Group Information

Come One, Come All!

So much to see, so much to do, and lots more fun with a group! Schedule a school, homeschool, summer camp, civic or senior group tour for a day out at the museum! You can take a train ride around our 60-acre historic site; see antique cars and trucks, pieces of history in aviation – including a replica of the Wright Brothers flyer and the restoration of a Piedmont Airlines DC-3 airplane, and so much more! Enjoy activities and fun for all ages.

The museum offers a train ride pulled by a vintage diesel locomotive on select days during the year. The ride takes place entirely on the property of the 60-acre North Carolina Transportation Museum and offers a tour of the historic site by train. You’ll ride along and see the structures that were used to service Southern Railway’s steam locomotives when the Spencer Shops were in operation.  Train rides last approximately 25 minutes and are fun for all ages.

Train rides are available on the following days:

  • September-October: Friday and the following Thursdays in 2023: September 14 and October 19
    • No regular museum train ride on Day Out with Thomas ™ event days: September 22-24 and September 29-October 1
  • January-February: Saturday
  • March-May: Friday and the following Thursdays in 2024: March 21, April 18, and May 16
  • June-August: Friday through Sunday

A more detailed seasonal schedule of the train ride is available on the “Plan a Visit” and home pages of our website.

Groups may add on a turntable ride onto their museum admission for $1 per person.

  • Experience a ride on the 1924 turntable, the centerpiece of railroad operations at the largest remaining roundhouse in North America. The turntable was used to move steam locomotives to and from the 37-bay Bob Julian Roundhouse when they were brought in for maintenance and to turn them around between runs. Unlike diesel locomotives, steam locomotives were designed to pull trains in only one direction, making the turntable a necessary part of operations at railroad yards like Spencer.
  • Still in operation today, this Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark is used to position locomotives and rail cars for display and for use on the museum’s passenger trains. Take a spin as the turntable operator explains the history of this 100-foot long rotating bridge and its importance to the operation of Southern Railway’s Spencer Shops and today’s North Carolina Transportation Museum.

Picnic Shelters and tables are available.

School and Home School Groups:

Most school and home school group visits are self-guided tours where students will explore the history of transportation in the areas of railroading, automotive, trucking, and aviation. Scavenger hunts are available. Specialty guided tours may be available upon request.

Incorporate various sights and sounds at the museum into your lesson plans. The possibilities are endless! No matter what grade your students are, everyone can enjoy the museum and experience:

  • Learning about steam & diesel locomotives
  • Walking through a Railway Post Office car and Army Hospital railcar
  • Climbing into the cab of an Old Dominion semi-truck
  • Seeing an early steam-powered car, as well as an early electric car
  • Walking through a caboose and learn about railroad safety
  • Observing the work that is still being done on railcars in our restoration shop

In addition, the museum offers unique ways to provide interactive lessons to meet Grade 4’s North Carolina Social Studies Standard Course of Study (History Standard 4.H.1: Understand the role of various people, events, and ideas in shaping North Carolina). Some of them are listed below:

  • Walking around a replica of the Wright Brothers’ Flyer
  • Learning about and seeing the state’s Merci Car (WWI and WWII history)
  • Seeing various carriages and wagons while hearing about the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road
  • Discussing the creation and use of dugout canoes by indigenous people and early settlers of the state
  • Gaining an understanding of how technology caused the steam engine to be replaced by diesel electric
  • Appreciating the evolution of delivery vehicles

Plan for a minimum of 3 hours if your group is taking a train ride, and 2-2½ hours if visiting the exhibits only. This allows time for lunch, breaks, and to visit the museum’s Gift Station.

To Book a Group, Contact Meghan DeLapp at 980-305-6298
or meghan.delapp@dncr.nc.gov


Current Group Rates

To receive a group rate, you must have a minimum of 15 paying participants and pay in one transaction. Group rates are perfect for clubs, school tours, big families, and more. Group rates are not valid during special events. Group rates are subject to change.

AdmissionTrain Ride (can only be purchased with an admission ticket)Combination Ticket (admission and train ride)Turntable Ride
Senior (62+)/Military $4.50$4.50$9.00$1.00
Student (Ages 3 -17)$2.50$2.50$5.00$1.00

*This rate does not include sales tax. Group rates are not valid during special events.

Special events for school groups (special pricing may apply):

November 27 and December 4, 2023 – Polar Express School Group Days – SOLD OUT

March 7-8, 2024 – Wind & Wings: The Science of Flight

April 12, 2024 – Tractors & Trains

More detailed information about these programs can be found on the respective event pages on our website.

Educational virtual programming is available for school groups to learn about the Wright Brothers and their impact on North Carolina History, as well as The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road. Programs geared towards 3rd, 4th and 5th grade curriculums. To learn more, go to the “Virtual Programs” page of our website located under the “Learn” tab.


To Book a School or Homeschool Group Reservation, or to learn more about Educational Virtual Programming, Contact Meghan DeLapp at 980-305-6298 or meghan.delapp@dncr.nc.gov

Please note that the museum has shortened hours on days when THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is offered November 10-11, 17-19, 24-26, and December 1-3, 7-10, 12-23.

Museum Hours on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride days: Tuesdays-Saturdays 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Sundays 12-2:00 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
The regular day-time museum train will not be operating between October 30 and December 25.

The museum will close at 2:00 p.m. on days THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride operates, and all guests will be asked to leave so we are able to prepare for the event. Gates will reopen at 3:00 p.m. for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride event only, and museum exhibit buildings will be closed. When visiting with small children during the day, we encourage you to avoid the Bob Julian Roundhouse area because a key scene of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride performance takes place there… we want all of those who BELIEVE to be able to experience the magic during the event.