A little train lover's paradise
Het Spoorwegmuseum meaning ‘Train museum” is a great day out for the whole family, especially for train loving toddlers! All of the attractions are based on being interactive adventures and therefore are accessible to all.
The train museum is located just a short walk from the centre of Utrecht city. If arriving from other destinations it is easily reached by shuttle train from Utrecht central station, by bus or simply park your car right in front of the entrance. The car park can become full quite quickly so it may be necessary to park in one of the adjoining streets. When doing so, remember to pay at a parking meter.
The entrance to the museum itself has been beautifully restored transporting you back in time from the moment you enter the building, complete with chandeliers and royal waiting room. Once you arrive in this grand open entrance you can buy your tickets from a traditional ticket booth. Almost immediately you will come across what appears to be a stack of luggage, look a little closer and there are viewing holes at all heights with stories and images being told by holographic images within. And so your journey begins…..
The idea is to take you on a journey of The Dutch railway network across the ages.
You will be able to view the royal train dating from the reign of Queen Juliana and look closely at many more beautifully maintained historical trains along the platform.
Once inside the main museum building itself you can explore even more trains from throughout time and from there you can access the other attractions that this little gem of a museum has to offer. Whether you wish to watch a theatre performance showcasing the journey that the Orient Express took along Europe and into Asia, have a go on a 4D simulator where you get to be the train driver or take a roller coaster train ride with the whole family (buggies can be left at the entrance to the ride) including sound effects and steam, you will be spoilt for choice.
There is a wonderful narrated walk back in time on the history of workmanship leading through workshops and villages completing its journey at a platform showcasing The Netherlands’ first steam locomotive ‘The Arend.’ This tour begins by taking a lift descending 150m and if your children will allow, there is audio accompaniment that can be taken with you in English.
This is just some of the attractions that can be enjoyed from indoors but there is even more outdoors…..
A firm favourite is the Jumbo Express! This is a miniature Dutch train which ONLY children are allowed on (much to their delight). It takes a short journey around the outdoor terrain and we’d be surprised if you don’t find yourselves taking a seat on one of the conveniently located picnic benches as they return to have ride after ride after ride. In this same outdoor area you will find facilities for picnics and also a selection of slides for the children to play on and let of some steam (no pun intended).
If you haven’t brought your own picnic then there is plenty of catering choice within the main building and also high chairs. The restaurant areas have open spaces in front of them overlooking the many trains on exhibit which allows for restless children to have some space while you still manage to grab a cup of coffee.
It is worth keeping your eye open for special events at this museum as Chuggington and Thomas and his Friends come for a long weekend annually, so these days can prove very popular indeed. Over the Christmas holiday period the museum turns itself into a winter station complete with indoor ice skating rink.
All of this excitement and entertainment is free for Children under 4 years.
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9h00 to 17h00. Surprisingly, it is also open on public holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Whitsun.
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