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Riding the Rails

urbanMama Heather is looking for more rails to ride for her three year old kiddo:

My three year old LOVES trains, streetcars and the like.  I am always looking for different train-type themed activities for us to do?  Anyone have any suggestions for train rides they loved, train themed parks, trains museums, etc. that might be more unknown or usual?  We have made our fair share of Amtrak, Max and Portland Streetcar rides.

There are several other events that come to mind.  First, after visiting the zoo this weekend, we should not forget the zoo train.  Occasionally the Oregon Heritage Rail Foundation has special events with our very cool steam and diesel engines.  Their ultimate goal in their events is to have a rail museum here in Portland sooner than later.  If you don't mind heading north across the Columbia River, then you could try the SP&S Railway Museum.  If you think he'd like to observe some miniature trains in action there are sometimes shows at the Columbia Gorge Model Railroad Club.  If you drive east you could catch a ride on the Mt Hood Rail Road.  Any moms have additional train-related event/activity suggestions for a three year old? 

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A favorite in Clark County is the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad (BYCX), "an all volunteer, non-profit organization, has restored the rail line between Chelatchie Prairie and Lucia Falls, All of our excursions originate from Yacolt, Wa." http://www.bycx.com/ There is a 300ft tunnel that is very dark - bring flashlights to fight off fears and to look at the inside of the tunnel! Looks like they only have one run left before Halloween -- they do halloween and christmas tree events.

There is a short little train ride at Oaks Park in Sellwood. There is also a guy that owns his own car and caboose that runs along the tracks through Sellwood and Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. I'm not sure what his schedule is or what the cost is but I seem him give rides to kids once in awhile.

Take your train lover here: http://www.pnls.org/
It only runs on Sundays, and the cost is donation based. They've got picnic areas, and it's great for birthday parties too. (Just be sure to leave a generous donation and clean up the partty mess!) You can ride the trains over and over again. Then have a snow cone. Super fun for all ages!

If you are ever outthat way, there is a nice trolley ride on the river front in Astoria, Or. its very beautiful, and they tell you about the history of the town and stuff... its pretty fun and its only 1 dollar to ride!

If you find yourself in Southern Oregon, the Medford Railroad Park http://www.ci.medford.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=497
is fun. It's only open on the 2nd & 4th Sunday of the month April-Oct but has it all for the train lover.

It's run by volunteer railroad enthusiasts and has a huge model train setup running as well as some old restored cars you can go into and explore. The big draw for our small train lover though was the small train you can actually ride on a loop through the grounds. We had a blast.

This is a really interesting space in NW Downtown and I'm pretty sure they have monthly open house events.

http://staverlocomotive.com/

There's the Willamette Shore Trolley which runs between Lake Oswego and Portland.

http://www.trainweb.org/oerhs/wst.htm

This one is only open around Thanksgiving, but the Columbia Gorge Model Railroad club has a great display that models Portland and other Oregon locations.
http://www.cgmrc.com/

My boys love riding the Max. They cannot get enough of it. Take the Max red line out to IKEA for a nice cheap lunch. The dining area has a fantastic kids area, and you might even be brave enough to browse. Or, the Airport is one stop away, and they have an indoor play area that you can take your son to on a rainy day, and while you're there, you can look at the planes too. We also took the train out to Hillsboro for the Washington County Fair a few weeks ago. You'd be amazed at the many activities that you might find within a short walking distance from a Max stop.

Lakeview Farms in North Plains (16 miles west of Portland off Highway 26) has two miniature trains. http://thelakeviewfarms.com

I wanted to add another to the list.

We just visited Flower Farmer in Canby. It's a 40 minute drive from SE, and there is a train that does a little loop and farm animals to pet and feed. In October, they have pumpkins and a huge hay-bale pyramid kids can climb. A good excursion for train lovers.

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