Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Depot served as the local passenger house & the corporate offices for the eastern division of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. An active passenger station until 1968, the original depot building now stands as a symbol of Huntsville’s transportation history and city growth.
I visited the Huntsville Depot and Museum recently with my two boys (5.5 yrs and 21 mths.) The boys loved the trains, and antique cars and fire trucks. There was a special place for my young one to play, and plenty of space to run around as we learned. It’s a great place for hands-on exploration.
We started our tour inside the main ticket building; the depot. There were three floors in this building, with railroad and civil war memorabilia on display. There is even an old vault that the kids were able to enter! We roamed about on our own, as I knew my little kids would have a short attention span here, anticipating what waited outside. I did notice another group of people receiving a guided tour of the building, as well as a room offering a short video on the history of Huntsville.
Once out the door, we headed to the toddler room in the building next door. What a cute set-up! There were small wooden trains for the kids to climb, including a ticket booth and luggage area. There was a dress up section, a book reading nook, and a café for more pretend play. The boys took my “money,” gave me a ticket, helped me board the train, and then proceeded to fix me lunch! Could a mom ask for more?
We made our way to a third building on the property, which resembled an old gas station. Inside this building are several old cars and fire trucks – in gorgeous condition. And guess what? They encouraged the kids to climb in them and play! I loved this! There was one car (behind a make-shift fence) that the kids were not able to play on, but other than that, the world was their oyster!
Once I dragged them from this area, we made our way across the yard to the old turntable. The boys really enjoyed seeing this, especially my youngest!
While there, I noticed a “party caboose” that families can rent, and a pavilion with picnic tables for taking lunch.
We exited out the depot, but not without a few trinkets from the gift shop. There is also ice cream and drinks. We visited on a breezy spring day, but I can imagine the ice cream is a must during summer.
A TRIO OF MUSEUMS
Huntsville Train Depot and Museum is one of three EarlyWorks museums in the area. EarlyWorks Children’s History Museum is just down the road (see our review of this museum, too) and Alabama Constitution Village, which takes visitors back to the 1800s. You can save a bit on ticket prices by purchasing a ticket that gets you into two of the three, or all three museums.
You can’t stop in Huntsville without coming here, especially if you have transportation-lovers like I do. It is a fun place to let off some “steam.” The kids can learn new things while playing pretend in the toddler room, or hanging with the “big guys” in the building with real, antique cars. Two thumbs up from both boys and mom!
I received complimentary tickets from the EarlyWorks Family of Museums in order to give you the scoop. As always, this review is honest and completely my own.
Since we had a Early Works Museum yearly pass one year, we visited this museum a couple of times. There are several trains to look and climb in, I didn't really feel it worth the money for visiting there. Especially, there's a closed in area where they display old cars and a fire truck, it really gave me a spooky feeling. It might be just a "historical" place. However, the best thing there was that kids could ride a train around the museum. Other than that, we really didn't care for it.