train guide

A Lake Country Kid’s Guide to [All Things] TRAIN

We know that our Lake Country kiddos love TRAINS. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate Train Guide for Train-loving Kids.

This guide is categorized by:

TRAIN GUIDE SPONSOR

EAST TROY RAILROAD MUSEUM

East Troy Railroad

We had a great debut of restored Chicago Transit Authority Car 4439 during our Chicago Day event in August, our Beer Tasting Train was a lot of fun in September, and our Trick-or-Treat Trains have been a hit with families with small children in October. Those Trick-or-Treat trains sold out faster than anything we’ve ever done, including Christmas Trains..

Thanks for a wonderful year — maybe I’ll see you at Santa’s Workshop.”

September 2023: We have been having a great year at the East Troy Electric Railroad! The weather has mostly been terrific. We did have a bad storm that blew down 11 trees across our tracks on July 28th, causing us to cancel two days of trains. But our amazing volunteers had the line cleared and ready to operate again in just a few days!
 

Remember that Harvest Fest is coming up, from September 9th to October 22nd. Buy your tickets now to be sure you have seats on the train you want! Trains will run on the hour, from 9am to 3pm from the East Troy Depot, and from 10am to 2pm from the Elegant Farmer. This schedule is for both Saturdays and Sundays during Harvest Fest. You can choose to board at the Elegant Farmer or at the East Troy Depot and tickets are good all day on every train. Folks with tickets for a particular train will have boarding priority. If you board first at the Elegant Farmer, be sure to pick up your tickets when you arrive at the East Troy Depot.

Tickets for the Trick-or-Treat Trains will be available starting September 7th and tickets for the Christmas Trains will be available starting October 2nd at noon (for members) and October 10th at noon (for the general public).

There are only a couple of Dinner Trains and two Sunday Brunch Trains with tickets still available. So if you still want to experience one of our amazing dining events, there is still time. But not much time.

Seasonal/Special Train Events

WINTER/SPRING

SUMMER MONTHS

  • Milwaukee Zoo Train 
  • Little Amerricka 15 minute train ride through the park + farm. See the zebras!
  • Opening weekend at the MILWAUKEE LIGHT ENGINEERING SOCIETY (Cedarburg)
      • Summer Public Train Ride Schedule
        June
        Sunday, June 11 11a-4p
        Sunday, June 25 11a-4p
        July
        Sunday, July 9 11a-4p
        Sunday, July 23 11a-4p
        August
        Sunday, August 13 11a-4p
        September
        Sunday, September 10 11a-4p
  • Day out with Thomas – Green Bay (National RR Museum) – Not coming in 2023
  • RAILFEST/Railfan Day at the East Troy Railroad Museum – June 24th, 2023 where each train will run with a different set of railroad cars. Many of our historic cars will be on display and there will be face painting and popcorn in the East Troy Depot.
  • Bay Beach Train – Green Bay (May through September see WEBSITE)
  • Whiskey River RAILROAD DAY at Little Amerricka – TBD for 2023
  • Chicago and Military Day at the East Troy Railroad Museum July 15, 2023 – The historic South Shore and Chicago Elevated cars will be featured and they hope to have interpretive staff and rangers from the National Park Service.
    A main focus for the event is the Chicago South Shore cars, several of which came to us in a gift from the National Park Service at Indiana Dunes National Park. National Park Rangers and docents will be on hand to explain the history of the South Shore Line and the historic cars people will ride.
    Children can complete a Junior Ranger program and receive an East Troy Electric Railroad Pin during the event.

FALL

Pumpkin Train Rides

  • Ride the Trick or Treat Train at the East Troy Railroad. The Trains will run on October 6, 13, 20, 27.
  • Pumpkin Train at Little Amerricka
  • LIONEL RAILROAD CLUB of Milwaukee – Semi annual open houses 
  • Annual Model Railroad Open House Nov EVENT at the Oconomowoc Historical Society hosted by Milwaukee North Western Railroad – 2023 event TBD
  • Free admission to the Oconomowoc Historical Society while trains are running
  • TRAINFEST® , America’s Largest Operating Model Railroad Show with five football fields of running trains and family activities, at State Fair Park is scheduled for November 2024.
  • MILWAUKEE LIGHT ENGINEERING SOCIETY Pumpkin Run Train in Cedarburg [Free] including night runs.  See all the events HERE.
  • Autumn and Pumpkin Train Ride weekends at the Mid-Continent Railway in North Freedom during October
  • The Great Pumpkin Train at the National Railroad museum in Green Bay
  • East Troy Electric RailRoad Beer Tasting Train – September 16th, 2023 – SOLD OUT This joint dining event with the Black Point Estate in Lake Geneva features beer tasting, beer history, beer trivia and amazing hors d’oeuvres while you ride.
  • East Troy Electric RailRoad Trick or Treat Trains – Fridays in October 2023 – Kids are encouraged to come in costume and take a 20-minute ride from the East Troy Depot down to Byrnes Park, where we will have trick or treat stations and fall activities. Upon returning to East Troy, each child can pick out the perfect pumpkin to take home.

Christmas Time

  • EASY TROY RAILROAD SANTA TRAIN RIDES
    • The magical ride will take you a half hour from East Troy Depot (2002 Church Street, East Troy, WI) to Santa’s workshop located at the Elegant Farmer. Here children can visit Santa and get a photo taken with the jolly elf himself! Santa’s workshop wouldn’t be complete without a craft project and some hot chocolate and cookies to enjoy after working on those crafts! 
  • HOLIDAY TRAIN Comes through Wisconsin (Oconomowoc & Hartland nearest locations) AND IT’S BACK IN 2023!!
  • Polar Express Ride out of Green Bay: November 17-December 10, 2023. {TICKETS for 2023 are SOLD OUT} WEBSITE 
  • SANTA TRAIN at the Mid-Continent Railway in North Freedom – Nov 25-26 & Dec 2-3, 2023
  • TRAIN DISPLAY at Ingleside Hotel in Pewaukee/Waukesha [FREE] 

train

    • Christmas Village at the Ingleside Hotel, one of two buildings located at the end of the trail, is home to an amazing model train display. Featuring six model trains running throughout four different levels of animated scenes, this display is sure to be a hit with people of all ages. Also located in Christmas Village are additional holiday displays, including an area to take photos, and a concession area where guests can purchase refreshments.
  • ZEIMER’S MODEL TRAIN OPEN HOUSE 2023 dates are in December TBD
  • Train Display at Shady Lane Greenhouse in Menomonee Falls on Sunday, November 19th, 2023 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

trainfest train guide image  Kids Run Trains at the Layouts at  Trainfest®

GO FOR A [TRAIN] RIDE - TRAIN TRIP IDEAS

Here is a list of some places you can ride a train and approximately how far they are away from Lake Country. Please call for open status before attending!

KNOW OF ANY OTHER PLACES TO RIDE A TRAIN IN WISCONSIN? TELL US IN THE COMMENTS AND WE WILL ADD TO THE GUIDE FOR ALL TO ENJOY!

Santa Train Ride, East Troy Electric Railroad East Troy Christmas Trains Lake Country Family Fun  East Troy Railroad Museum

Train Dining

  • Oscar’s Frozen Custard in Franklin, Wisconsin – has a model train layout in the dinning area.
  • PC Junction in Bailey’s Harbor – This is the ultimate train-themed restaurant. Every detail here has been thought of, from outside decor and play areas to the interior where your food is delivered via model train.
  • Buffalo Phil’s in Wisconsin Dells – Your food is delivered on a TRAIN!
  • La Estacion Mexican Restaurant in Waukesha – It literally has seating in an old box car and is by the tracks
  • Maxim’s at The Oconomowoc Depot – Boxcar dining right by a real railroad. Model railroad runs in the restaurant.
  • Titletown Brewery & Restaurants in Green Bay – When trains go by, they ring the bell!
  • The Crossing Restaurant in Pewaukee – located near a train track
  • SteamYard Coffee Shop in Hartland -Mildy train themed and not too far from train tracks!
  • Whelans Ice Cream & Coffee in Oconomowoc – There is a wooden train in the patio garden
DO YOU KNOW OF ANY SPECIAL TRAIN-THEMED DINING? TELL US IN THE COMMENTS AND WE WILL ADD TO THE GUIDE FOR ALL TO ENJOY!

Parks/farms/places with trains

GREEN MEADOWS Green Meadows

  • Imagination Station – There is a play train in the little kid area
  • Madeline Park in Sussex – Train-themed park (new!) in Sussex. N6523284 Elm Drive , Sussex. Madeline Park is a 7 acre open space park located on the northeast edge of the Stonefield subdivision on Waukesha Avenue, south of the Union Pacific Railroad line. My kids call this the “Train park”.
  • Cushing Park – There is a wooden train with steering wheel
  • Green Meadows – They have a brand new wooden train and train room! The train room has ride on trains, over 5 train tables, train toys of all kinds and more!
  • Shady Lane Green House Menomonee Falls – The KFH Legacy Model Train resides in a separate greenhouse (the House of Blooms) and measures 4,800 square feet. train runs every Saturday and Sunday 10:00am till 3:00. It is always best to call before coming.
  • Wales “Train” Park -Right off of the Glacier Drumlin trail in Wales is a wooden play train. Grab a coffee at MAMA D’S and enjoy it while your kiddos play on the train. The train was just updated by Wales Family Dental!
  • Oconomowoc Historical Society – The museum in Oconomowoc has a model train display also. On the night of trick or treat, the museum is open with free admission and lots of treats! Trains are running that night as well.

KNOW OF OTHER FUN PLACES WITH TRAINS? COMMENT BELOW AND WE WILL ADD TO THE LIST!

RailRoad Museums

National Railroad Museum Green Bay
 National Railroad Museum Green Bay


RAILROAD CLUBS

  • Lionel Railroad Club of Milwaukee
    • Parkland Plaza
    • 2721 South Calhoun Road New Berlin, WI 53151
    • (262) 754-9900
    • (entrance in back of building)
    • “One of the Oldest Railroad Clubs in Wisconsin”
    • Open to the public Fridays, 1 to 10 pm (Free)
    • (and Saturday & Sunday hours October > April 1 – 5 pm)
    • Don’t miss the trains
    • WEBSITE

 

  • Milwaukee Light Engineering Society
    • 2620 Country Aire Dr Cedarburg, Wisconsin
    • We are a live steam club that has almost a mile of 7.5″ track on 6.5 acres.
    • The Milwaukee Light Engineering Society was founded in 1969. M.L.E.S. is open to all individuals interested in mechanical devices and all phases of their construction.
    • WEBSITE
 
KNOW OF OTHER LOCAL RAILROAD CLUBS? COMMENT BELOW AND WE WILL ADD TO THE LIST!

Train Hobby Shops

WANT YOUR LOCAL RAILROAD SHOP ADDED TO THE LIST? COMMENT BELOW AND WE WILL ADD IT!

Hidden Gem Spots

  • Nixon Park – Trains go through the area and you can see/hear them from the park
  • Bridge in Butler, WI overlooking the train depot
  • Dickten Park in Nashotah. Trains can be seen going by on the tracks, which are across the street (a safe distance) from the park.  Also, there’s a fire station next door.
  • Frame Park Waukesha –  you are bound to see/hear a train here if you play
  • Kiwanis Village Park in Pewaukee– three trains went by in ten minutes when we were there the other day (you can also catch trains from Pewaukee Beach)

WHERE ELSE DO YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES VIEW REAL, LIVE TRAINS? COMMENT BELOW AND WE WILL ADD TO THE LIST! 

Don’t forget to share your train fun with Lake Country Family Fun on Instagram (IG) with #lovelcff. 

Find us on IG HERE.

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A Lake Country Kid's Guide to [all things] train

 

TELL US YOUR FAVORITE TRAIN ACTIVITIES!

Do you have a train ride, a train dining spot, a train trip, a train viewing area or park with a train that is not on this list? I bet you do! Well…share the train tips with your fellow Lake Country Families. Email them to us at Erin@lakecountryfamilyfun(dot)com or use the contact form button. We will add them to the list.

4 thoughts on “A Lake Country Kid’s Guide to [All Things] TRAIN”

  1. Lionel Railroad Club of Milwaukee
    Parkland Plaza
    2721 South Calhoun Road
    New Berlin, WI 53151
    (262)754-9900
    (entrance in back of building)
    Semi annual open house
    April 7 & 8, 2018
    November 24 & 25, 2018

    Also monthly swap meets during winter months

    milw-lrrc.com

  2. Hidden Gem Spot:
    Dickten Park in Nashotah. Trains can be seen going by on the tracks, which are across the street (a safe distance) from the park. Also, there’s a fire station next door.

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