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“A good place to visit.”

San Diego Model Railroad Museum
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Ranked #46 of 426 things to do in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: One of the world's largest model railroad museums features a scale model railway that replicates San Diego's tracks.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
38 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“A good place to visit.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 August 2014

The model railway Museum is very good and a worth while visit if you are into model trains. Adult entry fee is $8 each and I consider it worth the money. A couple of large layouts will keep you amused for an hour or two. The kids will love this place.

The Model Railway Museum is located in Balboa park, just outside downtown San Diego. It is all up hill from downtown and I would not walk it. We took a cab from downtown to the museum complex in the park. Ask the driver to go near the natural history museum as some don't know about the model railway museum. Cab fare from downtown was around $14. The walk back to downtown was all downhill and took about 15-20min to get back to the gaslamp district if you don't want to get a cab back.

Visited July 2014
1 Thank Chris C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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389 reviews from our community

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Orange, Virginia
Level Contributor
162 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 109 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 July 2014

Of course it helps if you love model trains, but really, one would have to be a curmudgeon not to enjoy this little museum. It is well worth the admission. Most of the layouts are based on real California railroads and the level of detail is mind boggling. In one there are little tiny people flying little tiny kites. These layouts are in N gauge and just fascinating.

There is also a very interesting static exhibit on the evolution of model railroading and toy trains. Finally, there is a fantasy exhibit that is just the best fun. O gauge trains wend their way through various 'towns' and scenes - including a carnival with working rides (carousel, Ferris wheel), a building on fire with fire trucks and 'flames' and a small town with diner and movie theater. And that's just a sample! Such fun.

Everyone, big and small, was having a grand time and smiles abounded. So, if you have kids or are still a kid at heart, be sure to see this museum. The volunteers who build and maintain this amazing place are pleasant and willing to share their knowledge and information, adding to the experience.

Visited July 2014
1 Thank MadArchaeo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richmond, Texas
Level Contributor
233 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Very Enjoyable to Visit”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 July 2014 credit card Amex Cardmember Review

Fantastic setup of trains sets. Very well done - very detailed and scaled to landscape of area for each setting. Folks running trains were very friendly. They let our g-kids (age 9 & 12) go behind the scenes to show how everything is set-up and how things work. Spend about 20 minutes showing them the details of the various trains/buildings -( car would pull out of garage to get gas at service station, fire dept building would have fireman sliding down fire pole and garage door comes up & fire engine pulls out. Very impressive with all the detail work put into train setup. Kids really enjoyed it.

Visited July 2014
Thank 631kirbyf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Roeland Park, KS, a KC suburb
Level Contributor
71 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Worth the money if you love model railroads!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 July 2014

The variety of layouts here are great- and some are still a work in progress. There are folks there working on the layouts that were very informative when we asked about various items. The attention to details in all of the scenes is absolutely amazing!! They have obviously spent hundreds of thousands of hours on these layouts. If you look closely, there are many humorous scenes tucked in in many locations. Fun to hunt for them! Well worth your time.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Joan A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Irvine, Ca.
Level Contributor
40 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Cute museum”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 June 2014

I took my husband, baby, and mother-in-law to this museum because I thought my 18 month old would enjoy it. My husband and mother-in-law were reluctant to go, but they both really liked it and agreed that it was better than they expected it to be.

We were disappointed that two of the rooms were closed for remodeling while we were there. There was still plenty to look at, I just wish that they would have stated that there was remodeling on the website so that I could have postponed the trip until it was finished.

The trains were cool, but we really enjoyed the miniature scenes they set up the most. Someone setting them up has a good sense of humor if you look closely enough.

There is a little room with toy train tables set up that my daughter enjoyed, too.

Visited June 2014
Thank hmsd25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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