Forney Museum of Transportation (credit: CBS)
Do you love trains? The lure of the locomotive is something that has been popular with people since the invention of the steam engine in the 18th century. Today, there may be many more ways to get around the country but trains maintain their romance, intrigue and allure. Even children are getting into the train action, with model train sets still popular and plenty of places for children to learn about and ride on trains. In fact, there are several world-famous spots right in Colorado that feature trains. Take a look at these great spots for the locomotive lover in your life.
Forney Museum of Transportation
4303 Brighton Blvd.
Denver, CO 80216
The Forney Transportation Museum is an impressive collection showcasing the history of transportation in America, and of course there are plenty of things for rail lovers to see. You can take a look at railcars, cabooses, a dining car and coaches as well as the world’s largest steam locomotive – the Big Boy Locomotive and the Forney Locomotive. This is a great place to start your education about trains and all the amazing locomotives that have been in operation throughout the United States. Kids will delight in looking at the huge train cars and you’ll have a great time wandering the museum. Of course, there are also plenty of other exhibits including some amazing cars, like Amelia Earhart’s Gold Bug Kissel. There is a lot to see here, so make sure to give yourself plenty of time to see it.
Colorado Railroad Museum
17155 W. 44th Ave.
Golden, CO 80403
For children, there is probably no better place in the state of Colorado to enjoy railroads, trains and other locomotive fun than the Colorado Railroad Museum. The museum has a 15-acre railyard with more than 100 steam, diesel, passenger cars, cabooses and more. There is even a delightful HO Model Railroad and a G-scale garden railway for those that love model trains. You and the family can hop on the Galloping Goose and ride the rails or just browse the museum and all of the amazing cars. Plus, there is a lot that kids can climb in or on, so they’ll have a blast running around and exploring all of the trains. If you have a child’s birthday to plan, this is also a fantastic spot for a train-lover’s memorable birthday.
Rio Golden Railroad
18301 W. Colfax Ave
Golden, CO 80401
The Heritage Square Family Entertainment Village has been home to tons of family fun for decades, and one of the best-loved rides in the park is the Rio Golden Railroad that runs the perimeter of the park. The railroad was designed to be authentic and not just a “toy railroad.” It is a five-inch scale replica of an actual Colorado narrow gauge railroad and even the buildings and structures around the park were designed with this same realism in mind. The route is just under a mile and even passes over a 110-foot trestle and over the entrance to Heritage Square itself, making it a truly memorable ride for any train fan.
Georgetown Loop Railroad
646 Loop Drive
Georgetown, CO 80444
Looking to ride something truly historic? Then check out the Georgetown Loop Railroad, one of Colorado’s very first visitor attractions opening in 1884. The loop is still a very popular tourist spot and features some of the most spectacular views of Colorado and the Clear Creek Valley area. The train will take you and your family on a three-mile ride between Georgetown and Silver Plume scaling more than 640 feet above the mountains. It’s a truly memorable ride, with plenty of scenery to enjoy and, even more importantly, some amazing locomotive engines pulling you along. Grab the kids and their friends and head to one of the most historic destinations in the state.
6249 S. Turkey Creek Road
Morrison, CO 80465
Tiny Town, nestled in the foothills just west of Denver, is one of the most fun and family-friendly ways to spend an afternoon. It is just what the name suggests, an actual tiny town, featuring lots of small buildings and places for your kids to run around and play. Of course, it also features a fantastic Tiny Town Train that departs from its tiny station every 30 minutes or so. It features a Rio Grande F7 diesel replica and the ride is perfect for younger kids with smaller attention spans, as it lasts about 10 minutes. One of the best parts of the ride is that it takes you and your children to areas of the park that you can’t see any other way. It may be a smaller train, but it’s perfect for your younger locomotive lovers.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.