festival of trains imageGrand Traverse Heritage Center welcomes railway fans to 2009 Festival of Trains

Monday, December 14th through Sunday, January 3rd at the Grand Traverse Heritage Center, 322 Sixth Street, in Traverse City.


A special holiday celebration takes place each year in the heart of Traverse City. Thousands of visitors arrive at the old Library to stare in awe at the amazing miniature landscape before them. Dozens of model trains, in all shapes and sizes, traverse elaborate landscapes throughout the Grand Traverse Heritage Center. The Festival of Trains is the largest fundraiser of the year for the G.T.H.C., a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, promoting, and presenting the history of Traverse City and the Grand Traverse region.

Volunteers from the Northern Michigan Railroad Club begin assembling the amazing display around Labor Day. When the holiday season arrives, and guests fill the rooms, they’re immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of the railroad. Children gather close to the table-height displays and peer anxiously around corners waiting for the next train to zip past. Whie the engines and tracks are a ‘look but don’t touch’ exhibit, there are interactive areas where kids can control track direction, blow the whistle or raise a drawbridge.

This year Thomas the Tank engine fans are in for a special treat. An interactive cab station will allow them to step up and control the trains!

The Festival of Trains offers a train-related raffle and conductor’s gift shop with holiday and railroad themed gifts for the entire family.


Hours for the popular festival are 2pm-7pm December 14th-18th.  Then, Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m December 19th – Jan. 3rd.  On Sundays & New Year’s Day, the trains will run from noon to 4 pm. Closed Christmas Day.

Admission is $5 per adult, $3 per senior (age 65 plus), $2 per youth (ages 4 through 17), and children 3 and under are free. A family pass is available at $20 for unlimited visits to the festival by parents, children, grandparents, and grandchildren.