Day Trip: Exploring the Alberta Railway Museum

“Mom – we’re going to the train place.” Big dude shouts from the couch, where despite the soaring temperature he is bundled under blankets.

I look at my husband – I have no idea what big dude is talking about – does he?

My husband spins the computer around so I can see the webpage – Alberta Railway Museum. Close to home and filled with restored trains, I’m totally up for a little outside adventuring before the heat chases us back into air-conditioning. My husband had the chance to visit a few places during Edmonton’s Historic Festival and Doors Open but this is a great chance for the boys and I to make it out to another heritage site.

As promised, the museum is only about 20 minutes north of Edmonton and as we reach the turn-off (the sign on the highway is quite small so keep an eye out) – the boys ask the all-important question – can they touch things at this museum?

My husband assures them that go into almost all of the trains, plus all the items inside the train can be touched.  It was awesome. Especially with a 3.5 year old and a 6 year old who love interactive sites.  Over the next hour and a half, big dude climbed into every open engine and train car and touched absolutely everything. Little dude was amazed by the kitchen car and after unlocking a row of cabinets he climbed right into the cupboards and pretended to be different types of food.

The focus of the museum is to give people the chance to interact with the different trains.  Completely run by dedicated volunteers, the site is open only on weekends. On long weekends, you can ride on a train and on other weekends there is the opportunity to ride a speeder.  The speeder, with its open sides, was hit with my dudes.  Going up and down the track, while waving to passing cars was an experience that the boys can’t get anywhere else, and they loved it.  For parents of train-loving kids – add this immediately to your summer list. My boys aren’t normally train-crazy but the excitement of being the engineer, cook and train workers filled them with enthusiasm.

Is the Alberta Railway Museum Little Kid-Friendly?

The museum is not stroller or wagon friendly. It’s a very compact site though so baby-wearing or even carrying a younger child is not difficult. Climbing into the train cars seemed more difficult than it actually was – by the third car, little dude just needed a helping hand but he could navigate the stairs himself.

I am glad that we applied liberal amounts of bug spray. Like most outdoor sites in the area – there were quite a few mosquitos. There are also a lot of spiders – to be fair we only saw one spider but a lot of spider webs – and the boys enjoyed chasing frogs before we stopped for a snack.

My only regret is that the boys refused to cooperate for photos – I snuck a few but I am certainly going to keep the site in mind the next time we are planning family photos. Or I’ll bring candy so I can bribe them into standing still and smiling – I’m not worried though, I’m sure we’ll be back at least a few more times this summer.

This post is part of a sponsored campaign between Edmonton Mama and the Edmonton District Historical Society, all opinions are our own.  The Edmonton Historical District Society is dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the history of Edmonton and northern Alberta.




Allison is a mom of two energetic boys.Constantly trying to balance life, often caught between the needs of her boys, financial reality and her own desire for a meaningful career, you'll find her leaning on her village in North Edmonton.Her philosophy of more experiences less stuff is constantly challenged by her kids love of all stuff.