Chugga Chugga: 6 Miniature Trains to Hop On With Your Little Conductor

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I think I can, I think I can…… We think you can finally go outside! Enjoy warmer weather and brighter skies with an open-air train excursion available at many of our local parks. Most of these miniature trains are modeled after the C.P. Huntington, a historic train that inspired the illustrations in The Little Engine that Could. So, get off your caboose and enjoy the outdoors with your favorite little train-enthusiast.

miniature-train-crdtPhoto: Matt Wilcox via Flickr

Wheaton Regional Park
The Little Engine that puffs through this park runs on weekends in April, May and September and everyday in June, July and August. The faux-steam locomotive chugs through the Shorefield area’s forest, meadows and over Pine Lake via a trestle bridge. Rides last for twelve minutes.
Fee: $2/person (under 2 rides free with an adult).

2002 Shorefield Road (Wheaton, Md)

Burke Lake Park
Train rides are a nearly 50 year tradition at this Fairfax County park. The current model is a more efficient, eco-friendly version of the original 1967 attraction; it uses just four gallons of gas a day! The 10 minute ride takes passengers on speeds up to 12 miles an hour over almost two miles of track.
Fee: $3 weekdays;  $4 weekends/holidays (park entrance: $10)

7315 Ox Road (Fairfax Station, Va)

Cabin John Regional Park
The Southern Pacific replica (that’s code for a C.P. Huntington model) that runs through this park is open on Saturdays and Sundays in the spring and begins full-time operations in June. Passengers enjoy a 15 minute ride over two-miles of tracks.
Fee: $2/person (under 2 rides free with an adult)

7400 Tuckerman Lane (Rockville, Md)

RIO Washingtonian Center
This trackless choo-choo winds it way around Rio’s lakefront for a tot-friendly tour of the boardwalk area. Also onsite is a carousel, paddleboat and an interactive playground. Train rides run on Friday nights and weekends.
Fee: $3/person

209 Boardwalk Pl. (Gaithersburg, Md)

Clemyjontri Park
The small-scale Huntington that offers rides at Clemyjontri Park is lovingly known as Engine Number 62.  The train has historically offered trips on the last weekend of each month (check the website for this year’s schedule and pricing). The train includes an ADA-compliant car (which is fully accessible.  Number 62 also makes guest appearances at many Fairfax County events and historic sites! Worth the trip alone: a massive-scale playground that fosters parallel play for children of all abilities.

6317 Georgetown Pike (McLean, Va)

Watkins Regional Park
Engine Number 342 — which departs from a miniature train station — gives passengers a glimpse of Old Maryland Farm from the comfort of their rail car. The original red, white and blue train (which made its park debut in 1970) is still in operation.
Fee: $2/person ($2.50 for non-residents)

301 Watkins Park Dr. (Upper Marlboro, Md)

Does your family have a favorite miniature train? Tell us where it is in the comments section below. 
—Meghan Meyers