Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Great Smoky Mountain Railroad: Enjoy one of two scenic round trips to Nantahala Gorge or Tuckasegee River with a layover for time to explore. 45 Mitchell St., Bryson City, N.C. 800-872-4681; gsmr.com
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum: Visitors learn about the importance of the railroad industry and how it helped create the modern world. Many train excursions available throughout the year. 4119 Cromwell Rd, Chattanooga, Tenn. 423-894-8028; tvrail.com
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway: The total excursion is 26 miles (4 hours roundtrip) along the Toccoa River. Passengers have two hours to explore McCaysville, Ga., and Copperhill, Tenn. 241 Depot St, Blue Ridge. 877-413-8724; brscenic.com
SAM Shortline Excursion Train: A vintage train, operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources under the guidance of the Southwest Georgia Railroad Excursion Authority, travels from Cordele to Archery (former President Jimmy Carter’s boyhood home), with stops at Georgia Veterans State Park, Leslie, Americus and Plains. 105 9th Ave E, Cordele, Ga. 229-276-0755; samshortline.com
Dinosaur Train. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad will operate Jim Henson’s Dinosaur Train from the PBS series. A one-hour, 45-minute layover includes a meet-and-greet with costumed Buddy the T-Rex, dino putt-putt golf, bouncy slide and games. July 17-19, 24-26 and July 31- Aug. 2 . Fri. and Sat., 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m. 45 Mitchell St., Bryson City, N.C. 800-872-4681; gsmr.com. Adults, $39-$59; ages 2-12, $30-$40; ages 23 months and younger, free-$10.
Stone Mountain Scenic Railway
Stone Mountain Scenic Railway: A restored train with open air passenger cars takes passengers on a 30-minute loop around the base of the mountain. This summer be prepared for old fashion gun fights, exploding outhouses and more with the Georgia Justice Wild West shows until Aug. 2. 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. 800-401-2407; stonemountainpark.com
North Georgia Live Steamers: Enjoy a miniature train ride at Georgia International Horse Park once a month. Upcoming dates: July 11 and Aug. 15. Trains run 1-4:30 p.m. 1632 Centennial Olympic Pkwy., Conyers. northgeorgialivesteamers.org
MARTA: Explore Atlanta a different way and stop wherever the day takes you. Various locations, one-way fare is $2.50, day passes are $9, kids 46" and under ride free (maximum of two kids per adult). itsmarta.com
The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History
Southeastern Railway Museum: Explore over 90 pieces of retired railroad equipment from steam to diesel locomotives. Kids can roam around, peak into the cabins, pretend to be an engineer, ring the bell and more. Parent
and tot programs offer arts and crafts, circle time and other hands-on activities the second Thursday of every month. Mark your calendar for Trains, Trucks & Tractors on Aug. 1-2 for a full day of locomotive fun. 3595 Buford Hwy., Duluth, 770-476-2013; srmduluth.org
The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History: Experience the history of railroads and their role in the War Between the States with hands-on and interactive activities. The kids can learn to send a message in Morse Code, how to be an engineer and for the younger kids there is a pillow train they can climb on, wooden trains and tracks, puzzles and games. Throughout the month attend the Mommy and Me preschool class that focuses on different themed activities each week. Celebrate the history of railroads on July 18 with the special event Railroad Rendezvous. 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. 770-427-2117; southernmuseum.org.
Thrasher Park: As real trains chug by, kids play in a bright red choo-choo train that’s just for them. This playground has an array of features for all ages, and young kids who love trains will be in heaven here. 93 Park Dr., Norcross. 678-421-2069; norcrossga.net
Ashford Park: See the trains whooshing down the tracks and play with the community collection of toys, bicycles and scooters and other playground toys. 2980 Redding Rd. NE, Atlanta. aroundbrookhaven.com
Heritage Park: See the 1934 steam engine locomotive, the home of the Veterans Wall of Honor, Heritage Park Veterans Museum and historic village. 101 Lake Dow Rd., McDonough. co.henry.ga.us
– Hayley Markowitz
One special big blue tank engine has been around for more than 70 years and is still chugging along. Younger kids can learn all about friendship and trains from Thomas. Watch a movie or check out a book about Thomas and Friends at your local library.