Train Rides For Kids in New Jersey

The sound of a train whistle or its wheels screeching and chugging has the ability to capture kids’ imaginations. They often dream of their favorite cartoon train characters zooming down the tracks and even grow up playing with trains as toys. Taking a ride on a real live train can give kids a new perspective and experience that they will never forget.

New Jersey is home to numerous train-themed attractions and excursions, making it the perfect place for families to explore their fascination with trains. From historic train stations to outdoor model railroad museums, there is something for every family to enjoy.

Many NJ commuters use public transportation as a way to get around the state and avoid traffic, congestion and other stresses of driving. However, many people don’t realize that they can also take a scenic train ride for a fun day out with the family. NJ Transit offers a variety of options including train, bus and ferry routes that will allow families to get to parks and hiking trails without ever having to drive. In addition, kids (ages 5-11) ride free with a ticket purchased by an adult.

Located in the heart of the Meadowlands, the Whippany Railway Museum features a number of different locomotive adventures. One of their most popular train rides for kids is the 10-mile round-trip Excursion Train. This train ride follows the route of the historic Whippanong Trail through Whippany, East Hanover, Livingston and Roseland in Morris and Essex Counties. The ride includes a thrill crossing high above the Passaic River over a steel bridge. The Museum also offers themed excursion train rides throughout the year such as a Mine Train Ride and a Santa Express ride during the holiday season.

The New Jersey Museum of Transportation is another great location for children to enjoy a train ride. The museum has a large indoor model railroad display and offers outdoor train rides during the summer and on select weekends and holidays. Some of their most popular train events include a Railroader’s Weekend, Civil War Encampment and the Haunted Express.

The Northlandz Railroad, the world’s largest indoor model railroad display, is another great option for children to learn about and explore trains. This attraction is open all year and hosts various train-related events for families to enjoy including the Halloween train ride, Santa train ride, Easter Express and Christmas Train.

Kids who love dinosaurs will love the Arrow River Train at The Camden Children’s Garden. This narrow 1950’s miniature train runs along three-quarters of a mile through the park and is a lot of fun for kids. This ride is included with admission to the garden and is a must-do activity for any train-loving family.

If you’re planning a train-related trip with the family, make sure to download the new NJ Transit to Trails app that connects train and bus stops to national parks and hiking trails. The app allows you to view parks that are within proximity of a train or bus stop and includes information such as trail lengths, accessibility, amenities, parking, directions and more. The app is available for iOS and Android devices.