1.)Wabash Frisco and Pacific Railroad- They are only open on Sunday. It's $4 per person and kids under 3 are free. This is a 12" gauge steam train that you ride for a 15 minute scenic ride through the woods along the river. Then everyone disembarks, they turn it around, and you ride back. There's a great playground near here also. Full review here.
2.)St. Louis Live Steamers- FREE- This organization builds large scale model railroads and gives free rides once a month in Kircher park in Eureka. There is really nowhere to sit while you wait and there's not much shade either. There is a nice playground near by though. They have 3 or 4 engines, sometimes it takes a little while to get them all up and running but usually the wait isn't too bad. Full review here.
3.)Transportation Museum- Their train is exactly like the zoo train. To get in to the museum, admission is $8 for adults, kids over 3 $5, and kids under 3 are free. Then to ride the train you buy a wrist band for $5 per person and that entitles you to unlimited rides for the rest of the day, plus the handcars and trolley. (the trolley is just a tram that takes you to the upper part of the museum grounds. There are lots of large old trains here and you can go in some of them.) Full review here.
4.)Zooline Railroad- Admission into the zoo is free, but the train costs $7.95 per person and includes all day on-off privileges. Tickets expire at end of day. Children under two are free. Purchase tickets at any of four stations for a tour of the Zoo. Save with a Safari Pass The Emerson Zooline Railroad offers a 20-minute narrated tour weaving through tunnels and past favorite animal exhibits on a 1½-mile round trip. The railroad operates year-round, weather permitting.
5.)Six Flags Train- We have season passes now that the kids are older and they love this train. It's much bigger than the zoo train. You can sit in the caboose which my kids love. There is also a kiddie train ride in the Looney Tunes area of the park.
6.)Metrolink- It's only $2.50 to ride
7.)Amtrak day trip- We love the Kirkwood Station which has a nice train table in the waiting room as well as crayons and coloring books. My son and hubs took the train to Hermann on the River Runner. They had lunch and came back and my son couldn't stop talking about how he rode on a real train! It wasn't expensive either, it was about $50 for the round trip tickets. It took an hour and a half each way. Check https://www.amtrak.com/home for schedules and ticket prices.
8.)Frisco Train Store- Technically you can't ride any trains here but every little kid I know loves this place. It's full of train tables and is free, but please make a donation or buy something to keep this wonderful place in business! They sell loads of trains, train toys, games, and clothing. There are real train tracks running in front of the store and the trains pass by several times a day. They always blow the whistle for the kids, it's quite a treat! Full review here.
9.)Route 66 Pacific Railfan Center- This is a model train museum. It's small and has strange hours. It's run by a couple of volunteers who live down the street. They aren't there all the time so you should probably call before you make the trek out there. They have one model train running inside and one outside. The place is old and messy but my kids love the trains anyway.
10.)K-10's Model Trains- This is a hobby shop located in Maryville, IL but once a month kids can operate the model trains (if they're over 48")
11.)Dan's Emerald Forest- This man is a model train lover that built a track that goes in and out of his house. It draws quite a crowd during the holidays. He gives out candy canes and hot chocolate too! He works during the day so he only runs it at night, check his site for specific dates and times.
12.)Model train shows- There are several that come through St. Louis on a regular basis. The Mississippi Valley N Scalers put on a great show at the Kirkwood Community Center the second weekend in October every year. They fill the whole place up with model train layouts in one gym and vendors selling things in the other gym. This website has a good list of train shows throughout the year http://mvns.railfan.net/othersho.htm
13.)Big Bend Railway Club- On the first Tues of every month from 7 to 8:30 you can go and watch the model train here. The club is located in an old train station in Webster, and they have a unique 2 rail O scale layout set up.
14.)The St. Louis Lionel Railroad Club- This club is located in the city and has several permanent layouts and also some traveling ones. Many train aficionados consider Lionel the best of the best, and this is a museum of sorts to all things Lionel.
The public is welcome to visit when they operate which is:
Mondays, 7-8:30 p.m.
Wednesday mornings after 9:00 am until about 11:30 a.m.
and Sundays, 1-4 p.m.
15.) Iron Spike Model Train Museum (Washington MO)
The hours vary seasonally, but generally they are:
Friday: 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Open most holidays*
Contact the Museum to arrange visits at other times.This is one of the few interactive model train museums in the country. Admission is $5 per person. They also have a couple of little train tables that kids can play with.
16.)St. Charles Model Railroad Club- This place is located in Fort Zumwalt Park in O'Fallon Mo and they are only open on the weekends. Their purpose is to "enjoy the hobby of Model Railroading in a group setting and by doing so promote the hobby to the general public. In particular as stated in the club’s constitution our purpose is “to enhance the enjoyment of the hobby for the members through the discussion of history and current events in the hobby, through the study of prototype railroads so that the members may apply that knowledge to their modeling, and to provide a forum where new ideas and techniques in modeling may be explored. Further, to advance the hobby, through demonstration, by educating the interested public so that they may also become members and enjoy the hobby.”