Western Pacific Railroad Museum

Reviewer’s family at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum.

700 Western Pacific Way
Portola, CA

This pit stop submitted by fellow mom and Pit Stops for Kids reader Vanessa. Visit Vanessa’s photography site, Second Spring.

If you should find yourself somewhere between Reno, NV and Chico, CA along Hwy 70 you will pass through the little town of Portola, CA. There you will find this little gem of a pit stop, The Western Pacific Railroad Museum. One of the best things about this museum is that they not only allow you to climb, crawl and explore the trains but encourage it…a fantastic way to expend a little pent up energy if you ask me! There are volunteer docents on hand should you have questions about any of the equipment. This part is not only a hit with the kids but the parents as well (I could have spent HOURS snapping the shutter on my camera around the rail yard had we not needed to stop for nap time!). The train ride is fun for the little kids- and you can sit either inside one of the caboose cars or outside. Our little guy jumped at the sound of the whistle but was thrilled to get to be on the train.

If you have a train lover in the family they rent out a caboose for parties and events (I am thinking birthday party for my little guy) and during the holiday season they deck out the caboose train in twinkle lights and get a visit from Santa. With a little planning ahead (since reservations are needed) you can even drive one of the diesel engines. Check the calendar on the website for more events.

Exploring the trains!

Date last visited: May 30th, 2010

Distance off the interstate: Just over half a mile off CA Hwy 70. (Approximately 50 minutes from Reno or 1.5 hours from Tahoe.)

Admission Prices: Museum is free (though donations are appreciated) and $5 to ride the train that run on the weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day (they also do special events like the Santa Train during the holiday season- see the Calendar page for more details).

Hours of Operation: 10am to 5pm

Food Services: Cold drinks and snacks available in the gift shop (and the Portola Frosty is a favorite stop for those hot summer days- just off Hwy 70 heading west from Gulling St.).

Bathrooms: Just down the hall from the gift shop in the museum.

Website: http://www.wplives.org/

Directions: From Hwy 70, take Gulling Street into the town of Portola, turn right on Commercial, a slight left onto Pacific and then a right onto Western Pacific Way. There are signs to lead you along the way.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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