Location: The entrance is on the main floor of Union Station, near the entrance to Science City. Union Station is at 30 West Pershing Road in Kansas City, Missouri, directly across the street from the Liberty Memorial.
Cost: Free! They do suggest a $2 donation per adult and a $1 donation per child, however.
Web site: http://www.unionstation.org/modelrailroadexperience.html
There are plexiglass barriers around each display that keep little hands from touching the trains and their environs. There’s tons of information on the walls of the exhibit space about different model scales for model railroads; it’s not accessible, however, because it’s only in print..
The kids’ play area.
There is a small children’s play area in the exhibit that has two train tables that kids can play with–one’s a Lego train, and the other is a Brio train. There’s also a stand where kids can make rubbings of different train types. This could be a good way for kids to feel different types of engines; however, there isn’t a step stool or other device to make it so that shorter kids can reach to make the rubbings (and I didn’t have quite the strength and dexterity to both hold Peanut up to make a rubbing and show him how to make the rubbing at the same time).
Peanut was enthused about one very large-scale model railroad; it takes up much of the back portion of the room. I think he was more enthused about this track because it was slightly better lit and was definitely larger and easier to see.
All in all, I’d say that the KC Model Railroad Experience is a sight to skip, unless your kiddo is a huge train fan. (There were character trains in some of the exhibits, including a Thomas the Tank Engine, for the little train fan.) Although it could be good for practicing tracking things at different distances (there are often multiple trains running in an exhibit, and they’re at different distances from the viewer), it’s so dark overall that it will be hard for VI children to appreciate.