General Information About the Museum
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum is spread across 27.000 square feet and is the home of some of the largest HO and N scale layouts. This is one of the biggest indoor exhibits in the Northern part of the country. It is located in Balboa Park and is a major attraction there. Visitors can visit the museum from Tuesday to Friday at 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends. The museum remains closed on Mondays.
The museum features both indoor and outdoor exhibits and is spanned in the heart of natural beauty with a magnificent backdrop of Balboa Park. Schools and educational institutes conduct educational program visits to the San Diego Railroad museum as it sparks critical thinking and creativity when they see the trains passing through the twist, turn, and tunnel.
Minton Cronkhite, the expert model railroader, designed and engineered a number of modern railroads in 1930. He was hired to create railroads to be exhibited in the world fairs. This was an idea to boost the city’s financial state during the time of the “Great Depression.” The display of railroad models in the world fairs was instrumental in building people’s interest in train travel.
The Railroad Museum was opened for the public in 1982. The museum’s mission is to protect the rich history of the railroad by way of model representation of railroads prevalent in California.
Attractions for Children
There is a toy train gallery featuring operating toy trains of ‘Lionel Type’ 3-Ril O Gauge, modern toy trains from Lionel, American Flyer Cars. The toy train gallery has a specific permanent layout with four separate main lines. This is an interactive platform where kids experience realistic scenery, operating accessories like a remote-controlled system, and they can run a train by pushing buttons.
The museum conducts summer camps, school tours, and scout programs where students experience a kind of experience. The students get the opportunity to create a miniature model railroad layout and paint, plaster, lay track, and construct a mini town. They complement their model with buildings, people, trains, and trees.
You have good opportunities to have fun with your family and friends aboard the Birthday Express. The museum allows you to organize parties with your near and dear ones. Let your kids learn and have fun at wheels after visiting the museum.
There is a section of permanent exhibitions in the museum that displays famous & South Western: The San Diego and Arizona, Southern Pacific on the Tehachapi Pass, Pacific Desert Lines, etc. to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Balboa Park in 2015. The Centennial Railway Garden exhibit was built.
This exhibit is technically advanced as it is solar-powered, and the plants are unaffected to droughts. This makes the exhibit one of the only green technology exhibits in Balboa Park.