In 1956, the National Railroad Museum opened with a single steam locomotive. Today, it’s one of the largest rail museums in the nation, offering an amazing collection of trains and railroad memorabilia. Start your visit with a well-done 25-minute movie on steam locomotives. From there you'll proceed through an exhibit area to the actual trains.
An indoor hall houses gems such as a Big Boy steam locomotive; the train Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower used in Europe; and Wisconsin's "Gratitude Train" car, a gift from France to every U.S. state after World War II. Then step outside into an open-air building housing an Aerotrain, designed in the 1950s to resemble a car and hopefully keep people interested in commuting by train (it flopped), and a mail car with an extensive interior set-up for sorting mail.
Pay the extra $2 to ride a train around the grounds. It's a short trip that passes a hobo display and offers a chance to chat with the volunteer conductor and engineer, who dress the part. Every third week, a lucky few can nab a spot on a caboose.