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San Diego Model Railroad Museum 1 San Diego Model Railroad Museum 2 San Diego Model Railroad Museum 3 San Diego Model Railroad Museum 4 San Diego Model Railroad Museum 5

Model Railroad Museum tickets

Gate Prices Adult $10.75
Child (3-12) $4.00

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum presents the largest model railroad display in the world at 27,000 feet. Its lively mix of history and models will turn anyone into a train enthusiast!

The railroad played a prominent role in westward expansion and in making the United States a land of opportunity. It’s only fitting that you visit a museum that pays tribute to this American institution—the railroad—on your trip out West.

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum also hosts a Thomas the Tank Engine activity room, an interactive toy train gallery, and a relief map of San Diego County featuring a hands-on computer display. The various educational displays contain a centralized traffic control machine, a working semaphore, and a crossing signal, encouraging both children and adults to feel like a part of the world of model trains. You’ll also get a free souvenir with admission!

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum is one of the liveliest places in Balboa Park, taking you through four massive operating scale modeled layouts that depict the great and historic railroads of the Southwest. Here’s a glimpse of the unique displays in store for you at this railroad-haven:

  • Tehachapi pass: Famous among railroad fanatics for its curvy stretch known as “The Loop”, the Tehachapi Pass is a 70- mile railroad line between Bakersfield and Mojave, and SDMRM has replicated it in full, complete with mountains. The entire thing is built to 1/87th its actual size.
  • San Diego & Arizona Eastern: This spectacular replica models the prototype railroad connecting San Diego with El Cajon and El Centro. It features an impressive 10-foot high model of the treacherous Carriso Gorge and Goat Canyon trestle.
  • Pacific Desert Lines: Based on detailed turn-of-the-century plans to lay a railroad from San Diego to the east coast, this computer-controlled replica features a meticulously detailed Santa Fe Depot and Carlsbad Power Plant, which took hundreds of hours to complete.
  • Toy Train Gallery: Everything is tiny in this exhibit, which features a 42 by 44 foot permanent layout with lifelike scenery, figurines, and trains with horns and real smoke! Also on display is a rare collection of Lionel type models from the 1920s through the 1950s, complimented by select pieces of railroad-inspired artwork by Angela Trotta Thomas.

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum preserves the heritage of railroading through a series of miniature representations. On your visit to SDMRM you will also learn about prominent women in the railroad industry, and how their often-overlooked contributions have made this mode of transport what it is today.

This museum isn’t just for train aficionados. Anyone can enjoy the nostalgia and thought-provoking models that will take you back to the time of the American railroad!

The Go San Diego Card is the best choice for maximum savings and flexibility. Your pass includes Model Railroad Museum tickets, plus admission to dozens more top attractions.

Getting In

Present your Go San Diego Card at the admissions counter.

Hours

Closed Mondays
Tuesday-Friday, 11:00 am-4:00 pm
Saturday-Sunday, 11:00 am-5:00 pm

Closings

Mondays.
May be closed major U.S. holidays.

Address

1649 El Prado
Balboa Park
San Diego, CA 92101

Driving Directions

Located on the lower level of the Casa de Balboa. Contact the attractionfor directions.
 

Reviews for Model Railroad Museum

Review Snapshot® by PowerReviews Express
 4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 customer ratings)
Average Rating for Model Railroad Museum
0% of respondents would recommend this to a friend.
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[5 of 5 customers found this review helpful]

fun and interesting for all ages
By KK from Seattle, WA on
Pros:
Friendly engineers, Great displays, Great gift shop
Best Uses:
Everyone enjoyed this one,
Bottom Line:
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Comments about Smart Destinations Model Railroad Museum:

The kids and the grandparents had a great time.

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Go San Diego Card

  • Includes Model Railroad Museum tickets.
  • Save up to 55% compared to paying at the gate.
  • Choose as you go from 42 San Diego attractions.
  • Instant delivery!