June 29, 2017

Choo-Choo: Kids Ride Free on Amtrak + National Train Day on May 7

If you’ve been thinking about taking your kids on a train adventure, now is the time to act because to celebrate 40 years of Amtrak service kids ages 2 to 15 ride free with a paying adult passenger between May 1 and June 9. Book your trip by May 6 to take advantage of this fantastic offer.

Not sure where to go? Amtrak has a list of the 12 Most Scenic Amtrak Tours. Number one is the trip from New York City to Montreal on the Adirondack line, but keep in mind that that trip is 12 hours, and may not be ideal for kids. Click through to learn more about each scenic tour as well as train schedules.

To celebrate their 40th anniversary, Amtrak also launched an online portal just for kids called the Amtrak Kids Depot. I checked out this site and found a lot of great learning materials for kids to help your kids learn more about the train system as the train chugs from station to station. Among the activities:

  • Check out a timeline of railroad history from the construction of the first common carrier railroad, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1828 to the passage of legislation in 1970 to create Amtrak.
  • Download and print a timeline of Amtrak’s history. Learn about the day Amtrak began operation between New York and Philadelphia, as well as the Auto Train service between Washington, DC and Orlando.
  • Print out a map of the Amtrak rail system in the United States.
  • For young learners, print out the “Rail-phabet” to learn the lingo of trains from A to Z, like “C” for Caboose and “F” for Flagman.

You’ll also find various online games and coloring pages related to trains and even cities served by Amtrak too. It’s a great site and a great way to learn more about the history of train transportation.

If you want more of a hands-on experience and live in the Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Los Angeles or Chicago area, enjoy the official National Train Day celebration on Saturday, May 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be exclusive exhibits highlighting contributions made to the railway throughout history, as well as free live entertainment, kids activities and elaborate model train displays.

National Train Day isn’t limited to the major metropolitan areas above. Check the interactive map for dates and times of National Train Day festivities around the country. In 2010, more than 180 events took place across the country.

I took the girls on their first-ever train trip last year from Washington, DC to New York. It was around four hours and I got very close to hearing “Are we there yet?” but it was a great adventure overall. Have you taken your kids on a trip by train? What tips do you have for other readers on train travel and kids?

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