There’s something that fascinates me about the age of rail travel. Yes, I know, you can still travel by train today, but it just doesn’t look the same. I would love to go back in time to take a train trip, but until someone invents a time machine, museums will have to suffice. The Historic Railpark & Train Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is housed in a former railroad station that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum includes indoor exhibits as well as a guided tour of the interior of several railroad cars. Train enthusiasts need to put this museum on their bucket list.
When you arrive at the museum and pay admission, they will let you know when the next tour begins. Until then, you can explore the museum exhibits on the first and second floor. A scavenger hunt was available during our visit, but we chose to explore the exhibits on our own. The first floor houses an exhibit about Segregation and the North American Railroad. Kids today might find it hard to believe that there used to be separate waiting rooms for white and colored people. Another exhibit explains the significance of the railroad during the Civil War. Kids won’t want to miss the model train exhibit.
The second floor had several interesting exhibits, some of them interactive. I liked “meeting” an Engineer, Cook, and Conductor. You can choose which questions you’d like to hear answered.
Another interesting exhibit was about hobos where you can learn about the history and lifestyle of the American Hobo, including the symbols they used to communicate.
Other exhibits contain information about sleeping cars, dining cars, and a hands-on railroad bell and lantern. There is also a movie theater, but we didn’t have time to check it out because it was time for our tour to begin. The tour takes you outside to the train tracks.
We toured a Railroad Post Office Car that was built in 1921. It was interesting to learn about how mail was sorted and distributed to stations.
Next we toured a dining car. I would love to travel by train and eat in a car like this one!
We also got to see the kitchen where the food was prepared.
Next was a Pullman sleeper car. They had seats set up in both the daytime and nighttime configurations. We also saw how the sleeping accommodations differed between first, second, and third class.
We toured the car used by the L&N Company President. It had much more luxurious accommodations.
And, what kind of train tour would this be if it didn’t end with a caboose?
My kids and I enjoyed our visit to the Historic Railpark & Train Museum, especially touring the different train cars.
Ready to visit?
The Historic Railpark & Train Museum
401 Kentucky St. Suite B
Bowling Green, KY 42101
April – September 31
Monday-Saturday: 9 am-5 pm
Sunday: 1 pm-4 pm
Tuesday-Saturday: 9 am-5 pm Closed Monday
Sunday: 1 pm-4 pm
Allow at least 1 1/2 hour for your visit. The last guided tour leaves between 3:30-4:00 and lasts 30-45 minutes.
Seniors 60+: $10
Ages 13-59: $12
Children 5-12: $6
Children (4 and under): FREE
Disclosure: We received complimentary admission to the museum so that I could research and write this article. Many thanks to the Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for coordinating our trip.
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