Next Stop: Lomita Railroad Museum

If you plan to go and check out Southern California Live Steamers tomorrow, then head five minutes down the road to the small but quaint and historic town of Lomita and into the Lomita Railroad Museum. Look, I’ll even show you just how close these two train stops are to each other.

With your short side trip to the Lomita Railroad Museum, you also get the privilege of visiting the first railroad museum established west of the Rocky Mountains (Denver, CO, to be exact). Though a small space indoors and out, there’s plenty going on here. The museum is devoted to showcasing real-scale, retired rolling railroad stock, and it’s also chock full of other historical rail relics. The station house itself is a Victorian-style replica of an actual one in Massachusetts. Everything about this place is charming, historical, fun, and inviting for all-ages. There’s enough history for the parents to read and enjoy and plenty of volunteers to chat with, and there are tons of trains for the kids to play in and climb on. Oh, and there’s a wooden train table for the littlest engineers, too.

Lomita Railroad Museum

Lomita Railroad Museum

To enter the museum, ring the bell at this gate and a docent will come let you inside.

To enter the museum, ring the bell at this gate and a docent will come let you inside. It is like this because to buy tickets you need to first enter the museum “station house”; otherwise it’d be very easy to simply slip over to the outdoor exhibits unnoticed and unpaid!

Visitors get their museum tickets at the "ticket counter" inside of the Lomita Railroad Museum.

Visitors buy museum tickets at the “ticket counter” inside of the Lomita Railroad Museum.

Hey, T used to have a bank just like this in his room! This one is used here for spare change donations to the Lomita Railroad Museum.

Hey, T used to have a bank just like this in his room! The Lomita Railroad Museum uses the one here to collect spare change donations from visitors.

A view inside of the Lomita Railroad Museum.

A view inside of the Lomita Railroad Museum.

There's a small area devoted to the china patterns of various railroad routes and lines inside of the Lomita Railroad Museum. This caught my eye as a more comprehensive collection is on display at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento (CA); it was one of my favorite exhibits there.

There’s a small area devoted to the china patterns of various Amtrak railroad routes inside of the Lomita Railroad Museum. This caught my eye because a more comprehensive collection is on display at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento (CA); CSRM’s china collection was one of my favorite exhibits there.

C shows T some old railroad buttons and other hardware at the Lomita Railroad Museum.

C shows T some old railroad buttons and other hardware at the Lomita Railroad Museum.

Though Westways AAA Magazine recently featured the Lomita Railroad Museum in an article on day-tripping in Lomita, I’d had this outing on our family’s radar for a little while, all thanks to the folks up at the model railroad club in San Pedro. When I realized where the museum was in relation to the Southern California Live Steamers (SCLS), well, that was our Sunday Funday a couple of weekends ago.

T loves this engine.

T loves this engine, the 1902 Southern Pacific “Mogul.”

T messing with the old panel of switches and valves inside the "Mogul" at Lomita Railroad Museum.

T messing with the old panel of switches and valves inside the “Mogul” at Lomita Railroad Museum.

C rings the bell on the "Mogul" engine at the Lomita Railroad Museum.

C rings the bell on the “Mogul” engine at the Lomita Railroad Museum.

Two very happy boys chugging along at the Lomita Railroad Museum.

Two very happy boys chugging along at the Lomita Railroad Museum.

T’s favorite spot at the Lomita Railroad Museum had to have been the big, black steam engine, the 1902 Southern Pacific “Mogul.” He could have stayed up there for hours opening and closing the coal compartment, handling the dials, and ringing the train bell (yes, there’s a rope for visitors to ring the bell!). In fact, he probably did stay several hours over the course of our two visits in one day. Yes, we decided to return to the Lomita Railroad Museum after a quick bite down the street at Burger City Grill (which has some fab burgers by the way; this find was completely all the Westways article and wholeheartedly seconded by the train volunteers).

There's also a small ourdoor area across the street from the main property of the Lomita Railroad Museum. This is usually what the museum rents out for special events like birthdays, but it is open to visitors otherwise.

There’s also a small outdoor area across the street from the main property of the Lomita Railroad Museum. This is usually what the museum rents out for special events like birthdays, but it is open to visitors otherwise.

I don't think it's going to move, C.

I don’t think it’s going to move, C.

The retired stock at the Lomita Railroad Museum is what this place is all about, especially for the kids (but parents dig it, too).

The retired stock at the Lomita Railroad Museum is what this place is all about, especially for the kids (but parents dig it, too).

Visiting both the SCLS and the Lomita Railroad Museum made for a long but very fun day out in an otherwise undiscovered area of Los Angeles for us. I am glad we decided to head over to check both of these new-to-us places out, and I encourage you to do so, too. Trust me when I say the most devoted of rail fans won’t be disappointed.

Thumbs up on the Lomita Railroad Museum, says T!

Thumbs up on the Lomita Railroad Museum, says T!

Another awesome area at the Lomita Railroad Museum is this expansive lawn area. I'm not sure if this is going to ever be filled with more train cars or engines, but until then it's perfect for running around on a beautiful Southern California afternoon.

Another awesome area at the Lomita Railroad Museum is this expansive lawn area. I’m not sure if this is going to ever be filled with more train cars or engines, but until then it’s perfect for running around on a beautiful Southern California afternoon. This photo also shows just how nestled this little museum is into the residential neighborhood of Lomita, too.

Little Red Caboose, chug chug chug... this is on display outside at the Lomita Railroad Museum.

Little Red Caboose, chug-chug-chug… this train car is on display outside at the Lomita Railroad Museum.

As the map at the top of the post shows, The Lomita Railroad Museum is at 2137 W. 250th St., Lomita, CA 90717. Their hours are 10 a.m.-to-5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for kids under 12. Friday mornings also feature a Story Time for kids at 9:15 a.m. (adults $4; kids free). For more information on planning your visit, please go here.

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