Explore McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Growing up, I was surrounded by small model trains that my father and brother used to collect. Okay, I’ll admit I was also into trains as well. My dad helped me collect the miniature train sets and I even had my own little layout. Our house even had train layouts set up throughout it. It was a little train-ca-o-tic. Every week my dad would pack the family up and we’d head to ‘The Red Caboose’ a local hangout for train loving people to all gather and play with trains. When we’d take road trips we’d often stop periodically at places that had those tourist cabooses and engines to climb and explore. Now as an adult, I want to allow my kids to experience the fun of trains as well. As I’m looking for new travel destinations, I found McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. It’s located in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona and is the most unique train park in the country. They provide the opportunity to take a ride on both the Paradise and Pacific Railroads. Other features include an antique carousel, museums, shops, playgrounds or picnic areas.   

One of the parks newest attractions is the 10,000 square foot model railroad building. Inside you’ll find four model railroad clubs, three different layouts and a variety of exhibits which allows hands-on-access. This takes me back to my childhood days of growing up with trains all around me.  What’s even more fascinating is that you can actually touch some of the exhibits and interact with the displays. They have orange hands displayed throughout the layouts which tells you those are okay to be touched and you can actually make things move and do fun things. All the layouts are fully accessible from all four sides so everything is within reach and eyes view. You might get lucky and have the opportunity to help operate the train if a member hands you a controller.  Also in the background they have a variety of train videos on display for those who want to listen and watch.  

The main attraction is the Paradise and Pacific Railroad rides. These small size trains were built exactly the same as larger models. How cool is that? They provide its passengers a mile-long train ride all through the park. The railroad features three steam locomotives, two diesel engines, several scale model cars, a turntable, a water tank, and also trestles.  Want to experience one even smaller? The Scottsdale Live Steamers operate even more mini size trains about ¾-1 foot. This train ride is about a 10-minute ride which takes you through the parks desert arboretum. Don’t forget to stop by their antique carousel for a ride. It offers 30 horses and also two wheelchair chariots to accommodate everyone. Also available on site are two outdoor playgrounds for the young kids to play with while their train loving dads play inside.

Whether a young kid or just young at heart, this park has much to offer. Come check it out whenever you’re in the Scottsdale Area.

Experience MacDonald’s Ranch, Scottsdale

Are you tired of the city life and doing the same ‘ole thing weekend after weekend?  Are you looking for something fun and different to take your family to? Then I have something to tell you – MacDonald’s Ranch is just the place for you.  Whether you already live in the Scottsdale area or looking to plan a family vacation here soon, this ranch attracts families from all over.

 

MacDonald’s Ranch is a horseback riding stable located in the sunny Sonoran Desert of Scottsdale, Arizona. Just a quick drive from the airport, hotels and resorts for those traveling.  The Ranch offers activities for just about everyone.  Whether you’re looking for quiet day out by yourself, bringing your family, having a birthday party or even want to host a corporate event.  They don’t just offer horseback riding but also a wide variety of other activities such as hayrides, cookouts, stagecoach rides, and even a seasonal pumpkin patch.

 

The Ranch offers something fun for all ages. If you have older kids, five or older, take a trail ride out with the family.  If you have children younger than five, it’s okay too. They offer pony rides as well for the younger tykes.  They also have a petting zoo that includes all sorts of animals such as peacocks, chickens and ducks, goats and sheep, baby cows and pigs, even miniature donkeys and ponies and many others.  Don’t worry, all of their animals are very kid friendly and safe to pet and play with.   Older kids not interested? Don’t worry. There are also western style games available for them to play such as horseshoe pits, ring toss, bean bag toss, and dummy steer heads to rope.

 

They offer trail rides for individuals and groups.  You can choose to ride during the day and view scenic trails and the array of desert wildlife.  Views may include McDowell Mountain or Camelback Mountain.  If you choose to ride in the evening, they offer Moonlight rides.  These are only available four days prior to a full moon.  These rides are very unique and beautiful.  This allows you to enjoy the desert much differently.  Hear coyotes howl in the distance and watch owls search for food.

 

Not into horseback riding?  Or you have younger kids which prevents you from enjoying riding?  No worries.  They also offer Hay rides and Stage Coach rides for the entire family.  This way you can experience life back in the west family style.  Enjoy a scenic tour over their 1280 acres as you ride the rugged path. Kids and adults love pointing out the cactuses, wildlife such as hawks, coyotes, and javalinas.

 

If your kids really enjoyed a day at the Ranch, consider hosting their birthday party here.  The Ranch offers a large span of options to provide for any party no matter what your budget is.
Everyone has a little cowboy inside themselves.  Once you’ve visited once, you’ll want to come back and visit time after time.  They have so much to offer the entire family.

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