Railroad Days is an annual celebration of all things train and track, and this year, all the fun will be happening in Council Bluffs! Celebrate CB's rich railroad heritage and place in history as historic Mile Zero for Union Pacific Railroad. There will be numerous train-themed activities and locations to visit between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 24, 2022.
The Union Pacific Railroad Museum, RailsWest Railroad Museum, Pottawattamie Arts, Culture and Entertainment (PACE), the Historic General Dodge House, and the Historic 100 Block of Council Bluffs are again teaming up to offer this annual event. Kids will be excited to ride the trollies to each participating location and to take part in numerous hands-on activities with interactive technology and exhibits that explore the vast world of the railroad!
Passes for the family event are $10 per group, which includes two adults and unlimited children under 18. An additional adult pass can be purchased for $5. Tickets may be purchased at the Union Pacific Museum through the day of the event. Tickets that were purchased in advance can be redeemed the day of the event at the Union Pacific Museum, where each person will receive a wristband that allows you unlimited rides on the trolleys and admission to both the RailsWest Railroad Museum and the Historic General Dodge House.
Railroad Days wrist bands also come with discounts and other benefits throughout Council Bluffs!
Ollie the Trolley will transport ticket holders to all venues from 9:00- 5:00 pm on September 24, 2022. The trolley will depart and arrive on Pearl Street in front of the Union Pacific Museum and will take visitors on the Council Bluffs loop to all venues.
Visitors will discover an extensive compilation of artifacts, photographs, documents, and equipment from more than 150 years of our nation's most ambitious endeavors – including constructing the transcontinental railroad and settling the West. Among the most popular museum exhibits are "America Travels by Rail," which celebrates the height of passenger travel; the Lincoln Collection, featuring artifacts from President Abraham Lincoln's rail car and funeral; and an exhibit that features the technology and innovation that sustain Union Pacific as a railroad industry leader.
New for 2022 explore the newest addition to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum’s roster of traveling exhibits, “Sun Valley and the Railroad,” exploring the railroad’s rich history with America’s first ski destination, then join us on the museum's lawn for outdoor activities featuring local partners and fun for all ages.
In 2021, NASA astronaut and pilot on the recent Crew 2 mission, McArthur Benkhen, a steam fan, asked to take an item representing UP’s 4014 or “Big Boy” steam locomotive to space as her personal item. Union Pacific steam operations presented her with a “Big Boy” challenge coin which she took on board the International Space Station for her 6-month mission in 2021. This coin returned to Earth and now resides in the Union Pacific Collection at the Union Pacific Museum. The special coin will be on display during Railroad Days and through December 2022.
PACE (Pottawattamie Arts, Culture, & Entertainment) is sharing a family-friendly experience with the Council Bluffs community, showcasing art activities, food, and art experiences during Railroad Days!
With interactive railroad-themed activities during Railroad Days, with hands-on offerings such as repairing trains, drawing futuristic trains, building trains from upcycled items, and so much more, there's plenty of fun to have for the entire family. Enjoy food in our McCormick's 1894 Bar made by our very own Chef Around the Block, and listen to live music with us by Matt Whipkey. Learn about the building's history in The Iowa West Venue Space from our resident ghost played by Richard Warner, a local historian at 2 p.m.
On the 4th floor in our Anne and John P. Nelson Gallery, you'll see our incredible New Masters exhibit presented by Kathleen Pyper, featuring 38 presenting artists. On permanent display is our Grant Wood Corn Room Murals. You'll also experience the world's first cartoon maze exhibit about the pandemic, this Covid Maze by Jeffrey Koterba will walk you through the timeline of the pandemic. After you tour the 4th-floor gallery, stop on down to the 3rd floor of the Hoff, where our five studio artists reside. Before you leave, ask about upcoming shows at our box office, and purchase your ticket for Aladdin Jr., presented by Chanticleer Children's Theater. The box office can also help you purchase any art you see throughout the building, or sign up for any upcoming classes and events hosted by PACE.
The RailsWest Railroad Museum, located in the historic Rock Island Depot, features displays and artifacts from the numerous rail lines that passed through Council Bluffs. Outside in the train yard, visitors are invited to climb aboard the old steam engines, walk through the Omaha Club Car that stopped in Council Bluffs, or imagine themselves riding along behind the train in the 1918 cupola style caboose, or in the 1967 bay window style caboose.
Railroad Day guests will be asked to begin their Dodge House experience at the Beresheim House, just south of the Dodge House. Here, guests will be able to enjoy a brand new orientation video, appreciate local history displays, two gift shops, and more. Next, guests will be able to rest in the shade and enjoy affordable bottled water, hotdogs, hamburgers, and chips. After guests have finished their food (no food allowed in the Dodge House museum), they will be engaged by Civil War educators, a Civil War Cannon, while enjoying music, and a tour of the Historic General Dodge House.
Come down to the Historic 100 Block of West Broadway for a variety of food and drink specials during Railroad Days!
Parking is available for Railroad Days attendees at the following locations:
Railroad Days is made possible thanks to the generous support of Union Pacific Railroad and a grant provided by the Iowa West Foundation.
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