For railfans, Ohio is nothing short of paradise. Opportunities to experience life on the rails can be found all over the state. There are so many fun places to check out featuring trains in Ohio for all ages!
Whether you want to learn about rail history, hop aboard a historic passenger train, enjoy a meal, sleep in a caboose, or just sit and watch the trains roll by – Ohio has you covered.
Check out this custom Google Map to see the location of each destination described below (find the interactive map at the end of the article too!)
Looking to stick local? our guest writer Deb also put together this awesome article about the best displays and train spots in Columbus!
Railroad Museums in Ohio
The Buckeye state played an important role in rail history and still has one of the most concentrated networks of active track in the nation. Each of these museums shares it’s own unique piece of the story.
Age of Steam Roundhouse
Whether you’re a railroad historian, enthusiast, or Thomas the Train lover, the Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum is a must see. Built along the Ohio Central Railroad main line is a fully functional 18 stall roundhouse surrounding a 115-foot working turntable.
The museum offers the largest private collection of steam locomotives in the world, along with passenger & freight cars, cabooses, and work equipment. Visitors can also see a set of storage tracks, a store house, coal dock, wood water tank, and ash pit.
It is a working site where experts are actively restoring historical equipment. Visitors are required to visit as part of a guided tour. Advanced reservations are required. All tours are ADA accessible.
Guided roundhouse tours are offered April – November, Thursday – Saturday at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets cost $20 (adults), $17 (seniors 65+) and veterans, $12 (youth 3-16), FREE (2 & under). June – August, additional family tours will be offered on Fridays & Saturdays.
For the serious train enthusiast, several special events, speaker series, and in-depth tours are available beginning in February. Ticket price varies depending on event.
The Age of Steam Roundhouse is located at 213 Smokey Lane Rd SW, Sugarcreek, OH 44681.
Bradford Railroad Museum
The Bradford Railroad Museum looks back at its history as a railroad town along the Pennsylvania RR. Although the railroad no longer runs through town, the museum has preserved some important pieces of history for visitors.
The interactive museum shares the town’s history, the Railway YMCA, hobo exhibit, dining car, and an interactive telegraph display. There is a children’s play area and a model railway to depict how the PRR station once looked in Bradford. Just a few blocks away, a restored BF Tower (switching station) is available for guests to tour.
Don’t miss the Bradford Railroad Heritage Festival on September 10, 2023. This family friendly event will include music, model train layouts, Thomas the Train ride for kids, drone races, and more! Follow the website for more information to come.
The museum is located at 200 North Miami Ave., Bradford, Ohio 45308. It is open March – December, every Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Admission is $10 (adults 21 & over), Free (under 21y).
Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal
Although not a museum focused on trains, rail enthusiasts should still put this high on their bucket list. Union Terminal, opened in 1933, operated as passenger terminal for many years. It is a stunning art deco building with the largest half-dome in the western hemisphere.
Today the terminal houses three fantastic museums for visitors to enjoy: Cincinnati History Museum, The Children’s Museum, the Museum of Natural History & Science.
While there are no dedicated exhibits related to its history, the museum center offers volunteer-led behind the scenes tour of Union Terminal.
Tours are scheduled on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and Sunday from 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (pending volunteer availability). No reservations required. Tours are free. Be sure to call & confirm before visiting (513)287-7000.
Find more fun in Cincinnati here.
Dennison Railroad Depot Museum
As American forces were mobilizing in response to WWII, trains carrying 600-800 servicemen would traverse the country. The Salvation Army Serviceman’s Canteen located in Dennison served as a primary stop where they could receive a hot meal and moral support.
The Depot, with the help of nearly 4,000 civilian volunteers, touched the lives of more than 1.3 million service members during WWII. The Dennison Depot became a place where they could get a small taste of home, earning it the nickname “Dreamsville, USA”.
Originally the third largest Canteen in the US, the Depot has been meticulously restored. Explore the museum which includes exhibits, a theater and gift shop. There are several attached railroad cars with special exhibits, including a children’s interactive experience, WWII hospital car, a research archive, and more.
The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum is located at 400 Center St., Dennison, OH 44621. It is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m – 3 p.m. Admission is $8 (adults), $6 (seniors/students), $4 (youth 7-17), and free (6 & under).
Ernest Warther Museum
It all started with a pocketknife found along a dirt road as a young boy. Ernest “Mooney” Warther spent the next 82 years of his life whittling, ultimately becoming known as a master carver.
His most famous hand-sculpted works focused on steam engines, carved from ebony and ivory, each one made precisely to its original blueprint.
The Ernest Warther Museum & Garden is located on the original property of the Warther’s home and workshop.
Take a self-guided tour of the Warther home and the button museum, a beautiful display of Freida’s (Warther’s wife) button collection. Families will enjoy the gardens which include train cars and the “cave”, a secret play place for children to explore.
The highlight is a 1-hour guided tour of the museum to learn more about Mr. Warther, see his carvings, and learn the stories behind his amazing collection of work.
Tours start at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. & 2 p.m. Tours are included in the cost of admission. Self-guided tours are available anytime during regular hours.
The museum is located at 331 Karl Avenue, Dover, OH 44622. January – February, daily from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. March – December, daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is $18 (adults), $17 (seniors), $8 (students 12-17), $6 (youth 4-11), and Free (3 & under).
Jefferson Depot Village
Tucked away in Ashtabula County, the Jefferson Depot Village is a realistic representation of small town living in the 19th century. The restored 1872 Lake Short & Michigan Southern Railroad Station serves as the anchor for this living history museum.
Take a guided walking tour through the village and the 1872 train station, climb aboard the 1918 PRR Caboose. Attend a special event and interact with volunteers dressed in period attire as you experience life in the 1890s.
The village is located at 147 E. Jefferson St., Jefferson, OH 44047. Guided tours are available June – September, Monday/Thursday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is free, with a requested donation of $10/person.
Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum
Whether you’re a hardcore enthusiast or just curious, the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum has you covered. This museum honors the Mad River & Lake Erie RR, the first railroad chartered in Ohio, and the Nickel Plate Road which ran through Bellevue from 1882 until 1964.
Bellevue served as the largest classification terminal, principle icing station, steam and diesel engine terminal, and more. The museum includes everything from historic documents of train operations to the fine place settings used on luxury passenger cars.
An incredible collection of trains are on display including steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, a V-blade snowplow, the first domed passenger car built in the U.S., and many, many more.
The best part about this museum is that it’s interactive, both inside and out. It’s a great place for anyone who likes to explore. Board the trains located in the new three-track coach yard. Explore, touch, and imagine being part of rail history.
Railfans should make the short commute to nearby Kemper Rail Park. Take a picnic, have a seat on the raised platform, and spend some time watching the trains roll by.
The museum is located at 253 Southwest St., Bellevue, OH 44811. It is open from Memorial Day – Labor Day from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Special hours available May, September & October. Admission is $10 (adults), $9 (seniors), and $5 (youth 5-12).
Marion Union Station
Only an hour from Columbus, the Marion Union Station is a must stop for enthusiasts. It has a storied history from a canteen stop during WWII to the final stop in President Harding’s funeral procession.
Perhaps one of the most unique features is the location between two diamond crossovers, where up to 60 trains still pass by daily. It’s a popular location for railfans to watch the trains from multiple viewpoints.
In addition to beautiful architecture, the museum houses an impressive collection of memorabilia, plus an AC Tower, and Erie Lackawanna caboose. Railroad historians will enjoy the large collection of interlocking and switch panels, and functioning status lights and signals.
The station is located at 532 W Center St, Marion, OH 43302. It is open every Saturday from 10 a.m – 2 p.m. Some weekday hours are available, when there are volunteers, so call ahead to confirm.
Northern Ohio Railroad Museum
Relive the interurban rail era at the Northern Ohio Railroad Museum. This educational and restoration-based museum is run by volunteers who are passionate about preserving the history of streetcars and interurbans in Ohio.
Learn about Ohio’s electric rail history, walk through the workshop to see the work in progress, climb into many of the cars on display, and visit the education center. Guided tours are available from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. during business hours.
Put history in motion with a streetcar ride from June – September on the 2nd & 4th Saturdays. Rides run on the hour from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Cost is $5 (adults 13 & up) and $2 (youth 6-12), Free (5 & under).
The museum is located at 5515 Buffham Rd, Seville, OH 44237. It is open from the end of May – September, every Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Check the website for specific dates. Admission is free, although donations are greatly appreciated.
Ride the Rails on these Trains in Ohio
Cincinnati Dinner Train
Step back to the 1940s with an evening on the Cincinnati Dinner Train. Seated in one of four 1940s era dining cars, enjoy the sights of the city from your window during a 3+ hour round-trip excursion to the Cincinnati Riverfront.
Dress in your best period attire and enjoy a delicious four course meal. Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten-free options are available upon request. Period entertainment is provided during the trip. Business casual attire is strictly enforced.
Ever wondered what goes on in the locomotive? Get a front row seat with a Locomotive Cab Ride. Spend the first half of the trip enjoying dinner. Then suit up and join the train’s engineer and conductor on the twelve-mile return trip. (Minimum age is 21)
The Cincinnati Dinner Train departs from 2172 East Seymour Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45237. Excursions are offered from March – December. Days and times vary depending on the season and event, so be sure to check the website for details.
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
Hop aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for family fun on the rails. Travel through scenic Cuyahoga Valley National Park with beautiful views in every season of the year.
The CVSR offers something for everyone! Check out the links below for full details, current dates & times, and to purchase tickets.
- National Park Scenic – Enjoy a 2.5-hour round trip train ride through the park.
- Family Fun Loop – Bring the kids on a 1.5-hour round trip adventure with superheroes, princesses, music, crafts, animals and more.
- Cleveland Dinner & Event – Planning a date night has never been easier! Choose your favorite theme from a romantic dinner, murder mystery, beverage tours, painting, trivia, and more.
- Explorer – Want to spend a day or two hiking, biking, or kayaking in the park? Bring your gear and hop aboard for a $5 one-way ride from any of the eight stations along the route.
- Special Events – Be on the lookout for special events throughout the year, including Hale Farm Explorer, The Polar Express, Caboose Train Ride, and more!
The Cuyahoga Valley National Railroad offers various excursions year-round. Days and times vary depending on the season and event, so be sure to check the website for details. Passengers may choose to board at one of three stations:
- Rockside Station – 7900 Old Rockside Rd, Independence, OH 44131
- Peninsula Depot – 1630 Mill St., Peninsula, OH 44264
- Akron Northside Station – 27 Ridge St., Akron, OH 44308
Hocking Valley Scenic Railway
If you’re planning a trip to Hocking Hills, include a fun excursion with the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. Climb aboard for a 2-hour ride through the heart of the Hocking River Valley along part of the 145-year-old route linking Southern Ohio to Columbus and Lake Erie.
Choose from a variety of options, such as scenic rides, Valentine train, dinner trains, murder mysteries, a friendly train robbery, and more. Passengers may choose between open-air cars or climate controlled enclosed cars.
The Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad departs from 33 W Canal St, Nelsonville, OH 45764. Special excursions are offered year-round. Days and times vary depending on the season and event, so be sure to check the website for details.
Lebanon Mason and Monroe Railroad
Lebanon Ohio is a town taken right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Enjoying a ride on the Lebanon Mason and Monroe Railroad is a highlight for any visit. Located just off N. Broadway St, the station is an easy walk from anywhere in town.
Operated by the Cincinnati Scenic Railway, LMMR offers family-friendly train rides in beautifully restored train cars including the GP7 #5704, the oldest continuously operated locomotive of its kind in the US.
The route takes passengers on a nine-mile journey through Warren County and follows along Turtle Creek, including a large truss bridge.
Each year, they offer loads of family fun through interactive kid-themed excursions. Step aboard with a popular book or movie character or dress up as a favorite princess or superhero. For adults, they also offer evening excursions, such as wine and cheese, pizza and beer, plus more.
The Lebanon Mason and Monroe Railroad departs from 16 E. South St, Lebanon, OH 45036. Excursions are offered from April – December. Days and times vary depending on the season and event, so be sure to check the website for details.
Lorain and West Virginia Railway
Spend a lazy afternoon riding the rails with the Lorain and West Virginia Railway. Comfortably seated in an open gondola or air-controlled Pullman car, sit back, and relax as the 1950 E-8A red engine takes you on a ten-mile round trip journey through Lorain County.
Each year, they offer a full line up of family friendly excursions. The Easter Train and Pumpkin Train allow passengers to disembark for fun activities along the way. A few great options for adult outings are Sweetest Day, Fall Foliage, or Wine on the Rails.
The Lorain and West Virginia Railway departs from 46789 State Route 18, Wellington, OH 44090 . Excursions are offered from April – December. Days and times vary depending on the season and event, so be sure to check the website for details.
Ohio Rail Experience
For anyone interested in an extended rail trip across Ohio, the Ohio Rail Experience is for you! Operated by the Cincinnati Scenic Railway, ORE excursions travel on tracks that are not commonly, if ever, used by passenger trains.
Hop aboard vintage 1930-1950 railcars pulled by a historic diesel electric locomotive and enjoy this unique adventure. Excursions last up to 10 hours and offer a layover point where passengers may disembark and explore town, grab lunch, or visit a local historical site.
Each year’s trip(s) boarding location and itinerary is unique. Trips for 2023 have been canceled due to some refurbishment projects, but they’ll be back in 2024. Check the website for updated information.
Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
For over 100 years, the Union Depot served as a passenger terminal for the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Orrville Railroad Heritage Society has preserved the property, including the original Interlocking Tower and a Block Station “Shale” from Summit, OH.
Enjoy a 40-minute ride in an open-air car or red caboose. Ever heard of a motor car, or “speeder”? They were used to transport material and track workers to remote areas along the line. Bring the kids and take a 15-min ride on the annual Motor Car Day.
Want some “throttle time” in a EMD GP7u locomotive? Schedule a private hour-long session where you can learn about the locomotive and spend 30-min in the engineer’s seat. You can even bring up to eight guests to ride in the caboose, for FREE!
The Orrville Union Depot Museum is located at 145 Depot St, Orrville, OH 44667. It’s important to note that all trains depart from the DABO/ORHS rail yard located at 2174 S. Crownhill Rd., Orrville, OH 44667. Excursions are offered from May – October. Days and times vary depending on the season and event, so be sure to check the website for details.
Toledo, Lake Erie, and Western Railway & Museum
The volunteers at the Toledo, Lake Erie, and Western Railway & Museum operate on ten miles of track, crossing the Maumee River bridge, between Waterville and Grand Rapids, Ohio. They offer rides on the Bluebird Passenger Train and host various special events throughout the year, including the popular Motor Car Rally.
Planned for 2023! A fully renovated passenger cart that is ADA accessible with a chair lift! It will hold 4 wheelchairs plus an attendant for each, to give everyone the experience riding the rails and enjoy the view across Maumee River bridge.
The TLEW Railway & Museum is located at 7475 Saylor Ln., Grand Rapids, Ohio 43522. It is open to the public from June – October, every 1st & 3rd Saturday from Noon – 4 p.m.
Zanesville and Western Scenic Railroad
Take an old-fashioned train ride along the Glass Rock Spur, with the Zanesville and Western Scenic Railroad. The 40-minute ride takes passengers through the southeastern Ohio countryside in either an open-air gondola car or a traditional enclosed coach.
Enjoy a scenic rail excursion or choose from several special events, such as Hobo Camp, Pumpkin Train, Santa Train, Grassman Weekend, and Scouts Weekend (free ride for any Scout in uniform).
The Zanesville and Western Scenic Railroad departs from 5715 SR-204, Mt. Perry, OH 43760. Excursions are offered every Saturday and Sunday from August – December. Times vary depending per event, so be sure to check the website for details.
The Polar Express
We all know the story of the Polar Express, right? Every holiday season, kids and grownups alike are mesmerized by Billy’s magical journey to the North Pole aboard the Polar Express. Did you know there is one officially licensed Polar Express ride right here in Ohio?
At the Dennison Depot, passengers can climb aboard the holiday train, listen to the famed story, and enjoy hot cocoa and refreshments on the way to the North Pole, where Santa will climb aboard to greet everyone and provide a special gift.
Can’t make it to the Dennison Depot? No worries! Train stations all over Ohio provide an opportunity for passengers to put on their favorite pajamas and fuzzy slippers and experience their own Christmas or Holiday themed adventure.
These events are very popular and often sell out months in advance, so make plans early.
Polar Express Train Ride Ohio (Dennison) | The North Pole Adventure (Cuyahoga Valley) | Santa Train Ride (Hocking Hills) | Letters to Santa (Ohio Railway Museum) | North Pole Express (Lebanon) | Christmas at the Depot (Orrville) | Santa Train (Lorain & WV) | Santa Train (Zanesville & Western)
Read more about Santa Trains, Polar Express, and Christmas Trains here – they start booking in the Summer!
Model Trains in Ohio
Trains chugging along the tracks of a model railroad is mesmerizing. Following along as they pass by scenes of daily life, whether whimsical or reminiscent, transports all of us back to childhood. Check out these amazing displays located all around the state.
Buckeye Imagination Museum
Only a short drive from Columbus, the Buckeye Imagination Museum is a great place for kids (ages 2-10) to let their imaginations soar. Kids can explore the arts, sciences, and transportation.
The Train Exhibit features a model railroad for little conductors to enjoy, a hands-on play area with Thomas the Train, and more great railroad fun.
They’ve remodeled since we visit in 2019, so there are even more attractions and fun to explore (and even more coming soon!)
The museum is located at 175 W 3rd St, Mansfield, OH 44902. Regular hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (April 1 – November 30) and Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (December 1 – March 31). Admission is $14 per person (ages 2 & up). Check holiday hours and admission discounts here.
Read more about fun, family things to do in Mansfield and Bellville.
Corner Field Model Railroad Museum & Trading Post
Tucked away in Geauga County is an amazing family owned, 3-rail layout with over 7,000 feet of track. Delight in the 32ft x145ft, freelance style layout with thousands of buildings and scenes, along with 250+ types of engines.
Relive the past 70 years of rail history with a tour through NE Ohio landmarks, industry, daily life and so much more!
Hobbyists and collectors will be thrilled with the full-service Trading Post, specializing in Lionel Trains. Buy & sell trains or purchase items for your family’s own railroad layout.
The Corner Field Model Railroad Museum and Trading Post is located at 16720 Pioneer Road, Middlefield, OH 44062. It is open Wed/Fri/Sat from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Thur/Sun from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is $10 (adults), $8 (seniors), $5 (youth 4-12), and Free (3 & under).
If family entertainment is what you’re looking for, then EnterTRAINment Junction is the place. It’s a high energy, train-riffic place for both the young and young at heart.
The highlight is the 25,000 sq.ft. model train display with 90 G-scale trains rambling along 2 miles of track. The world’s largest train display right here in Ohio! The journey through railroad history begins in the 1860s and winds through time to modern transportation.
The model train is reason enough to visit, but they also have other railroad themed activities. There’s a 5,000 sq.ft. interactive American Railroad Museum to share the history of train travel and how it helped shape America. Kids will enjoy Imagination Junction with plenty of activities for little hands.
Got a Thomas the Engine fan? During February, the junction is celebrating “Everything Thomas”. Have fun with the Sodor crew with special activities, look for Thomas in the model layout, and take a ride with Thomas on an indoor train ride.
June through Labor Day, young railfans can ride on the outdoor narrow-gauge train pulled by an electric locomotive. For more of a challenge, they can act as their own engineer and give the hand-cranked Kid’s Express a try.
EnterTRAINment Junction is located at 7379 Squire Court, West Chester, OH 45069. Regular hours Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sunday from Noon – 6 p.m. Check the website for special holidays and closings.
Highfield Discovery Garden
Kids are invited to explore nature as they journey through seven unique gardens. The Trolley Garden has four small scale trains that embark on an imaginative trip with favorite storybook characters.
Glenwood Gardens is located at 10397 Springfield Pike, Cincinnati, Ohio 45215. Open hours at Highfield Discovery Garden change depending on the season, so be sure to check the website for details.
Historic Clifton Mill
Built in 1802, the Historic Clifton Mill is one of the largest water-powered grist mills in the U.S. The mill is nestled into the Clifton Gorge right next to John Bryan State Park. Family owned and operated, it is still in operation today and welcomes visitors & hikers to stop in for free tours, great scenery, and a delicious meal at the restaurant.
The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill is a spectacular Christmas event with over 4 million lights adorning the mill, covered bridge, trees, and riverbanks. For rail fans, the enormous outdoor model railroad may just steal the show. Enjoy the trip down memory lane with scenes from the area’s rich history, landmarks of old, and everyday life. Oh, and where else outside of Ohio Stadium can you see a perfectly performed Script Ohio?
Clifton Millis located at 75 Water St, Clifton, OH 45316. The Christmas event, which includes the model railroad, begins November 23rd, 2023. It’s open nightly from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. (gates open at 5 p.m.) Monday through Wednesday, admission is $10 per person. Thursday through Sunday admission is $15 per person. Age 3 & under are FREE.
With over 3,500 plant species, there’s always something in bloom at Krohn Conservatory. A special treat is the various trains that ramble along tracks nestled within some of the displays, including the popular Lady Bug train.
Be sure to add this destination to your family’s Christmas tradition too. The spectacular holiday show, including multilevel trains displays, is not to be missed!
Krohn’s Conservatory is located at 1501 Eden Park Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45202. It is open daily from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Admission is $10 (adults), $7 (youth 5-17) and free (4 & under).
Find more fun in Cincinnati here.
Ride the Miniature Rails
Looking for a pint size rail experience for kids and kids at heart? Try one of these fun miniature train rides offered by various rail enthusiast clubs around Ohio.
Carillon Historical Park
Plan a day trip to Dayton to immerse yourself in its rich transportation history. Carillon Historical Park offers a 65-acre open-air history museum. Visit the historic 1894 Bowing Green Station, the B&O #1 John Quincy Adams, a wooden parlor car, and an Interurban car.
Take a ride on a 1/8 scale miniature railroad operated by the Carillon Park Rail & Steam Society. All rides are free, with paid park admission. Trains run April – October on select Saturdays from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Be sure to check their website for details. Additional dates & times may be available during special programs or festivals (entrance fee required).
The Carillon Park Rail Festival is scheduled for June 24th from 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and June 25th from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Enjoy a fun family event with model trains and minature train rides, plus other displays, activities, and vendors.
Planned for 2023! Board a full-size electric powered replica of the “Cincinnati” for a one-mile narrated journey around Carillon Historical Park. As the first locomotive to pull a passenger train into Dayton in 1851, the “Cincinnati” has a special place in the city’s early rail history.
Carillon Park is located at 1000 Carillon Blvd, Dayton, OH 45409. Regular hours are Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday Noon – 5:00 p.m. Admission is $14 (adult), $12 (seniors 60+), $10 (youth 3-17) and Free (2 & under). Dayton History members are free.
The Community Foundation Preserve at Eagle Point is a popular stop for hiking, birding, and water recreation. The Erie Metro Live Steamers offer rides on their 1/8 scale miniature trains at Eagle Point. Roll through the meadows and woodlands along 9,000 feet of track.
Eagle Point is located at 3819 Cleveland Rd W, Sandusky, OH 44870. Trains run May – October on selected dates from 10 a.m – Noon (unless otherwise noted). Be sure to check their website for details. All rides are free.
Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation
The Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation is a unique group that focuses on sharing the importance and impact of railroading through multiple train styles, including full scale, ¼ scale, and model railroads. In addition to a museum and gift shop, they offer a full schedule of community events.
Celebrate Family Fun Days with crafts, bounce houses, and of course, ¼ scale train rides! Add a spark to your holidays with the Easter Egg Hunt, Pumpkin Fest, Halloween Express, Trick or Treat Train and more! Adults should check out the Findlay Craft Beer and Wine Fest or Tracks to the Past Antique Machinery Show.
The Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation is located at 12505 C.R. 99, Findlay, OH 45840. Trains run from March – December. Days and times vary depending on the season and event, so be sure to check the website for details.
Penitentiary Glenn Reservation
Spend a day at Penitentiary Glenn Reservation where you can visit the nature center, hike the trails, meander through the gardens, or enjoy a steam-powered miniature train ride on the Glen Meadow and Orchard Railroad.
Take a scenic and fun ride through the woods and orchards courtesy of the Lake Shore Live Steamers Club.
Penitentiary Glenn Reservation is located at 8668 Kirtland Chardon Rd, Kirtland, OH 44094. Trains run April – December on select Saturdays from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Be sure to check their website for details. All rides are free. Additional dates/times may be included with special programs offered by the park (http://www.lakemetroparks.com).
Lions, tigers and bears, oh MY! Visiting a local zoo is at the top of the list for a fun family outing. No matter which Ohio zoo is your family’s favorite, they each offer a unique rail experience for riders of all ages. Hop aboard and get a chance to view animals from a new perspective.
Columbus Zoo – Tiny Town Train ($1/rider) & North American Train ($2/rider)
Cincinnati Zoo – Safari Train ($4/rider)
Akron Zoo – Pride of Africa Train Depot ($3/rider)
Toledo Zoo – Safari Train ($3/rider)
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo – Boomerang Train ($3 non-member, $2.75 member)
For many families, spending a day or two in an amusement park is a summertime treat. We have two of the best in Ohio, and they both offer fun train rides for all visitors.
Cedar Point – Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad
All aboard! This coal-fired steam train is a rare find, and one of only a few operated in a park. Enjoy a two-mile trip around Boneville where you will be entertained with light-hearted reenactments of the American frontier.
Cedar Point – Guest Conductor
The CP&LE Railroad is always looking for guest conductors! Put on your conductor’s hat and pin (complimentary) and take a seat in the lead passenger car. Get ready to ring the conductor’s bell along the train’s route. For more details, stop by the Train Depot at Celebration Plaza or FrontierTown.
Cedar Point – Snoopy’s Express Railroad
Join Woodstock on a trip through the exciting world of Planet Snoopy. It’s a great way to check out all the fun awaiting your smallest thrill seeker(s), even before you get started.
Kings Island – K.I. & Miami Valley Railroad
Take a ride on “The General”, a scale replica of a famous 1800s steam locomotive from the American Civil War. Two trains are available to transport passengers on this 9 to 15-minute ride.
Kings Island – Snoopy’s Junction
Little railfans will be excited to join Conductor Snoopy and his pal Woodstock on a trip through Camp Snoopy. Hang out with the whole Peanuts™ gang on this kid size train and be on the lookout for some of Snoopy’s Barnyard Friends along the way.
Train Themed Restaurants
Good food speaks to everyone, and Ohio has some really good food. The next time you decide to head out for a meal, surprise the family with a trip to one of these fun train themed restaurants.
Berea Union Depot Restaurant
If track side dining perks your interest, look no further than the Berea Union Depot. Recognized by the Ohio Historical Society, the depot was built in 1876 and served passengers in northeast Ohio until 1958.
Diners are greeted with 19th century charm through the preservation of many original features. Not to mention, the likely rumble of a train rolling down the tracks just outside the windows. A full menu is available with a variety of items from casual to sophisticated, plus local craft beers.
The Berea Union Depot Restaurant is located at 30 Depot St., Berea, OH 44017. It is open Tuesday through Sunday, starting at 11 a.m. Live music is available on the patio most Saturdays from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. (weather permitting)
Buckeye Express Diner
This historic locomotive and bright red dining car perched on the hillside along Interstate 71 near Belleville is an eye catcher.
A stop here for a casual lunch or dinner is a treat, especially for train enthusiasts both young and old. The kids can even burn off some energy in the outdoor themed play areas.
Place your order at the front counter before selecting a seat in the Buckeye themed dining car. Although known for their large hand-made burgers, the menu offers a nice range of additional sandwiches, subs, wraps, and sides.
The Buckeye Express Diner is located at 810 State Route 97 W Bellville, Ohio 44813 (Exit 165). It is open daily from 11 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Read more about fun, family things to do in Mansfield and Bellville.
Lindenwald Station Family Diner
A small family restaurant with a BIG love for trains. This local eatery sports a lot of rail photos and memorabilia, plus a model train that encircles the restaurant along the ceiling.
Lindenwald Station is located at 5072 Pleasant Ave, Fairfield, OH. It is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Overnight Lodging on a Train
Sleeping in a train car usually requires embarking on a cross-country trip. Luckily, there are a few places around Ohio where train enthusiasts can spend a night in a train without leaving the state.
The Hocking Hills Caboose
Spend the night in a 1950s red caboose in beautiful Hocking Hills, only two miles from Ash Cave. This unique lodging is in a private setting, perfect for a relaxing getaway in one of Ohio’s most popular destinations.
The restored caboose can sleep up to 5 guests on single bunks. It is well appointed with heat and AC, a kitchenette, full private bath, large deck with outdoor grill, and fire pit.
It is located at 24830 OH-56, South Bloomingville, OH 43152. A two-night minimum stay is required. For more information or to make a reservation check here.
The Pullman Bed and Breakfast
Ohio’s newest train lodging is also perhaps its most authentic, the Pullman Bed & Breakfast, opened in 2022 as part of the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum. The 1920s-era Pullman sleeping car, known as the Times Square Coach, was a gift from the Ohio Railway Museum right here in Columbus.
It has been painstakingly restored to its original glory and is now available for overnight guests. Quarters are tight and beds are small, but that’s what provides the authentic experience of sleeping in a Pullman. Well, that and the occasional train passing by on the nearby tracks.
The sleeping car includes five rooms, made up of both single and double compartments. Each compartment has a hand sink, WiFi and television, but bathrooms are shared amongst all. Breakfast is included.
The Pullman Bed & Breakfast is located at 400 Center Street, Dennison, OH 44621. For more information or to make a reservation check here.
Sugarcreek Village Inn – Victoria Station
Sugarcreek Village Inn offers a variety of lodging options, from traditional to unique, right in the heart of Ohio’s Amish country. Train enthusiasts might enjoy reserving a room across the street at Victoria Station.
Two authentic railroad cars are located across the tracks from the main inn. There are three modern guest rooms with private baths available in each car. The occasional train passing by on the tracks makes for an authentic lodging experience!
Victoria Station is located at 206 Factory Street SE, Sugarcreek, OH 44681. For more information or to make a reservation check here.
Festivals and Shows featuring trains in Ohio
Check these websites for information on 2023 festivals and shows around Ohio.
Looking for more trains in Ohio?
Want to stay local to Columbus? Check out this big list of train spots in Columbus!