If you’re into trains, New Jersey has plenty of opportunities for you to explore. From miniature railroads to theme-based train rides, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a fun family outing, or an exciting destination for a birthday party, there are several ways to get your rail fix in the Garden State.
A trip to the Morris County Museum of History in Morris Township, NJ, is a wonderful way to experience the history of the area’s railroads. The museum features a large train layout and a gift shop. It’s open noon to 4pm every Sunday. You’ll find a variety of railroad memorabilia, appliances, tools and railroad china on display.
Another great train destination is the Whippany Railway Museum. Located in Morris County, it boasts the largest collection of American-built standard gauge steam locomotives in the state. This museum is open on Sundays, April through October. For over 30 years, the museum has been educating the public about the railroad’s history and the importance of preserving it. Through a positive public attitude and ongoing donations, the museum has made major strides in acquiring and restoring railroad equipment.
Another train attraction in New Jersey is the Black River & Western Railroad. Owned by a local railroad enthusiast, the railroad connects towns from north to south, and is available for rides all season. Guests can ride a vintage steam locomotive or enjoy the Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch. Pricing and schedules vary by event.
In addition to these trains, New Jersey has a number of model railroad museums. These models showcase the history of rail travel and the evolution of railroad equipment. Many of the models are G-scale, which makes them a delight to explore. There are hundreds of buildings and towns to see, as well as many dollhouses. Each museum features a unique style, which is a fun way to learn about the past.
There’s also the New Jersey Museum of Transportation, a unique attraction located inside Allaire State Park. Founded in 1985, the museum specializes in the preservation of historic railroad equipment. Currently, the organization is working to preserve the largest collection of New Jersey-centric historic locomotives.
Several of the museums in New Jersey have special themed train rides, including the Easter Bunny Express. During the holidays, you can take a ride through the holiday lights or visit the North Pole. While the New Jersey Museum of Transportation offers excursions along the narrow gauge tourist railroad, many New Jersey zoos, aquariums and other locations offer seasonal train rides as well.
One of the most popular museum traditions is the Easter Bunny Express, which is a classic red wooden caboose. The Morris Museum has its own version of this train set, which is a 300-square-foot work of art that volunteers spend their time exhibiting.
In addition to the numerous trains, you can also visit the museum’s miniature fantasy lands. This museum has hundreds of buildings to explore, as well as a dollhouse and train shops. As a matter of fact, the museum is one of the world’s largest model railroad museums.