If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll know my little crew and I just love checking out new activities around Ottawa. My boys love trains and train rides, so I was delighted to discover that just 45 minutes outside of Ottawa, in Smith Falls, the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario organizes train rides on certain weekends throughout the year. We got wind of the first one that took place on the May long weekend so we went to check it out!
The website advises to purchase tickets ahead of time on Eventbrite and arrive 30 minutes ahead of time to check in. Neither are mandatory, but doing so guarantees your seat since there are limited spaces in the cabooses (a caboose is a railroad car at the end of a freight train).The boys couldn’t wait to go on a real train! I explained that this was much different than the mini trains they have been on before… in fact, it’s a 1957 Diesel locomotive!
Tickets are $5 and children 3 and under are free. Just be sure to still select a no cost ticket for them to reserve their spot. Admission to the museum is included on train days if you purchase a train ride ticket. Sadly, we didn’t have time to explore the museum but we will certainly go again because the boys loved it so much!
We arrived just on time like they asked, 30 minutes prior to our scheduled train ride. It’s the cutest little place with a little gift shop when you enter. The staff are all decked out in the appropriate attire making it that much more fun for the kids. The boys held onto their paper tickets tightly and moved onto the train deck where we anxiously awaited the train to come back for our turn.
When it was time, they waited like good little patient boys wide-eyed staring at the conductor, excited to get their ticket stamped, just like on the Polar Express! We hopped on while we waited for our departure and explored all three unique historic cabooses before we landed on the one we liked the best. For part of the ride we got to go up into the cool little compartment that jets out from the top of the caboose where there are a couple of small seats and windows for the best view. Best part is the ladder that takes you up there. Hudson repeated “chugga chugga choo choo” the whole time, his excitement was adorable.
The actual ride lasts about 10 to 15 minutes and is approximately 2km long, leaving the station along the west track heading north to Cornelia Street then switching to the east track travelling along the east side of the property then back again. One of the staff members talks a bit about the history of the station while you ride the train which is interesting. The station originated in 1912!
We wrapped up our day with a lunch at a great little local pub, Matty O’Shea’s. With their full little bellies, my boys fell asleep 5 minutes into the ride back and had a little snooze after a full day of excitement. We plan to go back for one of the summer rides and most definitely for the December one that we heard about which is Polar Express with Santa himself!
You can see the upcoming dates and when the tickets go on sale on the train ride schedule section of the museum’s website. Let me know if you’ve been or plan to go. We had such a fun time, and highly recommend it!