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South Coast Railroad Museum, Goleta

Santa Barbara, California, United States


The old Goleta Railroad Depot, a yellow Victorian building built in 1901, was moved from its former site and now sits amongst gorgeous eucalyptus trees at the South Coast Railroad Museum. The funnest time to come here is on family days when many train enthusiasts happily show you their displays. There is a model railroad with beautiful intricate detail, including a model of the Santa Barbara Railroad Depot, in all its Spanish glory. The train goes around and has real smoke. In another room, a painting of Santa Barbara's mountains, State St, the coast up to Gaviota Beach, and the lemon orchards of Goleta surrounds model trains and buildings that represent the late steam era days. You can learn a lot about Goleta and Santa Barbara's history by asking about the buildings in the exhibit.
Older kids can work the hand caboose. Young kids will enjoy a ride on the circus train, a small diesel train that you can sit on. Skip the steam-engine rides unless you don't mind a lot of fumes.
After your visit, walk next door to the pretty Stow House, the Victorian home with stunning gardens. In the summer there are concerts here on Tuesday nights and it's a pleasant time for a picnic. If it's not a hot day, walk over to Lake Los Carneros where you can feed the ducks and enjoy the mountain views.
If you're hungry, a great place nearby is High Sierra Grill, where kids can watch the planes take off from the warm South-facing patio.

Photo Gallery

The museum as you first walk in.

The model with a train with real smoke.

A man dressed for the occasion.

The pretty yellow Victorian building- old Goleta Depot.

Model of Santa Barbara Railroad Depot- see the lovely Spanish architecture.

The model railroad with painting of State St and the Santa Ynez mountains behind it.

The hand caboose.

A ride on the steam engine.

Stow House, right next door.


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South Coast Railroad Museum is located at 300 N Los Carneros Rd, Goleta CA 93117, call (805) 964-3540.
Exit Highway 101 at Los Carneros Rd and head toward the mountains. You will see the museum on your right. There is a large parking lot.
The museum is open Fri-Sun from 1-4pm. It is closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving (4th Thurs in Nov), Dec 25, and Dec 28-Jan 3. There are special family days the museum hosts: check their website calendar.
Admission is free but donations are welcome. Train rides cost $2.50 per person.
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