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.
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’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).
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.
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.