Photo by Sally Quinn.
The McKeesport Model Railroad Club has been attracting train enthusiasts for more than 70 years. Photo courtesy of the McKeesport Model Railroad Club.

4. McKeesport Model Railroad Club

The McKeesport Model Railroad Club was founded more than 70 years ago, but train excitement has not diminished for longtime members who remain young at heart. The club’s annual open house gives visitors a chance to admire the 2,200-square-foot layout. The club’s holiday open house kicks off on Nov. 27 for weekend hours through Dec. 19 at 2209 Walnut St. Santa will be there on Dec. 18 and 19 for added excitement.

The club’s permanent display of HO-scale trains, people and buildings is set in the time between 1950 and 1960. The fictitious Mon Yough Valley Railroad trains roll through rural countryside, past Steelton city life and across mountain bridges. The best part of any miniature railroad visit is looking for the details, peeking into store windows and observing the inhabitants in their tiny poses. This display does not disappoint.

Requested donations are $3 for ages 5-17 and $5 for grownups. It’s free for children younger than 5, members of the military, first responders and uniformed scouts.

The remains of a snowstorm add to the charm of this railroad village at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.

5. Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

The Trolleys and Toy Trains exhibit at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum (1 Museum Road in Washington, PA) runs Fridays from Dec. 3 to 17. Admission, which includes the Trolley Museum, is $10 for ages 3-15, $12 for grownups and $11 for seniors.

The Lionel trains run through a lovely Victorian-style village that’s all dressed up for the holidays, with lights peeking out through the snow. Kids will want to stop and admire the LEGO layout built by Steel City LUG members.

Or you can splurge on tickets to the Santa Trolley that clangs along a 2-mile track and stars the Jolly Old Elf himself. The train display and museum are part of your visit. Kids can work on a take-home holiday craft. And the whole family can sip free hot chocolate and munch on cookies.

The Santa Trolley runs on weekends from Nov. 26 to Dec. 19. Advance tickets, priced at $14 for ages 3-15 and $15 for grownups, are required. Little ones younger than 3 need a free ticket but must ride on their grownup’s lap.

For more things to do, read 13 November events not to miss in Pittsburgh and Top 10 events for Pittsburgh kids in November.

Sally Quinn is a Pittsburgh-based editor and writer who writes about food, entertainment, kid stuff, pop culture, cocktails!