All aboard – assignment # in the 365 Things to Do in Memphis is to learn play with trains (and learn local railroad history) at the Memphis Railroad and Trolley Museum.
The museum is run by the non-profit Memphis Society of Model Railroaders. It has about nine exhibits that tell the story of Memphis railroad history.
While the train museum isn't specifically aimed at kids, they seem to be its core audience. When I went, I didn't see a single adult there without children. There's plenty to keep the kids entertained. The museum is full of small and large scale train models (some of them run along a track while others are purely for show), functioning railroad signal lights and a Thomas the Tank Engine exhibit. If you're a train-loving adult or a parent along for the ride, most of the exhibits include beautiful wall murals that describe different periods in the train and trolley history of Memphis.
My favorite part of the museum was the scale replica of 20th century downtown Memphis, complete with a miniature Wonderbread factory (sadly, without the amazing bread smell that comes from the full sized one).
The Memphis Railroad and Trolley Museum is open Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for kids 4-12 and kids 3 and under are free. You can also celebrate a birthday there, which includes food from Grawemeyer's and a trolley ride.
545 S. Main St.
Memphis, TN 38101