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The Illiana Garden Railway Society has an entire train track system setup at the Samuelson’s Garden Center in Valparaiso (295 North State Rd. 2, Valparaiso). Indiana is home to an abundance of unique train experiences and Lulu has been crossing all of them off of her list. We are a family that has become very familiar with trains over the past two years. I’m so thankful that we didn’t pass up the opportunity to check out the Illiana Railway.
This model railroad scene is over 2000 square feet and has more than 600 feet of railroad tracks (IGRS website). Club members showcase their model trains every Saturday from May to September, 10am – 4pm (weather permitting). During our visit, we saw Thomas the tank engine pulling some cars behind him and several other trains that were so realistic in the way that they looked and sounded. The scene that the trains are traveling through is also so detailed and realistic that you can almost imagine being within the exhibit.
Trains go around and around, through tunnels and over bridges. Club members who are there running the switchboard are happy to speak with you about the trains as well as other train themed places to visit in the region. You’ll see real live plants growing within the city scene, which is what makes the Illiana a “garden railway”. Families with children and adults of all ages were stopping by during our visit. Lulu really enjoyed herself and didn’t want to leave.
This is a free attraction but donations are accepted.