Model Railroad Museum tickets
All aboard for the largest model railroad display in the world, an interactive toy train gallery and Thomas the Tank Engine activity room. The lively mix of history and models at this distinctive museum will turn anyone into a train enthusiast.
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The railroad played a prominent role in westward expansion and in making the United States the interconnected land of opportunity it is today. It’s only fitting, then, that you visit a museum that pays tribute to this American institution—the railroad—on your trip out West. Stop by the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park and let nostalgia take over as you behold the largest model railroad display (27,000 feet, to be precise) in the world. The 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 and the whole 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, and 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 including very lifelike scenery, figurines, and trains with horns and real smoke! Also on display are 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, researches and maintains the history of model railroading, and educates the public on many different aspects of railroading. 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, and anyone can enjoy the nostalgia and thought-provoking models that will take you back in time and give you a taste of the true might of the American railroad!
Enjoy guaranteed discounts on Model Railroad Museum tickets and your choice of other top attractions.
Head to any ticketing window and present your Pass for admission.
Tuesday-Friday, 11:00 am-4:00 pm
Saturday-Sunday, 11:00 am-5:00 pm
May be closed major U.S. holidays.
For children 5 years and younger, admission is FREE when you use your Build Your Own Pass!
1649 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101
Located on the lower level of the Casa de Balboa. Contact the attractionfor directions.
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