This is the outing to score major points with any kid who has train tracks in an endless loop around their room. Indulge their inner Thomas the Tank Engine with a family train ride on the Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway.
This historic line starts at the Soo Line Depot—built over 100 years ago—at 114 Depot Rd. in Osceola, Wis. The station once helped connect Minneapolis to the east coast via the Soo Line and Canadian Pacific Railway.
Climb aboard the passenger trains and soak in the knowledge proffered by the train volunteers. They’ve got a passion for railroading and regional history, and they’re ready to dish out information. So, come curious.
From the depot, it’s a 90-minute ride along the St. Croix River bluffs. The journey will take you through William O’Brien State Park to arrive at Marine on St. Croix—and then all the way back. There’s also an option for a 50-minute trip that takes you to Dresser, Wis. and back.
Take in the scenery or poke around the train cars and explore. Pizza Train rides are catered by the Village Pizzeria and include a soda and a brownie. For non-meal rides, you can bring your own food, though you can also purchase snacks from the concession car.
(Alternatively, if you want to leave the kids at home, the new first-class Wine Train rides will supply passengers with appetizers, a commemorative wine glass and two glasses of vino.)
Fall is popular because the train is an excellent vantage point for autumn foliage. But in summer, there’s a chance to take the train to Marine on St. Croix on July 3 for fireworks.
If you’re got the time, explore the cute shops in downtown Osceola before or after your ride. You can easily stroll from the train station to the trailhead for Cascade Falls. Take over 100 steps down to snap an “Insta-perfect” pic of the 25-foot falls.
For updated train ride schedules, contact the Minnesota Transportation Museum at 651-228-0263 or trainride.org for more information.