Tradewinds And Atlantic Railroad
3600 W. Sample Road
Coconut Creek, FL 33066
On the third complete weekend of each month, you can take a 1/2-mile steam train ride for only $1. Even though the Tradewinds and Atlantic Railroad is only 1/8 of life size (about 11 times bigger than one you might have under your Christmas tree), it’s suitable for children and adults. As you chug alongside the scenic lake, you’ll feel the tracks beneath you and the steam puffs will definitely add to the excitement. You’ll find this model locomotive across the street from Butterfly World on the north side of Tradewinds Park. The trains are operated by the Florida Live Steamers. Hours are 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. (3 p.m. in November).
Gold Coast Railroad Museum
12450 S.W. 152nd St.
Miami, FL 33177
This is the ultimate place for train enthusiasts. From 20-minute rides on the Edwin Link Children’s Railroad ($3) to seeing the Ferdinand Magellan Presidential Rail Car, you should plan to spend several hours exploring the museum’s 50 acres of fun. For a real thrill, take a “Cab” ride and climb up front with the engineer ($12) on a diesel-electric locomotive. On your 25-minute ride, you’ll learn all about the interesting history of the train car and the grounds from the conductor. In addition to rides, exhibits and touring in the interiors and exteriors of historic train cars, be sure to stop in the quaint gift shop and pick up a few engineer hats, whistles, shirts and other train goodies. The first Saturday of each month is free museum admission. The Edwin Link Children’s Railroad (also suitable for adults) offers rides each weekend at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
South Florida Railway Museum
1300 W. Hillsboro Blvd.
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442
If you’re looking for indoor locomotive fun, this recently remodeled museum is located in Deerfield’s historic AMTRAK station. In air-conditioned comfort, you can learn about the importance of railroading and how it was a great boom to South Florida’s economy, all by admiring three different operating model train layouts and their meticulously detailed scenes. The museum’s collection of historic artifacts is equally as impressive, but the history of the building itself (as a former station of the Seaboard Air Line Railway) is what you might remember most. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, the same year that renovations began to restore it to its former Mediterranean glory. The remodel was completed in January 2013. The museum is open Wednesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday afternoons from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Jill Martin is a family travel expert, appearing on numerous television and radio shows. She spent five years as the VISIT FLORIDA Family Insider, has penned children’s books, and is the creator of Sunshine Brain Games – trivia cards about Florida. A Miami native, Jill resides in Redland. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.