A couple of weekends ago I took my kids on a “Daycation”. We headed to the St. Croix River valley and the town of Oceola, Wisconsin. One of the things I wanted my kids to experience was the historic train that operates out of the old station in town. The Osceola train ride was really a fun treat for my kids. It was fun for me too. Osceola is an easy drive from the Twin Cities. If you are coming to Minneapolis or St. Paul on vacation, make sure to see the St. Croix River Valley too. There is an interstate park that is maintained by both Minnesota an Wisconsin. The park has great scenery and is well worth the time you spend there.
Shown below is downtown Osceola. It is a great mix of bikers (see the Adventures of Harley Grandma on this blog for more about that), outdoor enthusiasts, and nice friendly people who simply enjoy summer.
Just out of town, there is the small train station that is run by the Minnesota Transportation Museum. From there you can take a ride on the historic Osceola train that was in service about 1915. It was brought up to Oceola by the Minnesota Transportation Museum and put back in service to provide a way to educate and entertain. How many of you have ridden on a train that is 100 years old or more?
It was very exciting for the kids to see the train parked at the station as we drove up. You enter this historic building and purchase your tickets just like you would have 100 years ago. Here’s a picture of Reagan with her ticket just after boarding.
The Osceola train begins its journey south on the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix Valley. After a short distance you will slow down and turn right to cross the river. This part of the St. Croix River is very popular with canoeists , kayakers, and fishermen so you will likely see some as you cross.
The train continues south to Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota. Once you arrive in Marine on St. Croix the engine will detach and drive by on a parallel track to connect to the other end of the train to start the trip back to Oceola. This creates a balcony on what is now the back of the train where you can stand and watch the scenery go by.