While ostriches make suitable forms of transportation most days of the year, their fearful aquaphobia makes them lousy for navigating riverside sight-seeing adventures. Today's Groupon gets you aboard a more suitable scenery-bound locomotive. For $8, you get a luxury, first-class, steam-powered train ride from the California State Railroad Museum (a $15 value).
Make up for the ill-fated model-train competitions of your childhood by celebrating National Train Day in style. You'll board the locomotive in full Victorian regalia at the Sacramento Southern Railroad ticket office in Old Sacramento and embark on an epic 40-minute journey through the central California wilderness. Amid the train's historic 1920s-era El Dorado luxury car, your 6-mile round-trip ride will transport you along the edge of the Sacramento River in the style of politicians and highfalutin VIPs of bygone days. The air-conditioned cabin boasts plush ruby sofas and expansive windows for taking in the panoramic views while enjoying complimentary lemonade and cookies.
The train leaves every hour on the hour on Saturdays and Sundays, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Arrive 30 minutes prior to departure, and put on your tourist or pork-pie hat for 40 minutes of adventure along the raging riverbanks.
Though reviewers haven't singled out the El Dorado, they're plenty enthusiastic for the museum as a whole. Yelpers give it 4.5 stars, and Insider Pagers give four. TripAdvisors give 4.5 and rank it #1 out of 61 rated attractions in Sacramento.
- Most train museums are mainly a collection of static equipment. This one's collection is truly OUTSTANDING, with some of the finest and most highly decorated engines and cars from the 1850s forward, but it rates far higher on the interpretive scale than most of its peers. – JHF08, TripAdvisor
- Over the years, we've visited this train museum countless times. It's a huge favorite of most kids. – Debbie R., Insider Pages
- This is a wonderful museum – even if you’re not a train buff. I learned a lot about the history of the railroads and really enjoyed seeing all of the real train cars that they had on display, as well as all of the memorabilia. – AZKaren, TripAdvisor
California State Railroad Museum
Each April, a tear in the space-time continuum opens up along the Sacramento River. Through it rolls a first-class locomotive right out of the 1940s and 50s. For 45 minutes, passengers in the train's coach and luxury first class car soak in the sights of California's fruit-growing deltas as the vintage diesel engine carries them into another time.
The California State Railroad Museum conducts these scenic, historic train rides. The excursions play a crucial role in the museum's mission to chronicle California's railroad history from the early days of the Gold Rush to modern agricultural transports and the proposed railroad to Mars. Spanning centuries, 21 restored locomotives and train cars blanket the museum's 225,000 square feet of exhibit space. A Pullman-style sleeping car and a dining car filled with fine china both sit on display, while the museum's Sierra Scene places a vintage steam locomotive next to a breathtaking mural of snow-dusted mountains. The popular Small Wonders: The Magic of Toy Trains exhibit currently commands the second floor, and with hundreds of examples of early electric toy trains and accessories such as stations, signals, tunnels, and bridges, it should delight even the most discerning miniature conductor.