When you visit the Galveston Railroad Museum, a few things you need to bring along are good walking shoes to see the many train cars, your camera and your imagination. Because while these cars may be standing still now, it doesn’t take much to imagine how they use to sound, heading down the tracks across Texas and the country! Step aboard, feel the salt wind on your face and enjoy the moment, then remember to be thankful for your car parked in the free parking lot, with heated seats and a dvd player to keep the kids entertained on a long road trip!
The Harborside Express runs a 15-ish minute ride on select Saturdays from 11am – 2pm, weather permitting, at a cost of $5/person. It does not run during Mardi Gras.
The Galveston Railroad Museum is hosting The Polar Express! Set to the soundtrack of the motion picture, passengers will relive the magic of the classic story as they are whisked away on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ for a magical one-hour trip to meet Santa.
Know Before You Go
Outside food and drinks are not allowed. There is not a concession area, but there are plenty of restaurants along the Strand to visit before or after your tour.
As I said, parking is FREE in the parking lot BEHIND the museum, with museum admission. We were starving when we arrived, and had to grab something to eat at La Kings Confectionery just a few doors down on the Strand before our visit, so we paid the $5 at the paid parking lot next door to the museum.
While Google says the average visit time is 1.5 hours, we stayed all afternoon, and they literally had to come ask us to leave, twice, at closing time.
My favorite engine at the museum, which once ran through East Texas from 1905 through the 1930’s, and the abandoned rail runs through our property outside of Trinity. On walks we can often still find old rail spikes buried in the sand. Nicknamed the Wobble, Bobble, Turnover and Stop may explain it’s short-lived run.
They have some very old engines you can climb aboard.
I’m sure it stated not to climb on this somewhere….
Where my kids ran around looking for Platform 9 3/4, because this is as close as you can get in Texas!
A side note for Harry Potter fans, the Kings Cross Railway Station in London, where Harry and the other students depart for Hogwarts, actually has a Platform 9 3/4, with a fun photo op for going through the wall, along with a Harry Potter gift shop? If you HAVE to leave Texas, this would be an awesome adventure. Click HERE to read more about it!
This is about the only proof I have that my kids were with me this day, because they immediately took OFF to explore the trains, and I rarely saw them, although constantly could hear them! In more than one instance I heard my youngest pretending to shoot the train robbers he imagined chasing the train on horseback….
And that didn’t appear to be against the rules!
While my children love the cabooses, I love the engines!
And the old embellishments.
My children’s biggest regret was that there wasn’t an open boxcar to explore! My daughter wanted to practice jumping inside like a dauntless in Divergent, while my youngest wanted to set up house like one of the Boxcar Children.
Did you know that the Antlers Hotel in Kingsland offers luxury overnight accommodations inside a caboose, a train car and even a old train depot? I’m not sure they are “kid-friendly”, but click HERE to read more!
In the quiet of the Post Office Car, I could just imagine what it use to be like, mail bags stuffed with correspondence from loved ones far away, love letters from soldiers on foreign lands during the Great War…. it was really quite romantic!
This car was built in 1914, and was used in the 1998 Matthew McConaughey movie, “The Newton Boys”, based on the true story of the Newton Gang, a family of bank robbers from Uvalde, Tx.
You can also see sleeper cars and dining cars.
The museum host many events throughout the year, including Railroad Days and Santa Days in December!
In one of the adjacent buildings there are rooms full of model trains!
Housed in the old Santa Fe Railroad Station, the museum has several of these “ghost” standing about, reminders of a time when people traveled the country via train, they are incredible photo ops!
My kids love our goofy gift shop pics, and I know I took one, but somehow it wasn’t there when we got home! A small shop is located inside the museum, selling shirts, toys, trains hats and whistles.
After your visit, be sure to leave time to explore all along The Strand! Yaga’s Cafe is a favorite for burgers, and you can’t miss all the fun costumes at Synister on the Strand! The BEST gift shops on the island, for t-shirts to art work, are all along in the Strand District!
Things To Do in Galveston
Seawolf Park on Pelican Island offers a playground, fishing pier and is home to the American Undersea Warfare Center, with a submarine, the USS Cavalla and a destroyer escort, the USS Stewart, open for tours. Click HERE to read more.
Galveston Party Boats offers fun 4-hour, 8-hour and even 3 day fishing trips! Click HERE to read more!
The Galveston Pleasure Pier reaches out over the crashing waves of Galveston Island, and is filled with fun amusement park rides! Click HERE to visit their website.
If you’re looking for a true tourist dinner, then you can’t beat the Galveston Rainforest Cafe, with an erupting volcano every 30 minutes after dark, and a fun jungle-ride.
The Harbor House, located on Pier 21 near the cruise terminals. Click HERE to visit their website.
Galveston Railroad Museum
2602 Santa Fe Place, Galveston
Click HERE to visit their website.
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