1 Susquehanna St.
Jim Thorpe, PA 18229
About 80 miles from Philadelphia is this railroad gem. A ride on Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway’s old 1920’s diesel-powered locomotive is just the ticket for mini railroad buffs. Located 90 minutes outside of Philadelphia in Jim Thorpe, the railway offers an old-fashioned train trip through the beautiful Lehigh Gorge State Park. The narrated one-hour route winds along the scenic Lehigh River, passing Glen Onoko and Ox-Bow Curve before pulling into Old Penn Haven. Pick from standard coach, open-air coach or first class cars. Youngsters under the age of three ride free, but bring plenty of water, as the passenger cars are not air conditioned and get pretty sticky in the summertime.
301 Gap Road
Ronks, PA 17572
About 60 miles from Philadelphia is where you’ll find the Strasburg Rail Road. Strasburg Rail Road’s metal hit the tracks in 1832, making it the oldest short-line railroad in America. Less than 90 minutes from Philly, the rail company offers a lot more than vintage rail cars. A depot filled with shops, restaurants and the pint-sized Pufferbelly steam train ride delights kids of all ages. A selection of events, including Dine with the Amish, The Great Train Cookout, Chocolate Express, Steampunk Unlimited and a vintage Baseball Day are planned for 2013. If your tiny tot is a fan of Thomas the Tank, the storybook steam locomotive chugs into the depot every June, September and November.
300 Gap Road
Ronks, PA 17572
While you’re in Ronks, don’t miss the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Directly across the street from Strasburg Rail Road, the museum features more than 50 vintage locomotives and rail cars in its 100,000-square-foot facility. Wee ones will want to spend most of the time in the Railway Education Center. The center allows kids to let off steam with hands-on model train villages, demonstrations and play areas. Bring some cash, because your munchkins will also want to make a pit stop at The Whistle Stop Shop for a wide array of railroad gifts.
300 Paradise Lane
Strasburg, PA 17579
If you want to see your youngster’s eyes really light up, then head to the National Toy Train Museum in Strasburg. It ranks as one of the largest toy train museums in the world. Housed in a Victorian-style train station, the marvelous display of 19th to 21st century toy trains are exhibited in five large layouts, each representing different gauges and time periods. Tiny train fans may run several of the choo-choos themselves, watch videos, view photographs and purchase toys, books and clothing at the museum store.
Related: Top Museums For Kids In Philadelphia
2343 W. Chester Pike
Broomall, PA 19008
Young train enthusiasts should not miss a visit to Nicholas Smith Toys and Trains in Broomall. Founded in 1909, the HO heaven was the “very first Lionel Train dealer to open shop in the United States.” Today, Smith’s ranks as “one of the largest train stores in the world,” and it has all the bells and whistles to prove it. An entire floor is dedicated to a massive collection of classic electric trains, where kids love to watch the wonderful train set-up that takes center stage.