Places to Take Young Children




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Train Rides 

Kids love trains. These train rides are mostly miniature trains. For full-size train rides, see my "Places to Take School Age Kids" Page.
  • Traintown, Sonoma: Just south of historic downtown Sonoma, you will see a 47-foot clock tower and train depot. There are some full-sized train cabooses here you can explore, but the main attraction is the miniature train ride. The ride runs along 1 1/4 miles of track in the beautifully-landscaped 10-acre park. The ride crosses over 5 bridges and trestles and runs through 2 tunnels. In the middle of the ride, it stops at a miniature town and petting zoo. The park also has vintage amusement park rides, including a ferris wheel and carousel.
      Traintown, Sonoma
  • Billie Jones Wildcat Railroad, Oak Meadow Park, Los Gatos: This miniature train ride originates in Los Gatos' Oak Meadow Park, crosses Los Gatos Creek on a train bridge, and runs for over mile through Vasona Lake County Park. The train has open cars for viewing. The cars are pulled by a diesel locomotive and a vintage steam locomotive. Next to the train station is a carousel ride.
  • Steam trains, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley: High up in Tilden Park, at its south edge are the steam train rides. There are two types. One is the larger Redwood Valley Railway, that runs for 12 minutes on 1 1/4 miles of track in large ride-in cars. The train makes regular runs and charges a fee. The other railway system is run by the Golden Gate Live Steamers club, which has over 200 members. They are hobbyists that build and run their own miniature trains. Their track system has 4 gauges. Some trains are big enough to ride on. They run every Sunday of the year and take passengers on rides from 12-3 in the afternoon. Passengers sit on top of miniature train cars.

  • Junior railroad, Central Park, San Mateo: The Bianchi Railroad is a miniature diesel train ride that has been running in San Mateo's Central Park since 1948. 
  • Train ride at Casa De Fruita, Pacheco Pass, east of Gilroy: This famous stop along Pacheco Pass has a miniature train ride that runs along 2 miles of track. The facility also has a small zoo, rock shop and mining sluice, duck pond, and a playground with a play train engine and caboose. 
  • Folsom Valley Railway: Next to the Folsom City Hall and the Folsom City Zoo (see the museums section) is a 12"-gauge stem railroad. 
  • Howarth Park, Santa Rosa: A colorful miniature reproduction of an old west steam train carries passengers around the park area. 
  • Sacramento Valley Live Steamers: These miniature trains are run by a club in Hagen Community Park in Rancho Cordova, with over 6300 feet of track along the American River.


Little kids love to watch planes fly over. Here are some good places to view them: For more places and air museums, see my "Places to Take School-Age Kids" page.

Created by Ronald Horii 10/97
Updated 9/20/07

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