From Thomas the Tank Engine and The Little Engine That Could, to Platform 9¾ and “Murder on The Orient Express,” trains captivate our imaginations. Journey and destination are so deeply interwoven within the massive steel body of a locomotive, that it has long been a favorite trope for storytellers, as well as a favorite toy for children.
In North Carolina, we can choose from an abundance of enchanting train options. Go with a functional, carefree way to travel via NC By Train, or delight in pure whimsy at Tweetsie Railroad. Here are some options for the train lover in all of us.
tweetsie.com 300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane, Blowing Rock
Tucked in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Tweetsie Railroad, located in Blowing Rock, is the oldest theme park in North Carolina. From its traditional Wild West theme to rotating special events, this park has something for everyone.
Locomotive No. 12, dubbed “Tweetsie,” debuted July 4, 1957, as a family fun activity that gave passengers a 1-mile ride to a picnic site. Since then, the park has added Engine No. 190, the “Yukon Queen,” and expanded the track to a 3-mile loop.
In addition to trains, Tweetsie Railroad consists of hundreds of acres filled with rides, shops, eateries, live entertainment and an animal park.
Through Oct. 27, Tweetsie is open on Friday through Sunday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is $50 for ages 13 and older, $32 for ages 3-12, and free for ages 2 and younger.
Through Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m.- 11:30 p.m.
Admission to the Ghost Train, which is separate from park admission, is $44 for adults, $38 for children ages 3-12 and free for ages 2 and younger. The Ghost Train ride takes 20 minutes. Admission includes a haunted house, Halloween shows, trick-or-treating and other “ghastly attractions.”
Starting Nov. 22, Tweetsie Railroad transforms from spooky to merry for its annual Tweetsie Christmas event. Thousands of Christmas lights twinkle during the nighttime train ride. Passengers sing Christmas carols, roast s’mores and get pictures with Santa.
THE NORTH CAROLINA TRANSPORTATION MUSEUM
nctrans.org 1 Samuel Spencer Drive, Spencer
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