Where Every Family Matters

All Aboard! Take Your Pint-Sized Train-Lover on the Ride of His Life!

Around age 3 many kids become obsessed by things like cars, trucks or trains. Here's how to go full steam ahead to feed their passion.


Dollywood Express at Dollywood Theme Park
2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd., Pigeon Forge
800-365-5996 | dollywood.com

Take a 20-minute train ride during your visit to the Dollywood theme park and enjoy the authentic 110-ton coal-fired steam engine on a five-mile journey. Rides are included with Dollywood theme park admission ($74 ages 10 – 61, $69 ages 62 and older, $61 ages 4 – 9).

Music City Star (photo above)
430 Myatt Drive, Nashville
615-862-8833 | rtarelaxandride.com

This commuter rail service runs between Nashville and Lebanon and makes stops at seven stations: Riverfront, Donelson, Hermitage, Mt. Juliet, Martha, Hamilton Springs and Lebanon. There are ticket vending machines on the platform at all stations and one-way ride tickets are $5.25 adults ($2 in Donelson), $2 kids.

Wilderness Express at Nashville Zoo
3777 Nolensville Pike, Nashville
615-833-1534 | nashvillezoo.org

While it's not a life-sized train, kids love to ride on the little path at the Nashville Zoo. Wilderness Express rides cost one attraction ticket (tickets are $2 each and can be purchased near the ride) in addition to regular admission prices. Any day admission is $20 adults, $18 ages 65+, $15 ages 2 – 12, $7 parking.

Tennessee Central Railway Museum
220 Willow St., Nashville
615-244-9001 | tcry.org

Ride a historic passenger train and experience the joys of rail travel. Several excursions are coming up for families including the Train Robbery Excursion to Watertown (Sept. 28), Oktoberfest Excursion to Watertown (Oct. 5), Fall Festival Excursion to Baxter (Oct. 26), North Pole Express to Watertown (Nov. 30) and a Morning or Afternoon North Pole Express to Lebanon (Dec. 7 and 14). Prices vary and start at $21.


Tennessee Valley Railroad and Museum (photo above)
4119 Cromwell Road, Chattanooga
423-894-8028 | tvrail.com

Purchase train ride tickets for departures from either Chattanooga or Etowah and enjoy the museum featuring interactive, historical experience. Train ride ticket costs vary. TVR has a remarkable collection of historic trains.


Cannonsburgh Village
312 South Front St., Murfreesboro
615-890-0355 | murfreesborotn.gov/164/Cannonsburgh-Village

Take a free, self-guided tour around the historic village to see a gristmill, school house, a telephone operator's house and more. While you’re there, don’t forget to see the big red caboose!

Crossville Model Railroad Club
Crossville Outlet Center, 228 Interstate Drive, Ste. 109, Crossville
931-210-5050 | crossvilletrains.org

Enjoy five operating train display layouts in this 5,000-square-foot community attraction. Admission is free.

Customs House Museum & Cultural Center
200 S. Second St., Clarksville
931-648-5780 | customshousemuseum.org/exhibits/trains

The Customs House Museum boasts one of the largest model railroad layouts in the region. You can control the animation of action within the layout to interact with the display — make the figures and automobiles move and helicopters fly. There's even a Thomas the Tank Engine at the Island of Sodor. There are also numerous static displays of collectible model locomotive engines and the many types of railroad rolling stock. Trains run from 1 – 4 p.m. every Sunday and 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. every Wednesday. There's are circus-themed model trains on view now!

Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way, Nashville
615-936-1000 | childrenshospitalvanderbilt.org

If you happen to be at the hospital, check out the train display on the first floor. Its long-awaited return has people excited, in addition to the new grand staircase and lobby area at the hospital. Free to admire.

Phillips Toy Mart
5207 Harding Pike, Nashville
615-352-5363 | phillipstoymart.com

Kids love coming to this long-standing toy store for the toys … but also for the large train display and observation deck. Phillips is one of the few stores locally that sells model trains, so be sure to check them out, too. (Ask about a starter set!)


TRAINS! at Cheekwood (photo above)
1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville
615-356-8000 | cheekwood.org/explore/trains

Explore this outdoor exhibit in the Turner Seasons Garden and watch the trains go around in the enchanted woodland-themed setup, climb around on the new play structure and more. Included with regular admission ($20 adult, $13 ages 3 – 17, free ages 2 and younger).

Wings & Wheels at Discovery Center
502 S.E. Broad St., Murfreesboro
615-890-2300 | explorethedc.org

Play on the interactive Brio Train Engine, take a trip to Coal Mountain or engage with the Brio train table and more that explore the world of transportation through train, cars and airplanes! There’s even one entire room filled with a train display. Included with general admission ($8, free ages 2 and younger).

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