We were meeting someone in Salisbury and needed something to do, and this was the perfect spot. When we showed up, we bought tickets for admission and for a train ride and started checking everything out. The NC Transportation Museum is a sprawling complex that used to be a huge train station. There are exhibits in several different buildings including a gift shop. We saw a room filled with antique cars, lots and lots of trains of all types and sizes, a room filled with history and information about flight including a replica of the Wright Brothers flyer, and a huge roundhouse complete with train, workshop rooms, and an actual working turntable. Our last activity was a ride on an actual train. Our boys loved looking at everything and had a ball.
What we liked: We loved all of the real trains and cars for us to look at. The roundhouse at the back was really neat to see, especially the turntable. Plus, the museum wasn't crowded at all, so at times we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.
They also have special events that are lots of fun. We headed down there when Day out with Thomas was passing through. They had lots of Thomas related activities including shaking hands with the one-and-only Sir Topham Hatt and an actual ride on "Thomas the Train". My son, who was really in to Thomas at that time had a ball. The next Day out with Thomas will be on September 29th of this year. You may want to buy tickets in advance if you plan on heading to that because it is pretty popular.
What we would change: The museum is BIG because it was an actual working train station. So, the boys had to walk quite a ways to get through all the exhibits. A stroller would be helpful. In addition, there wasn't a lot of signage so sometimes it was tricky to figure out where things were. The museum is about 1.5-2 hours away from Durham which is a long way, but if you're headed down to Charlotte or other points southward it can be a great stop on the way. It's only about 5 minutes off of I-85.
Website and other important information: http://www.nctrans.org/
Address: NC Transportation Museum, 411 S. Salisbury Ave., Spencer, NC 28159
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 9am-5pm, Sunday: 1pm-5pm (last train ride at 3pm)
Admission Prices: Adults $5, Children 3-12 $3, Children 2 and under FREE (That cost is double if you would like to take a train ride.)
(A view of the front of the museum)
(the train we rode)
(Some of the trains we saw)
(the replica of the Wright Brothers plane)