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For all those model railroad buffs out there, the Twin City Model Railroad Museum is the place to go. Miniature replicas of the American trains of the '30s, '40s, and '50s, perfect down to the last detail, chug along the tiny tracks and stations, to the delight of both young and old alike. Tour groups are also welcome.
Travel back in history at the Minnesota Streetcar Museum. This attraction preserves the history of the electric railway in the region with two functioning railway lines and a number of restored and operating streetcars. The rail lines provide the ultimate streetcar experience, but the museum is a hub of history and education, with historical artifacts to remember the past.
Designed for children four months to 10 years old, this museum features four permanent galleries and two others hosting traveling exhibits. Visitors are encouraged to use all of their senses to explore the many things there are to see and do. They can be in the spotlight on the sound stage, crawl through the maze of tunnels in the giant ant hill, create a thunderstorm, operate a huge crane and much more. Activities and performances by singers, dancers, jugglers and storytellers take place daily. This is truly a place where 'learn to play, play to learn' is more than just a phrase. There is free entry on every 3rd Sunday of the month.
A collection of working locomotives, steamships, train depots, roundhouses, trolleys and motor coaches brings the history of local transportation alive. The MTM has five exhibit sites in and around the Twin Cities area that are visited by more than 100,000 people annually. The various restored depots and roundhouse allow visitors to travel back to the golden age of the railroads.The most popular exhibit is the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, a rebuilt portion of what used to be the nation's largest urban rail service that was a 500-mile system in its heyday. Restored cars dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s run a two-mile round trip course between Lakes Harriet and Calhoun in South Minneapolis. Cars run every 15 minutes and passengers can board at the Linden Hills Station or the Lakewood Cemetery platform. The museum's other big draw is the Minnehaha, a 1906 steamboat which used to ferry streetcar passengers all over Lake Minnetonka. Back from a watery grave, the restored steamboat is as good as new and spruced up with a snazzy maroon and gold paint job.
This museum and library is the first of its kind in the world. Located inside a historic mansion, The Bakken is a fun place to learn about the history of electricity and electromagnetism to its present use and form. It is home to a massive collection of articles, journals and scientific instruments related to this field. Many of the permanent exhibits are interactive; experience a jolt from a century-old electric machine or perhaps a visit to the Frankenstein's Laboratory will make your day. Other interesting spaces here are Ben Frankin's parlor and the library's luscious gardens. The Bakken makes for a great day out with family.