Railroad Days at Mile Zero will take place rain or shine! The majority of the events and activities are located indoors. Please dress for the weather and enjoy a day of celebrating the railroad in Council Bluffs.
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 23, 2023.
The Union Pacific Railroad Museum, RailsWest Railroad Museum, Pottawattamie Arts, Culture and Entertainment (PACE), the Historic General Dodge House, the Council Bluffs Public Library, The 712 Initiative, and the Historic 100 Block of Council Bluffs are 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 online. On the day of the event, you can purchase your ticket at the Union Pacific Museum, Historic General Dodge House, and RailsWest Railroad Museum. 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 wristbands also come with discounts and other benefits throughout Council Bluffs and the metro!
Ollie the Trolley will transport ticket holders to six trolley stops from 9:00- 5:00 pm on September 23, 2023. 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 the six venues. Shuttle route #2 will depart and arrive on Willow Ave in front of the Union Pacific Museum to take guests to the Golden Spike Monument.
All transportation is provided for your convenience, but you are able to walk/drive to destinations if desired.
Discover the fascinating history of law and order on the railroad in a new exhibit opening at the Union Pacific Museum. Discover the history of railroad police, how they developed, what makes their service different from city police, and why railroads still have police officers today! The exhibit is free and open to the public from September 23, 2023, through September 2024.
Special Railroad Days 2023 activities at the Union Pacific Museum also include:
PACE (Pottawattamie Arts, Culture, & Entertainment) is sharing a family-friendly experience with the Council Bluffs community, showcasing art activities and experiences during Railroad Days! The majority of their activities will take place outside in the parking lot.
PACE will be hosting interactive railroad-themed activities during Railroad Days, with hands-on offerings such as spin art and panning for gold. There's plenty of fun to have for the entire family! You'll see a reappearance of repairing your very own train and the railroad wagon logistics activity. N Scale Club will be making an appearance in our gallery space on the fourth floor!
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 40+ presenting artists. On permanent display is our Grant Wood Corn Room Murals. Please note that the gallery will be closing at 3 p.m. during Railroad Days for a private event. Before you leave, ask about our upcoming shows at our box office, and purchase your ticket for Oliver Jr. presented by the 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.
Visitors will begin their Dodge House experience at the Beresheim House, just south of the Dodge House. Here, you will enjoy an orientation video, appreciate local history displays, a gift shop, and more. Visitors are welcome to rest in the shade and enjoy affordable bottled water, hotdogs hamburgers, and chips served by the VFW Post 11355. You will be engaged by Civil War educators, a Civil War Cannon, and a step back in time to 1869 in the home of the greatest railroad builder of all time, General Grenville M. Dodge. As you stroll through the home of General Dodge, our tour guides are there to answer any questions you may have about the house, the family, and the man himself. The basement of the house has many displays and railroad and civil war artifacts.
Come down to the Historic 100 Block of West Broadway for a variety of food and drink specials during Railroad Days!
Come down to Gold Spike Park to see the UP 1979 "We Are ONE" locomotive! Union Pacific's "We Are ONE" Commemorative Locomotive debuted in 2021, celebrating UP's employment resource groups (ERG). No. 1979 is numbered for the year UP's first ERG, the Black Employee Network (BEN), was established.
Employees at the Jenks Locomotive Shop in North Little Rock, Arkansas, dedicated time and effort to prepare, paint, and decal the commemorative locomotive, designed by Corporate Communications and voted on by the ERGs. Don't miss your chance to see this stunning piece of equipment in person at the Golden Spike Monument!
Join the Council Bluffs Public Library for various railroad-themed activities for all ages! There will be an "N" Scale model trail from the Omaha N-Track Club on display in Meeting Room B from 9-5 Saturday, September 23, and 1:00-5:00 pm Sunday, September 24. In our Makerspace, we'll be doing demonstrations of 3D printing with a "take home" of a train engine on the second floor from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Teen Activities: (Grades 6-12)
Youth Activities: (Under 6th grade)
Add Bayliss Park to your list of stops during Council Bluffs Railroad Days. The whole family will have fun in the shade as The 712 Initiative presents Squirrel Junction Jamboree.
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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