Birthday Caboose

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Do members get a discount for the Birthday Caboose?

Yes, members receive a $25 discount on the rental of the Birthday Caboose. For more information about membership and its benefits, check out this webpage or contact Elaine Holden at elaine.holden@nctransportationmuseum.org or 704-464-4074.

What all is included in the rental?
  • 2 hours for the party in one of our historic cabooses
  • Two 25-minute train rides for 15 passengers per ride in an authentic vintage train caboose.
  • Birthday Caboose t-shirt for the birthday child.
How early can I board the caboose to decorate it?

The train will be at the Barber Junction Visitor Center 45 minutes prior to the start of your party. Once you check in with the staff at Barber Junction Visitor Center and receive your Birthday Caboose t-shirt voucher, you will be directed to the caboose to begin decorating and set-up for your Birthday party.

Is admission to the museum included in the Birthday Caboose rental?

Museum admission is not included in the caboose rental. For those who wish to visit the museum, tickets must be purchased at the Barber Junction Visitor Center upon arrival. Prices are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors (65+) and military with ID (limit one per ID), $4 for children (3-12), and free for children under 3. Members are free (limited by the number of people on your membership). NC sales tax will be added. Groups of 15 or more can enjoy group rates when all tickets are purchased by one person in a single transaction. For group rate prices, check out www.nctransportationmuseum.org/group-rates/ for details.

For groups larger than 15 who wish to ride the train at the same time, additional tickets can be purchased for the museum passenger train at the Barber Junction Visitor Center. Museum admission must be purchased before passenger train tickets can be purchased.

Can I have more than 15 people on the Caboose when the train is sitting at the depot?

While the caboose is stationary, you are welcome to have additional guests in the caboose.

If I have more than 15 people for the party, where do they ride?

If you have more than 15 people attending your party, you may choose to allow a portion of your group to ride in the caboose on the first ride, and the remainder to ride on the second ride.

If museum and train ride combination tickets are purchased for your additional guests, they will ride in one of the passenger cars in front of the caboose. There are no walk-throughs from car to car, but everyone can gather in the caboose when it is stationary between rides.

When should I have my guests arrive?

Your guests need to be in the boarding area near the caboose at least 10-12 minutes before the first train departure time.

Does the Birthday Caboose actually run on the train?

Yes, the caboose is part of the 25 minute train ride that tours the museum’s 60-acre site.

How many train rides are included with the Birthday Caboose rental?

You receive 2 train rides, so if you have more than 15 people (ages 3 and up) attending your party, you may choose to allow a portion of your group to ride in the caboose on the first ride, and the remainder to ride on the second ride. For groups larger than 15, who wish to ride the train at the same time, additional tickets can be purchased for the passenger train at the Barber Junction Visitor Center. Museum admission must be purchased before passenger train tickets can be purchased. There are no walk-throughs from car to car, but everyone can gather in the caboose when it is stationary between rides.

What kind of seating is available on the Birthday Caboose?

Guests are seated on the main level as well as in the cupola of the caboose.  The cupola is the upper level observation area of the caboose, and requires climbing up vertical stairs for access.

Are there any tables on the Birthday Caboose?

There is a serving area approximately 70”x 36”, as well as a small built desk approximately 24”x18”

Can I bring food and drinks to serve on the caboose?

Yes, you are welcome to bring food or have it delivered (use 1 Samuel Spencer Dr., Spencer, NC 28159 to Barber Junction Visitor Center as the delivery address), as well as any non-alcoholic beverages. Small coolers are also permitted on the caboose.

Can we set up a pop-up tent outside on the platform and have our party extend to this area?

Yes, pop-up tents, folding tables and chairs are permitted in a grassy area close to the end of the boarding area near the caboose. The museum also has picnic shelters and conference rooms which can be rented for an additional fee. For information and more details on these options, contact Mark Deaton at mark.deaton@ncdcr.gov or 980-305-6273.

What kind of decorations are allowed?

You may decorate the inside of the caboose with any type of temporary decoration other than glitter, confetti, or piñatas.

When do I get the t-shirt for the birthday child?

You will receive a voucher when you check-in at Barber Junction Visitor Center that can be redeemed for the t-shirt in the Gift Station.

Is the caboose handicapped accessible?

 The N.C. Transportation Museum cabooses are not wheelchair accessible due to the use of historic and antiquated rail passenger equipment, which is exempt from ADA regulations under US Code: Title 42: Section 12184. In order to board the caboose, riders must be able to climb steps onto and off the caboose. Infant and toddlers may be carried on the caboose by an adult.

Is the caboose heated?

Yes, it is heated.

Does the caboose have air-conditioning?

No, but the windows do open for cross-ventilation.

Will anyone besides my party be occupying the caboose?

There will be a museum host or train crew member on board the caboose for safety reasons and to answer questions as needed. That person may need to be inside the caboose or out on the loading platform of the caboose during operation. There may be times when the crew member is unavailable due to the need to carry out an operating duty while on board. We ask that you observe all safety requirements and take direction from the host or crew member in regards to safety. There will not be other museum visitors on your caboose during your birthday party.

Additional Questions?

Please contact Elaine Holden at elaine.holden@nctransportationmuseum.org or 704-464-4074.