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Save up to 55% on Model Railroad Museum and 44 other San Diego attractions with the Go San Diego Card.

Model Railroad Museum

A $9.00 value, FREE with your Go San Diego Card!

Model Railroad Museum

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!


Tuesday–Friday, 11:00 am–4:00 pm
Saturday–Sunday, 11:00 am–5:00 pm.
Please note, Go San Diego Card holders may enter this attraction until closing or 5:30pm, whichever comes first.


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

Redemption Instructions

Present your Go San Diego Card at the admissions counter.

Included Extra(s)

Complimentary souvenir magnet with the Go San Diego Card.


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.

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!

Save on admission to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, plus San Diego's top museums, sights, and tours all for one low price with the Go San Diego Card!

Review Snapshot® by PowerReviews Express
 4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 customer ratings)
Average Rating for Model Railroad Museum
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[4 of 4 customers found this review helpful]

fun and interesting for all ages
By KK from Seattle, WA on
Great gift shop, Great displays, Friendly engineers
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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  • Open year-round
  • Good for families
  • Parking available
  • No restaurant or snack bar
  • No restrooms
  • Disabled access
  • Reservations not required

Go San Diego Card

At a Glance


1649 El Prado
Balboa Park
San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: 619-696-0199

Website: www.sdmrm.org

Adult Gate PriceChild Gate Price
$9.00 $0.00
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