Chugga chugga choo choo! It is quite the challenge to find a child who isn’t fascinated by trains of all sizes and kids. I’m not sure what it is….the noise of the engine, the spiraling tracks….but trains are guaranteed to capture the attention of kids of all ages (and parents, too). Here are some great places to indulge your little train lovers:
A Feast for the Eyes
I’ve never seen a train exhibit as GORGEOUS as this one. Trains travel through pint size replicas of historic landmarks made from all natural materials. And in the winter the trains travel through a snow laden Winter Wonderland. It is truly spectacular.
Check out the wide range of trains that travel though Chicago replicas, national landmarks, and much more. Little ones may need a boost from some of the special steps throughout the exhibit so that they can peer over the railings.
You and your kiddos can explore both steam engines and antique EL trains at this off the radar museum. Be sure to bring your camera to document the HUGE size of these massive machines.
Take a step back in time and ride the trolley from the museum to a beautiful preserve. Make an afternoon of it and pack a picnic to enjoy at the end of the line.
This Schaumburg park not only has a huge train structure to climb on and play around as part of the playground, but it also has a train that kids can ride as part of the tour package. It is the perfect way to have a train themed birthday party for your little engineer.
A new addition to the zoo, kids can take a ride on the Lionel Train Adventure. Get the cameras ready for this super cute photo opp.
In addition to the fun water fountains, ponds, outdoor play space, and other interactive activities is the crown jewel of Old Orchard Mall: The train! This fun ride weaves up and down the mall courtyard and if you are lucky enough to have squirmy kiddos, you get to ride as well. Located near the Crate and Barrel store.
The Dining Car
This classic Des Plaines diner is the perfect place to take your train lover for a fun meal of diner food, including the best milk shakes I have EVER had. Just remember to bring cash, ditch the stroller, and fill out the card to be part of the birthday club—birthday kids receive a free meal every year for their special day.
These veteran owned restaurants serve healthy organic meals to train lovers from a myriad of different train tracks throughout the restaurant. Check out their locations in Barlett and Glen Elllyn (expanded from Downer’s Grove location).
Oh, and if you haven’t done so already, try to track down an opening on the Polar Express. Numerous Park Districts throughout the Chicagoland area sponsor these events but they sell out rather quickly. You can find more information here.
Have a plane lover instead? Here are some great places to get up close and personal with some enormous and beautiful planes in Chicagoland.