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admin 15.03.2016

There is something about toy and model trains that can transform a grown man into a version of his 10-year-old self — wide-eyed, goofy-grinned, literally bursting with excitement.
I’ll admit it: Growing up, I used to love when my father set up his childhood trains around the holidays.
After entering the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, I rediscovered what had captivated me as a child. Whether you are a model railroad hobbyist, a parent with train-happy kids, someone looking to relive childhood memories or just plain curious, this unique museum is definitely worth checking out. Inside the museum, you’ll find the largest indoor model railroad display in the world (at 27,000 square feet).
But perhaps even more impressive than the trains chugging along on their tracks are the lifelike scenes around them.
And as you wander through the museum, you’ll pass collections of rare cars, model railroad paraphernalia and displays celebrating the hobby’s history. The stated mission of the San Diego Model Railroad Museum is to preserve the heritage of railroading. The Model Railroad Museum is located in the heart of Balboa Park, on the lower level of the Casa de Balboa on the Prado. San Diego County residents, visit the museum on the first Tuesday of the month and get in free. This unique museum contains four enormous scale and model layouts, built by separate clubs, which depict railroads of the Southwest in O, HO, and N scales. The collection covers railroads throughout North, Central, and South America, Europe, and Asia.


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I would sit for hours watching the Lionel train snake through a toy village, mesmerized by the roar of the engine and the sound of the whistle — all the while eagerly waiting for my turn to operate the train. And so when I heard that there was a museum dedicated to model railroading right here in San Diego, I was dubious. Within minutes, I became a version of my 10-year-old self — wide-eyed, goofy-grinned, bursting with excitement. There are four main exhibits that depict railroads of the Southwest in O, HO and N scales (that’s model railroad speak for size), as well as a toy train gallery with the ever-popular Lionel type trains. The museum also includes a children’s educational and entertainment area, and a separate library stuffed with books, magazines and photographs related to prototype and model railroading. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. Reference materials include books, periodicals, professional journals, government publications, manuscript materials, maps, engineering drawings, DVDs, videotapes, slides, photographs, and other ephemera. In case of trademark issues please contact the domain owner directly (contact information can be found in whois).
I found myself just short of running from exhibit to exhibit, searching for the trains, almost giggling when they passed by.
The prospect of spending time inside on a beautiful day staring at trains did not sound entertaining; I just didn’t understand the draw. Many are works in progress, so you’ll often find club members working on the models, always ready to chat with visitors about the project or model railroading in general.


There are four local railroad clubs that provide the majority of the work and funding for the model train displays.
If you want to avoid the crowds, it is best to avoid this day, especially during the summer months.What to ExpectPick up the Museum brochure on your way in. For an additional fee, you can add a discounted San Diego Zoo Best Value ticket.A  Also note, the Passport to Balboa Park Pass allows you to watch an IMAX movie at the Science Center.
Passport to Balboa Park tickets can be purchased online.Directions from Google Maps to 1649 El Prado in San Diego, CA 92101. Pass by the parking lots for the Science Museum and at the end of the driveway you will be in the Casa de Balboa parking lot. If this lot and the lots for the Science Museum are full, the next best option is to find street parking or head south on Park Boulevard towards downtown and take a left on Presidents Way where you will find large parking lots.
It will take you 20 minutes or so to walk to the Museum.You can also take the free Balboa Park Tram from the large parking lots, which starts near the end of the Presidents Way driveway.
If you approach Balboa Park using southbound SR-163, traffic occasionally backs up a little over a mile before reaching the Park Boulevard Exit, which is the same exit for the I-5 northbound.
The stop is underneath a pedestrian bridge, which you can take to reach the Casa de Balboa Building along the Pedestrian Mall. The Tram starts at the end of the driveway, on the east side of Presidents Way and circulates every 10 minutes from here to the main circle at the Prado stop, near the Balboa Park Information Center.



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