Today I drove out to Ipswich with my family to visit the Workshops Rail Museum. My dad’s a train buff and my nephews are of the age where this stuff is still very cool.
A campus of the Queensland Museum, this huge facility is devoted to the history of Queensland Rail, so important to the state’s development in transporting people, animals, produce, raw materials, etc. The basic entry fee gets you into the main display areas showing how the rail system developed and rail technology progressed. A few dollars more gets you a one hour tour of the “Working Workshop”, touted as a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at maintaining the rail network.
I thought the museum was very good. The displays are nicely spaced with plenty of train engines and carriages to look at, and video stories and information boards to tell the stories behind the displays. There was also enough interactive displays to keep kids entertained. A ton of information to be soaked up in nice sized chunks.
Kids and school groups certainly make up the majority of the people that visit the museum, as evidenced by the mini hard hats, track worker flouro vests, and paper trainspotting binoculars the kids could colour in before they entered the museum. There was also a “Little Nippers” play area where kids could go nuts with train toys and take a break from all the history. I thought it was a great idea to have a place kids could let off some steam in the middle of a museum before getting stuck back into the exhibits.
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My brother made the comment that it was unusual (and refreshing) to see the gift shop and museum cafe/restaurant off to the side. You didn’t have to pass through either to leave the place and unless you were interested in buying something, you didn’t have to waste your time.
It was a good day out. We spent about 3 hours out there, but you could easily spend more if you enjoy trains and/or history. We did not take the tour, but I’m sure that is excellent too. I give this place a thumbs up.
For more info, opening times and prices, see the Workshops Rail Museum website.