Boarding Trains At The N.C. Transportation Museum

Our destination was the N.C. Transportation Museum. There were many forms of transportation to learn about but the trains were our favorite. Johnny has a unique fascination with trains because his grandfather worked for CSX Railroad in Toledo, OH.

NC transportation museum
NC transportation museum

The museum address lists Spencer, NC as the destination but we saw numerous signs that read Salisbury. Funny thing about the city of Salisbury… I continue to pronounce it like the steak but I hear others saying “Saws-bury.” Lol! What say you?

The drive was over an hour from our home & luckily, there was very little traffic. We arrived just in time to board the last train ride of the day, 2:30 pm. The rides are 25 minutes long & there are only a few offered daily. You must have an admission ticket to board. Thank God we made it!

NC transportation museum
NC transportation museum


There’s no way to list everything we saw or the amount of information we consumed but high on our list is the 90,000 square foot Back Shop. It is truly enormous! Built in 1905, it took 2.5 million bricks & $483,000 to complete. That’s equivalent to millions of dollars today! There were cars, carriages, a bus, trucks, an airplane AND MORE inside. Unbelievable!

As we were heading out of the museum, one of the workers was kind enough to give us some backstory about the building’s restoration history. We learned the building sat dormant for decades. By the time any form of restoration began, trees were growing inside & various critters had made themselves at home. Right after the initial extensive roof replacement was done, Hurricane Hugo came through & destroyed it! Restoration was obviously continued at some point but the road to get there was full of challenges.

NC transportation museum
NC transportation museum
nc transportation museum
nc museums
nc museums

Engaging exhibits held our attention but our daughters (2 Peanut Butter Girls) were especially interested in the segregation history as it relates to the world of transportation. The separate but equal era was mind-boggling to them. While well aware of racism & discrimination in our country (past & present), they found it indescribably ridiculous that black & white people rode in separate cars & used separate restrooms on trains.

nc museums
nc museums
nc museums


The N.C. Transportation Museum has many events throughout the year. You’ll find everything from concerts & festivals to car shows, boot camps, & more. There are also Thomas the Train, Polar Express, & Girl/Boy Scouts events specifically for kids. If that wasn’t enough, you can also rent a caboose for birthday parties or rent other parts of the museum for special events. Get even more creative with a professional photo shoot! All information is found on the website or simply call to inquire.

N.C. Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Dr.
Spencer, NC 28159 (physical)

N.C. Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC 28159 (mailing)


Museum Hours

Tues-Sat 9-5pm, Sun 12-5pm


-Most of the exhibits are not air conditioned. We visited on a relatively cool day but be prepared for extreme humidity, etc inside of the buildings. We saw large fans but they weren’t operating on the day we visited.

-Restrooms are throughout the site. The one we used was inside of an air conditioned lounge with vending machines. It was the perfect break for the kids to cool off.

-There is a lot of walking. Wear comfortable shoes! Tennis shoes/Sneakers preferably.

-Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, & a hat/visor. If you visit on a cloudy day, have an umbrella or poncho available. There is plenty of outdoor walking between exhibits & to reach the parking lot.

-Bring water. There are water fountains to refill your bottles but they are spaced out.

-The site is great for photos so bring that camera!

-The gift shop has plenty to purchase including goodies like ice cream.

-Tickets to some events can be purchased right on site.

-Many places were handicap accessible with ramps, etc.

To see our train adventure, be sure to watch the latest vlog on our channel. You can also find many more of our explorations right here on the blog & on our social media platforms. Whether visiting another state or adding to our NC travels, we have a good time. We do our best to document so you can have a fun but informative virtual experience & plan your own visits. Join us!

More Photos…

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