If your child loves trains, you must check out the Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park in Glendale. This destination has free train rides, museums, a little bit of history and your kids can even drive a train!
The first stop was riding the train of course! This land is part of the Maricopa County Park District which requires all visitors and members of various clubs using the park to complete their General Release Waiver, so you can sign it ahead of time here before your first visit.
The rides are free, however, donations are how the society keeps its doors open. We donate every ride, and again as we leave the museum. There is a safety video you must watch before getting on.
You can visit every Sunday, Oct – April between 11 am & 3 pm and take a ride on the trains. Rides are free, and a train ride is a great way to spend some family time together. They run multiple routes, so you can experience different views in the park. Rides last about 10 minutes and are actually quite nice. The train cars are a little small, there are some seats saved for adults only and they don’t allow kids on them. The rules are very strict, your feet must remain inside the train. It can rock a little if people are moving around a lot, however, the train conductor will stop and yell at you if you don’t obey the rules.
Sahuaro Central Railroad Museum
You can hop on the train and it will take you to the Sahuaro Central Railroad Museum for 10 minutes so you can look around. You can also access this by car, so don’t worry if you don’t see it all. In fact, 10 minutes is not nearly enough. I could spend all day in the Sahuaro Central Railroad Museum. It’s a “do not touch” kind of museum. I was grateful they had a train table for kids to play with while I looked around.
Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad in Glendale
This fun train runs on tracks so you can watch. We spotted a Thomas and Percey train chugging along.
Arizona Model Railroad Society
The Maricopa Live Steamers Railroad Heritage Preservation Society is a club for establishing, operating, and maintaining educational operating facilities for the use and enjoyment of the public using scale model railroad equipment. These are the people building the trains, and the ones preserving the history. Basically, they are the ones you want teaching you about trains!
Birthday Parties and More
MLS is the perfect place for birthday parties, company picnics, reunions, meetings, and other functions. The party areas are available on Sundays during our regular run season and can be scheduled any time between 11 am & 3 pm. There was a birthday party near the entrance of the train loading station for a 7-year-old and they were running all over the park.
Note that this isn’t a flashy park, but if you have a train lover it’s totally worth it in my opinion. However, I did overhear a few parents complaining about the drive out there. There are other ramada areas on the other side of the main train station that may be available for renting as well.
View of the tables from the train!
I could not get enough of how they turned all the old freight train boxes into a little town. There was a hotel, dentist, flower shop, church, and even a payphone! The kids were pretty disappointed that the sweets shop was not real.
Drive a Train
We saved the best for last. The kids got to learn how to drive a train! 2 horn beeps to go forward and 3 to reverse, max speed 2.5 mph so you get to see the joy on the kid’s faces.
Getting instructions from the teacher.
The teacher takes pictures and shares them on their Facebook page. You can view ours below as well as on their Facebook page.
Maricopa County Live Steamers runs every Sunday in October – April from 11 am to 3 pm. For more information click here.
Museum every Sunday in October – April from 11 am to 3 pm. For more information click here.
Model Railroad Society is open Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm. You can also make appointments to visit at other times. For more information visit their website or get in touch here.
23280 N 43rd Avenue
Glendale, AZ 85310