All aboard for an exhilarating day that whisks visitors back to the golden age of railroads and gives a great lesson in steam-powered engines to boot.
This museum, located in the small town of Hesston just outside of LaPorte, features three different operating trains that give everyone a taste of what it was like to ride the rails in times past.
Visitors enjoy rides on the Steam Museum’s biggest train – a full-sized Narrow Gauge locomotive of the type that was used to transport both freight and passengers. The largest locomotive at the facility was once used to haul logs out of the mountains in the West. The medium-size vintage Kiddieland train once provided entertainment as part of small amusement parks that thrived from the 1920s into the ’70s. One more small train at the Steam Museum, a one-eighth scale of the type built by craftsmen, takes families through the woods and on an under/over bridge route.
In addition to the train rides, visitors also have the opportunity on various days to see the Hesston Sawmill in operation, learn how a steam crane and steam traction engines work and visit the Rustic Blacksmith Shop (check the schedule online to see what days these other attractions are operating). Special events occur throughout the year, including a Civil War Train Raid weekend, Ghost Train rides at Halloween time and the Candy Cane Express during the Christmas holidays.
No trip to the Hesston Steam Museum would be complete without breakfast, lunch or ice cream treats at Doc’s Soda Fountain. If you stop early enough, you might get to have breakfast with the train crew. The museum’s gift shop is a great place to find toys that will keep little engineers’ imaginations humming.
Hours: Summer weekends noon-5pm