Cool Train Activities for Chicagoland Kids

All aboard! Your train-obsessed kiddos will love these local spots in the city and suburbs.

Is your child experiencing the typical train obsession? Whether they always go crazy at the sight of a real train, love to play with model trains or want to be a train conductor one day, there are plenty of train-themed activities in Chicagoland to make their day.

We rounded up our favorite kid-friendly train activities and experiences in Chicago and the suburbs.

2Toots Train Whistle Grill 

Your kids will love this train restaurant chain! The owners behind 2Toots Train Whistle Grill believe in old-fashioned fun and their passion for toy trains brings lots of charm to their suburban locations. Join the 2Toots Birthday Club for a personalized letter in the mail, along with a free kids meal and train whistle cupcake.

Berwyn’s Toys & Trains

Local toy stores are known for having a train track, but Berwyn’s Toys & Trains take it to the next level. The shop specializes in an operating model train for customers to enjoy. While you’re there, go shopping for trains, dolls, Legos and more.

Big Rock Steam Train at Blackberry Farm

While Blackberry Farm is always worth the visit, your kids would immediately ask for a chance to ride the farm’s Big Rock Steam Train. The seven-minute ride takes a trip around Lake Gregory and you’ll be able enjoy unlimited rides since all attractions are included in general admission.

Chicago Transit Authority

Did you know kids under 7 years old ride free on the CTA? The Chicago L offers more than 140 stations, which gives you easy access to the elevated trains. Buy a 1-Day pass ($5) to make it a day of exploring all the colored rail lines.

The Fox River Trolley Museum 

Your family can rediscover the simpler life at this unique Trolley Museum. It often hosts events perfect for families and offers 40-minute electric trolley rides through the Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve and back to the South Elgin museum.

Great Midwest Train Show at DuPage County Fairgrounds 

Every month, The Great Midwest Train Show entertains train enthusiasts with an average of 180 exhibitors. See operating train tables, train Lego exhibits, discounts and more family fun. Kids under 11 get in for free.

Illinois Railway Museum 

This museum is worth the drive to Union since it’s one of the largest railway museums in the United States. Your kids can run around outside to see historic railway equipment from gigantic train artifacts to railroad signs. Don’t forget to buy a train-themed souvenir on the way out!

Lionel Train Adventure at Lincoln Park Zoo 

On your next Lincoln Park Zoo trip, spend $4 to take a ride on the Lionel Train. You can find the attraction near the zoo’s West Gate. The trackless, 28-passenger train takes passengers over a bridge and past some nature scenery. Definitely a ride for your train-loving littles!

Metra Rail

You have so many options when riding with Metra. If you head downtown, spend extra time at these downtown stations to see all different kinds of trains lined up in one spot. Children under 7 ride free with a fare-paying adult and look out for Metra’s Family Fares program where kids can ride free on weekends and select holidays.

Model Railroad Garden at Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago Botanic Garden showcases America with a 7,500-square-foot layout. With 26 bridges and up to 50 miniature national landmarks and tiny trees and plants, you can spend hours watching the 18 model trains running on 18 tracks.

Rochelle Railroad Park 

Open 24 hours a day, Rochelle Railroad Park operates as a park to see operating trains. Pack up a picnic because you’ll have to sit and wait for the trains to pass by. Rail fans will love to see the variety of real trains working in action. Other features include public restrooms, railroad artifacts, a gift shop and more.

The Great Train Story at Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago 

The Great Train Story is a classic attraction at MSI, since you can travel around the country in minutes from Chicago to Seattle. Your little ones won’t get bored looking at all the scenery and remarkable details on the 1,400-foot moving track.

Valley Model Railroad Club 

You might have seen Valley Model Railroad Club at the annual Lambs Farm Model Train Day or the Great Midwest Train Show. The club also has a main train layout where it takes up most of the space in its South Elgin location. Check its calendar to find out when you can next see the model trains in motion.

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