All Aboard the Wilmington Railroad Museum in North Carolina | Kids Out and About Albany

All Aboard the Wilmington Railroad Museum in North Carolina

By Meg Brunson

We wanted to attend the Wilmington Railroad Museum because we've yet to visit a museum focused on the railroad - and it was right next door to the Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau (which we already had plans to visit). We didn't even know that they hold a Guinness World Record for longest model train (or else that would have been a reason we wanted to visit!

When you enter the museum, you see a really cool model train that captivated my whole family. There was an area where you could shop for momentos, and some books and literature to learn more about the history of the railroad. The kids loved watching that model train - they had NO IDEA what was in store for them further back in the museum. 

As we made our way into the 2nd room (History Hall) we experiences some display exhibits - what you'd expect from a museum. History, artifacts, etc. There were a couple interactive areas, but the kids were drawn back into a third room with a bigger model train and a kids' play area. The kids loved looking at the miniature world and following the trains as they went over bridges and around curves. The little 2 gravitated towards the toys - and then we stepped into the room where we'd spend most of our time - far in the back - they definitely saved the best for last!

That back room is where you'll find the Guinness Award winning model train. This train is truely amazing - it's based on coastal North Carolina in the 1950s. They've actually recreated the Wilmington freight and passenger terminal area and surrounding buildings exactly as they were in the 1950s! Over a dozen separate trains are running on the various tracks - and there are buttons EVERYWHERE. Some buttons make trains go. Some buttons control the weather, hot air baloons, carnival rides... it's so much fun for everyone!

One of the trains even has a camera on it, and it live streams to a TV in the Model Room, so you can see how realistic the city looks from the train's point of view. It was also a lot of fun to try to find the train that had a camera on it (only to find it clearly labeled!).  

The Model Room also had a little scavenger hunt - there were a dozen or so questions and in order to answer them all, the kids had to really examine the different areas of the model train. Once the kids completed the hunt, they were each awarded a sticker for their work!

After we had our share of pressing buttons and playing with the model trains, we went out front to explore the garden and caboose - It was interesting to go through an actual caboose and learn about it's uses. Out front was a rail car and a steam engine - the kids loved ringing the big bell on the engine! 

I loved that this museum had everything from the actual train cars, all the way down to tiny miniatures - it was all so family friendly and also very interesting and educational!

Tips for a Terrific Trip

  • Visitors - If you have not already visited the Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau, it's right nextdoor to the Railroad Museum - definitely stop in and discover some other amazing places to see in the area! 
  • Parking - there are a couple parking spots reserved in the adjoining parking lot - right in front of the black engine car. During our visit, those spots were full, so we parked in a nearby parking garage. The other parking spaces in the lot are reserved for hotel guests and other specified businesses.
  • Outside - Don't forget to spend time exploring the authentic caboose out front (you enter this area from inside the museum) and the rail car and engine just outside the main entrance!
  • Model Room - Make sure you turn the lights off to experience the trains "at night" - it was our favorite!

Start planning your trip, and learn more about admissions, location, and special events at!

Read about some of the other adventures we're having on our Year-Long Road Trip!


© 2019 Meg Brunson

Thanks to Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau and the WIlmington Railroad Museum. for sponsoring this review. All opinions expressed are my own. See more on Instagram!

Meg is a mommy blogger, Facebook marketer, and much more. She is a mom to four kids who live full-time in an RV exploring the US! As a former Facebook employee, Meg remains a Facebook addict and handles's Social Media Marketing in addition to providing freelance services for other small businesses on how to best leverage Facebook as a part of their marketing strategy. Meg also hosts the FamilyPreneur Podcast, a podcast for parent entrepreneurs raising entrepreneurial children. Learn more about Meg at!