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North Carolina Transportation Museum

411 S. Salisbury Ave., Spencer, NC
Category: Kids & Family
Award: Best Day Trip with Kids
Year Won: 2015
Pick: Editor's Pick

He comes every fall, his smiling face leading the way. Thomas the Tank Engine is the most famous thing on tracks this side of the Polar Express. Now seems like a good time to mention that the Polar Express comes through here, too, in late November and December, carrying hot chocolate and cookies and promising to take kids to the “North Pole.” There’s plenty more to make kids scream “All aboard!” throughout the year at the transportation museum, a one-of-a-kind facility about an hour north of Charlotte with dozens of rail cars and a 37-stall roundhouse that includes 25 locomotives, passenger cars, and rail equipment.