake’s Funland attractions include a petting farm, Amish play structures, jumping pillows, John Deere Speedway and more.
Chi-Town Union Station
Check out the world’s largest O-Scale model railroad and home to the world’s longest model train. Doors are open to the public November through early March.
Detroit Model Railroad Club
- Address: 104 N. Saginaw St., Holly
This railroad club is available to visitors on Tuesdays and open house dates. It accepts donations and has a garage sale at the open house dates and Tuesday work sessions.
Domino’s Farms Petting Farm
- Address: 3001 Earhart Road, Ann Arbor
Children can enjoy feeding the animals and exploring a caboose at this farm. The caboose at Griffith Station features bunk beds, a table with seating for four, kitchen area and a bathroom with a toilet, shower and sink.
Great Lakes Live Steamers
- Addresses: Southgate Train Park, 13901 Leroy St., Southgate and Starr Jaycee Park, 1321 W. 13 Mile Road, Royal Oak
Head to one of these locations for miniature train rides. Check the dates on the website and make sure to call ahead on that day to make sure they’re running. Weather permitting. Donations are appreciated.
- Address: 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn
Enjoy seeing the village from the historic steam or diesel locomotives. Families can travel the three-mile route and get on and off at stops throughout the village. Non-members can ride the train all day long when you buy a wristband. Members can ride all day for free.
Michigan Transit Museum
- Address: 200 E. Grand Ave., Mount Clemens
The train runs at different times of the year. The Summer Trains run June 5-Oct. 9. The Trick-Or-Treat Trains run on certain dates in October and the Holiday Express on certain dates in December. Train rides do not board at the depot, but at Joy Park.
Saline LS&MS Railroad Depot
- Address: 402 N. Ann Arbor St., Saline
This depot stands on its original site. Today, the tracks are gone and instead it has a quiet walking trail. Take pics of your kiddos in front of the red train car and take a walk around the Rentschler Farm Museum.
Tauber Family Railroad at the Detroit Zoo
- Address: 8450 W. Ten Mile Road, Royal Oak
Take a break from walking around the zoo and see the sights from the train instead. There are two stops – Chrysler Main Station (located at the front of the zoo) and Africa Station (located in the far northwest corner of the zoo).
The Flat Rock Model Train Depot & Museum
- Address: 28700 Arsenal Road, Flat Rock
Take your little train lover to this museum on select dates. Children 10 and under are free. See American Flyer and Lionel Trains, a carnival, a zoo, a circus, farms and more. All displays are created in miniature.
The Henry Ford Museum
- Address: 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn
There are plenty of large and small trains to see at this museum. Not only can you see and go into large locomotives at the railroad exhibit, you can also see the Lionel set that has been on display for 20 years.
Witch’s Hat Depot Museum
- Address: 300 Dorothy St., South Lyon
The Caboose here dates back to 1926 and the interior is furnished as if it were used back then. Make sure to also check out the Witch’s Hat Depot (named because the roof looks like a witch’s hat), the Freight House, Little Village Chapel, Washburn School and the Gazebo.
Another great one to add to your list would be the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso; they have the original 1225 train which was used as the model for the train in Polar Express, and also a great display of items from throughout the history of railroading, so that kids and adults can see what it was like to be part of that world back from the 1800s to today. They also have a variety of working model trains running throughout the building, and a dedicated mostly volunteer staff who is very knowledgable and friendly. Thanks!