Mall at Steamtown has a very cool display of model trains and replicas of building around scranton. Trains are going places and carrying all kinds of containers. People are enjoying themselves on an ice skating rink. There is even a group of firefighters trying to extinguish a fire that broke out in a high story building. Although pretty small, the display is very cool for both adults and children, so do stop by and check it out.
This place is everything having to do with trains.
Pull out $10 and pay for entrance and parking to Steamtown. Be sure to pick up a map guide (at the visitor center) that shows all the features of the area.
Once in the national site, you have choices to see trains, ride trains, visit the museum, get involved with the current special project and take lots of pictures. You can stroll around for free but all the other activities have individual fees. (You can buy visitor passes from $30 to $50 per person depending on age and what you want to see/do).
There is a lot of walking (need good pair of shoes) and many of the activities do not have handicap access (a few do and are clearly designated at the entrance and the map guides). Be sure to remain in the safety walks and behind any barriers because some of the trains and exhibits are not meant to be climbed upon. Most of the sights remain open regardless of weather conditions so you must come prepared with umbrellas and sunscreen, jackets and water.... depending on the the weather and your tolerances.
See the website below for current exhibits and cost of individual train rides.
I am a Houdini fan from way back. I wish I could have seen him do his act live but then I would be much older than I am now so I guess I'll have to seetle for his movie films.
If you are not into Houdini or the impact he had on the fakes of his time and the future of the business of magic, then you won't care for this place. The building is not impressive (nothing like the fanfare of the "Ripley's Believe It Or Not") but the insides are filled with Houdini stuff.... wall to wall, several rooms worth. The building also is not handicap friendly and there are some stairs to climb.
After a short film on Houdini, doing some of his tricks, the host goes into a long spiel about the life and death of Harry Houdini. Then there is a demonstration of some of Houdini's better known tricks and escapes. And finally a tour of some rooms with his posters and artifacts and memoribilia. There is the gift shop where you can get magic gear and teeshirts and mugs and bumper stickers. We took about 2 hours to go through everything but less adoring individuals probably can hustle through in little over an hour.
Periodically they have live magic acts (none while we were there) with some of the famous present-day magicians.
You can even schedule a group tour or party to be held on the premises with special acts setup just to entertain your group.
The Electric City Trolley Museum is a museum dedicated to trolleys, which were one of the primary modes of transportation in many American cities in the early 1900s. The museum features a number of trolley cars that you can walk into, as well as a number of exhibits about trolleys and their history. It is located in Scranton next to Steamtown, and it is easy to do both museums in a single day.
Toyota Pavilion on Montage Mountain formally known as Montage Mountain Amphitheater started as a temporary facility located behind the ski lodge on Montage Mountain. In 1999, Lackawanna County built a permanent amphitheater further down the mountain. The new location has reserved seating for 7,000 people covered by the pavilion roof, with room for another 10,500 on the lawn.
Today this place hosts some of the most popular bands and artists, and I consider it one of the major points of interest, should a major concert be scheduled in time for your trip. The only draw back: the sound may be an issue, since the place is outside.There are plenty of places that sell snacks and drinks inside the arena, at prices somehow reasonable.
Steamtown is a museum located in Scranton's old railroad yards. The museum features a number of exhibits about railroads, focusing on steam-powered trains. In addition to the indoor museum, there are a number of trains, locomotives, and railcars on display out in the railyard, a number of which you can climb up into. About every hour or two, there is a short excursion offered on one of the vintage trains.
Ride a coal cart down into an actual (retired) coal mine! The tour cart descends 300 feet into a mine shaft. Great for kids and history buffs, a guided tour provides an idea of what it was like to work in the mines. Bring a jacket, even in the summer. Open April to November, 10:00-4:30.
The park, by the way, includes a nice walking path. When you enter the main park, climb the steps built into the hill. This is also the site for many local 5 kilometer footraces, including the local high school invitational races.
Located in downtown Scranton, this train station offers visitors a glimpse at the old coal train lines through a mini-museum and, depending on season, train excursion rides.
My personal favorite is the Fall Foliage tour which darts from Carbondale to Scranton with great views of the leaves changing for the season.
PLEASE CONTACT THE STATION FOR INFORMATION, TRAIN RIDES ARE SEASONAL AND SITE HOLDS ODD HOURS.
The giant coal furnaces are located just outside of the downtown near the Univeristy of Scranton.
A lovely website detailing the history of coal in Northeastern Pennsylvania can be found here:
There are sometime seasonal displays such as the decorated Christmas trees each from a different local school.
- Powerhouse or Substation - where electricity is converted from high voltage Alternating Current AC to Direct
Current DC. There are control panels with switches and meters.
- Display case of badges worn by the operators of the Scranton Trolley. They served as the drivers identification. Badges are a collectors item now.
- Restoration shop where cars are restored by volunteers and brought to this location for final installation.
- Children's room - can sit in an open trolley, pull the cord, ring the bell. Can build a miniature trolley line or take pictures with a coal breaker work gang.
- Trolley rides are available in the spring/summer months.
This display enables visitors to see how a trolley car is assembled and how it runs by entering the trolley and viewing the cut-away floor. One can view the 2 electric motors and air brake equipment. This trolley was double-ended which means it had controls at both ends. At the end of the line where there was no way to turn around the trolley, the motormen would flip the seats to face the other direction, take controls at the other end and run the trolley in the return direction. The trolley had enough room for about 30 standing and seated passengers each. It ran in Reading, PA unitl 1947.
Cars in the collection are moved into this room for public display. Not all the trolleys in the collection are in the museum but are stored in Philadelphia. I do not remember the details of this Philadelphia trolley.
It's bleak out but it was mid-December when I visited.
Once you pay your admission, you will be handed a 2-page self guided tour through the Trolley Museum.
I'd recommend viewing the 8 minute film about the history and development of the electric trolley car first as a good basis for the museum.
Two trolleys are displayed outside:
-The white trolley to the left was built in 1931 and ran on the Philadelphia & Western Railway, now known as SEPTA, between Upper Darby & Norristown, PA. At the time it was a state of the art design and was able to attain speeds of over 80 MPH.
-The Orange Trolley Car #401 was built by the St. Louis Car Company and had a long and productive career, retired by SEPTA in 1990.
A good place to start and become oriented with the park. Can pick up maps, view displays, and talk to park rangers. There are benches and restroom facilites. Large windows face the turntable and roundhouse. A theatre is next to the visitor center but I don't know what is shown there.
Features the people and history of steam railroading in the U.S. Displays include life on the railroad and the relationship between railroading and government/labor/business.
There are life size models of people that operated the railroad and those that rode.