We LOVED the Colorado Railroad Museum!!
I am so sorry this post is a day late. I wish I had a good excuse for it, but the truth is I just didn’t make the time for it yesterday! If you missed our video this week, we finally got to visit the Colorado Railroad Museum! Our boys love trains of all kinds! So the Colorado Railroad Museum has been on our Colorado Adventure Bucket List since we moved here. We are so glad that we went when we did though! This past week they were hosting a Special Spring Break Event all about model trains. This was PERFECT timing for our boys! Joshua in particular has become VERY interested in model train’s and railroads in the past month or so. So this event was perfect for him!
To be honest we weren’t entirely sure what to expect from a small town museum about trains. We LOVE educational adventures and this one did not disappoint! It turns out the museum is really worth checking out! They have an amazing collection of around 200 older train engines and cars on their 15 acre lot! Something interesting we learned while there, every piece of equipment was once in use somewhere in the state of Colorado! Not all of them started their life in Colorado, but every single one finished right here in this beautiful state!
What To Expect…
Before I get ahead of myself, lets start at the beginning! Inside the museum building they have a gift shop, and “ticket booth” right inside the front doors. Just past this area is a small exhibit dedicated to the telegraph. This exhibit shows what a typical telegraph office found at the train depot would have once looked like. The part the boys enjoyed was the sample Morse key they could actually click, and the button to hear what Morse Code sounded like through an actual telegraph. Did you know that the first telegraph sent was, “What hath God wrought?” It was sent by inventor Samuel F.B. Morse on May 24, 1844 from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore.
Images from the Tracks: Photographs of William Henry Jackson
Downstairs they currently have an exhibit called; Images from the Tracks: Photographs of William Henry Jackson. The boys weren’t too excited to look through the exhibit but us adults found the images really interesting. William’s photographs apparently made a huge impact on the rest of the world’s perception of the American west during his time. Because I am unsure about copy right issues, I didn’t add any of his work in this weeks video and will not add any of the pictures here. If you enjoy old trains/photos I recommend a Google search of him and his photographs!
Denver HO Model Railroad Club
The rest of the basement is home to the Denver HO Model Railroad Club. This was EASILY the boys favorite part of our visit!! As I mentioned above Joshua has recently really taken to HO model railroads. He regularly expresses an interested in building his own model railroad complete with landscape and buildings!! We hope to make this dream a reality soon… maybe during our next visit with Nana and Pop! They have the space and all of the original style track we would need. Since we upgraded our Christmas track to the EZ click together track we gave all our original track back to Pop! I know Joshua will be more than excited to share anything he comes up with with you all if/when we are able to come up with something!
NOTE: If you are interested in seeing the trains in action, members of the club are around to operate the model train layout on most Tuesdays from 1:00 to 4:00PM. Since we went for the Spring Break Event, the club members were there operating the trains even though it was not during regular times of operation for them.
Model Railroad Event Activities
In the upstairs exhibit room is where they were hosting the Spring Break Model Trains Event activities! Throughout the week one of the volunteers was working on a small model railroad. Depending on what day of the event you were there, you got to see the model in different stages of the build. Since we went early in the week, they had just completed gluing the track down and were just getting started on the wiring. They were also offering different crafts for kids depending on the day you were there. Our boys got to make matchbox holders for the small bead engines they gave them. The background photographs that they got to choose from were those of William Henry Jackson so that was fun! Each of the boys also got a turn controlling the toy model train they had laid out on the floor!
Believe Us, You WANT To Ride The Train!
We highly recommend riding the train!! The track for the ride is simply a loop around the train yard. They take 4 trips around the loop per train ride and it takes about 30 minutes. It’s the information given during the ride that makes the train ride so invaluable! During the ride the volunteer conductor talks about the different engines and cars that you will find around the train yard as you pass by them. We did the ride before exploring the train yard, and I am so glad we did! It made walking around the yard much more interesting because we actually knew some history behind what we were looking at.
NOTE: If you are interested in riding the train, check the museum website before your visit to make sure you are planning to visit on a day the train is in operation! From my understanding possible days of operation are Thursdays-Sunday… BUT only select ones so absolutely check before you go!
Of course what train yard wouldn’t be complete with out a roundhouse and roundhouse building?? The roundhouse is fully functional and the building is where they complete all of their restoration projects. I am not sure how often they have the restoration viewing deck open since we were there during a special event with different operational hours. We however we able to talk with one of the restorers and ask any questions we wanted!
It is important to note that thanks to taking advantage of the Spring Break Event, we were able to experience all aspects of the museum while fully functional! Since the museum functions mostly on volunteers, not all aspects of the museum are usually up and running at the same time! So our visit was not what a typical visit to the museum would look like!
If you have not yet, check out the video of our trip! Thanks for following along on our adventures!
We are onto the next adventure…