New train museum offers sneak peek ahead of grand opening
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Following a massive expansion, the TrainTastic Interactive Model Railroad Museum in Gulfport is about one week away from its grand opening.
Finishing touches are underway now with all construction expected to wrap up by Tuesday.
Team management invited WLOX for a sneak peek at the progress on Friday.
“First thing, when you walk in, you’re going to say, ‘Wow’. And the second thing is you’re not going to be able to see everything in one day, and you’re going to want to come back,” TrainTastic President Glenn Mueller said.
Mueller is an enthusiast himself who has collected model trains with his brother for about half a century.
The new museum is located just down the street from its former location on Pass Road, expanding from about 7,000 square feet to over 50,000.
“It will be the world’s largest collection of model railroads in the world, actually,” Mueller said. “But it goes beyond just the interactive things that we have with each layout. And it’s for kids of all ages: from zero to over 100.”
“We say this will be offerings for zero to 100 years of age children because it turns us all into young kids when we’re walking through the space,” CEO Cynthia Minton-Walker added.
Minton-Walker said state funding and two generous community members helped finance the $7-$10 million project.
“It is a community effort to bring this to the coast, but it’s the world’s largest,” she said. “Can you imagine that being in Gulfport?”
With over 20 model layouts, guests can expect interactive exhibits, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) demonstrations, classrooms, birthday party rooms, climbing structures, a real train to ride and much more.
The ideas started rolling about 2.5 years ago.
“We sat in a room in the middle of COVID with our masks on talking about, ‘What should this look like?’ and, ‘What would we have in it?’ And as you look around behind me, you start to see how some of those dreams have truly come to life,” Minton-Walker said.
“There’s been so many people working on this over the last five years, and now it’s all coming together,” Mueller said.
The new TrainTastic Interactive Model Railroad Museum opens to the public next Saturday at 10 a.m.
It’s located at 615 Pass Road in Gulfport.
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