Thursday, October 29, 2020

North Carolina Transportation Museum

I don't know why it took us so long to visit the North Carolina Transportation Museum. I've heard good things for years and it's not that far away. The other day, we made a point to visit and the experience did not disappoint.

Located in Spencer, NC, a little over 45 minutes north of uptown Charlotte, the North Carolina Transportation Museum is situated on the site of what was once the Southern Railway's largest steam locomotive repair facility in the southeast. There, you'll find an impressive collection historic buildings and railroad, automotive and aviation relics.

When we went, the museum was still somewhat closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Since then, the indoor exhibits have opened. Either way, I can highly recommend the Transportation Tour, an outdoor walking tour of the museum's 60-acre grounds. This approximately 1-mile loop takes visitors by all of the outdoor historic structures, including an authentic train station built in 1898, the largest remaining roundhouse in North America, a locomotive repair shop and other fun artifacts.

The museum also occasionally offers train rides, like the hugely popular Polar Express during the holidays, and other events. Check the website for upcoming events. Also worth noting, there are restroom facilities available whether you do an indoor or outdoor-only tour.

This was a fun, captivating, active, educational outing. On a pretty day, it's a fun way to spend a couple hours outside discovering new things (that are really quite old!). If you've been meaning to visit, go ahead and make a special trip. You'll be glad you did.

How to get there:
The North Carolina Transportation Museum is located at 1 Samuel Spencer Dr, Spencer, NC 28159.

Don't forget to pack:
  • Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen: There's hardly any shade on the museum grounds.
  • Water and snacks: Be prepared; you might stay longer than you planned.
  • Comfortable walking shoes: Sneakers will do.