Choo-Choo, ‘All Aboard’ it’s time for our next adventure as a family in Fort Myers, Florida. We were quite close to the best railroad attraction for families in Fort Myers, as we were staying in Cape Coral, and it was simply a 20-minute jaunt.
What will you find at the Best Railroad Attraction for families in Fort Myers, a place for every genre to appreciate and take a ride on the miniature Lakes Park & Gulf Railroad? This attraction is fairly priced, run by volunteers who are completely vested in train knowledge of the area and is a great way to spend time together.
Grab your smartphone, take plenty of pictures and head and get ready for some fun, you are about to lavishly live travel out loud and take in the best railroad attraction for families in Fort Myers.
Best Railroad Attraction For Families In Fort Myers
Today’s article is sponsored by the Railroad Museum Of South Florida , as they provided us admission to the train ride and interpretive center, opinions and images are my own.
Set your navigation system to 7330 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Myers, Florida, FL 33908 and you will find the Railroad Museum of South Florida and Train Village. This attraction is open from 10-2 Monday through Friday and Saturday and Sunday from 10-4 so plan accordingly. Train rides happen outside, and children should be accompanied by an adult. Please note, the parking lot requires payment to park and it is monitored, so please make sure to purchase a parking ticket at the ticket station in the lot.
Get ready to spend a few hours inside and outside and then of course on the huge playset before the parking lot. Your family day is about visiting the Railroad Museum of SOuth Florida which was created in 1994 allowing the past, present, and future to meld together in one place.
TRAIN RIDES & THE CONDUCTOR
Ray will guide you through the miniature train village that is about a 15-minute ride. A train horn, a track, nature in its most natural state and a lovely ride around the park is about to ensue.
You might get lucky enough to meet the resident raccoon as he visits the train tracks day long and you might see squirrels, gators, and ducks too! Your ride is outside, in the park and the train departs the train station about every 1/2 hours.
What you want to know: the rail is about 1.5 miles and it passes over small bridges and rides lakeside which is how you get to see all the wildlife, trust me the kids and adults alike will love this simple ride.
The miniature villages and towns you will see were all created by a staff of 40 volunteers as the museum is run strictly by volunteers. You will find that the train ride is for everyone of every age. You do need to sit very still on the ride and look forward at all times, but Ray will give you the directions.
The ACL locomotive is displayed and available for photos, and while it does not function it is a great part of the South Florida railroad history. This great ACL 143 was built in 1905 and it was live and worked in South Carolina until 1944.
The ACL was then brought to a chemical company in Pierce, Florida and kept on working until 1959. At this point, the ACL was no longer used and was going to be scrapped, but it was still around in 1992 and the Railroad Museum of South Florida restored it over 9 years so in 2001 it was unveiled.
Where Is This ACL? Find the ACL and a caboose under the George Underwood Pavillion
The action gets even better inside the interpretive center as you can read, browse and see miniature trains, artifacts and historic photos of the railroads that use to exist in South Florida. From what we learned the Railroads were a huge part of who South Florida was.
Want to drive a locomotive on the rails, and toot the horn and slow it down or speed it up? You can, and my son was infatuated with this, we literally had to separate him from this. The man in front of us was there for over 12 minutes, completely enthralled with this interactive display.
Perhaps what I found most lovely were the volunteers, from Bonnie to Norma who had so much passion for what they were doing and involved in and their ability to provide more background to the center, and their undying commitment to each of us who have never been there.
The Railroad Museum of South Florida and Train Village is open year round because after all, Florida has the weather for it, right? It gets a tad more exciting in Halloween and Christmas as all the villages are lit up and there are other surprises as well.
No matter when you are in the area, I highly suggest a visit. It’s an incredible journey through time, nostalgic, educational and a great way to catch a little downtime with the family while being very involved in a tour!