This post was sponsored by Strasburg Railroad who provided us with tickets to make this article possible. We appreciate their support of Jersey Family Fun that allows us to share with families information about vacation destinations & day trips we think their family may enjoy.
More than Thomas? A train car with pinball machines?
While we still love Thomas the Train and want you to know he’ll be back in September and November with Percy, we also want to give you yet another reason to visit Strasburg Railroad. Kids grow up. Schedules get busy, but just because you can’t get to Thomas or your kids might not want to see Thomas doesn’t mean there’s not something for you to enjoy at Strasburg Railroad. In fact, there are so many ways to enjoy Lancaster’s best known railroad that you might find yourself wanting to visit Strasburg Railroad year-round.
On our most recent visit to Strasburg, we had a nice surprise that made our visit extra special. We knew the pinball train car was coming, but we had no idea we would get to see it, let alone go for a ride on it. It was such a wonderful opportunity that on this visit to Lancaster, we took two trips on the Strasburg Railroad, but with a different experience each time.
Our first Strasburg Railroad train car ride on Thursday was on the Open Air Car. I loved how during our 45 minute ride we still could experience what we loved about our rides with Thomas, the choo choo of the train, listening for the ghost whistle, seeing the picturesque landscape of Lancaster. With the Open Air Car though our views of the area were more majestic. We took some great pictures, me with my camera and the boys were their Vtech ActionCams. But we also learned more about the history of these particular trains. We sat in the Hello Dolly train car from the movie and we were able to watch the train car hitch up and unhitch from the engine. It was a relaxing way to start our latest family vacation to Lancaster.
Conductor Eric was so knowledgeable about the trains and so filled with excitement for the Pinball Pindolino car. When he invited us to come back for a ride the next day, there was no way the boys and I were going to say no. As luck would have it when we returned the next day to ride in Strasburg’s Railroad pinball car we had it all to ourselves.
Since it was still new, no tickets had been sold for our time slot. Imagine if you will … me and my boys having a train car filled with 12 pinball machines that we could play nonstop for the next 45 minutes as we rode the train. It was thrilling! I’ve always enjoyed pinball games. It was cool to see the collection that this collector had of vintage pinball games dating back to a time when a game was 10 cents and you pushed the trigger to launch the ball versus how we pull it today. If you think you’re a pro at pinball, I dare you to put your skills to the test as the train car speeds down the track with the occasional turns and bumps. Win or lose it will be fun.
I even found one pinball machine with a special connection to New Jersey. It had been autographed by a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. Little did I know the connection between this pinball train car and New Jersey was bigger than that. When I sat down to write this blog post, and studied the press release I learned something very interesting. All of these vintage pinball machines came from Steve Zuckerman, pinball collector and co-owner of Silver Ball Museum Arcade in Asbury Park, NJ. The museum has gained national attention for its impressive collection of more than 150 vintage pinball machines from the 1960’s and 70’s. I am embarrassed to say that I have not been there. I guess I better change that.
Take a look at our video to see what the pinball train car is like.
Strasburg Railroad’s Pinball Pindolino train car will only be available till September 6. I urge you, do not waste any time making your reservation and getting there. Pinball train car rides are only available during the weekends and are limited to 24 passengers per ride. There is seating for all 24. There are 12 pinball games that can be played and some can have up to 4 players per game. While on the train, quarters and dimes are not needed. Your ticket includes unlimited free play on the machines. Snacks can be included with your ticket for an additional charge. For the best information on pricing and the schedule please visit this page of the Strasburg Railroad site.
Year-round Activities at Strasburg Railroad
Ride the regular trains.
- Take a little ride on these fun trains as well. We did these activities again during this visit and my boys STILL loved them.
- Cranky Car Rides – hand-propelled cars, which date back to the 1930s, allow kids to crank their way around a track.
- Enjoy the Pint-sized Pufferbelly – It used to be called the Cagney, but now the ride has doubled in length. It weaves in and out around the station and is about 23 minutes long.
- Track Car Rides
- LO&S (motor car) Rides
- Pump Car Rides – Moms, dads, & some kids can pump a vintage Pump Car – with an attendant – along a short track. Younger kids, who don’t meet the height requirement to pump can stand on the cart. (Due to safety regulations, passengers must measure 48″ to the chin)
- Play on the train-inspired playground. There is a wooden train, slides, and other playground equipment so kids can play and parents relax.
- Shop for great souvenirs to bring back.
Have a great lunch at Strasburg.
- Buy a train ticket that includes lunch in the Dining Car.
- Stop by the Trackside Cafe (click over for our Trackside Cafe Review.)
- Pack a picnic lunch and take the train stop for the Leaman Picnic Grove or Groff’s Grove.
Special Events at Strasburg Railroad
- Day Out With Thomas
- Steampunk Unlimited
- The Great Train Robbery
- Easter Bunny Train
- Vintage Baseball Day
- National Train Day
- Heritage Day
- Santa’s Paradise Express
- The Night Before Christmas Train
To view our pictures from the Strasburg Railroad Pinball Car visit our Facebook Gallery. Here’s a small preview.
Our trip to Strasburg was just one of the stops on our latest visit to Lancaster. Read more about things to do with your family in Lancaster in our series.