Skip to Main Content

Parrish, Florida: Florida Railroad Museum

A 13 mile round-trip through Florida swamps, Spanish moss-festooned forests, and "you pick-em" fruit fields. No windows; you're right on top of the action. See the segregated Jim Crow car.

12210 83rd St., Parrish, FL
US Hwy 301 to Parrish. Entrance is on the east side of US Hwy 301, just north of its intersection with Hwy 62/Wauchula Rd.
Rides Sa-Su 11 AM, 2 PM (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $14.00
Save to My Sights

Visitor Tips and News About Florida Railroad Museum

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Florida Railroad Museum

This isn't a museum in the classic sense. The running train IS the museum. It's only open on certain days and times, so check the website. They also have specialty rides throughout the year.

[Cosmic_Adventurers, 11/29/2021]

Swamp train.

Florida Railroad Museum

This was not what I expected. I'd thought that a train ride on the Florida Railroad Museum cars would be eye-rollingly dull, fit only for children and train nuts, and at its worst hokey. It was none of these things. Quite the contrary, it was an enjoyable 90-minute excursion. In the small, rural community of Parrish, this collection of old rail cars, some still operational, some permanently stopped, is a real treat.

The ride itself, while only 6.5 miles, tootles along at 15 mph through Florida swamps, Spanish moss-festooned forests, and "you pick-em" fruit fields. We boarded through an air-conditioned restaurant car from the 1950s, and sat in a reconditioned baggage car on secondhand school bus seats. The windows were removed to afford al fresco contact with the countryside. No yellowed windows here! Don't expect a guided tour with a tour guide on a bullhorn, though. You can get information about these trains only by asking the all-volunteer staff. And they will go on about railroad history if you continue standing next to them. It was from them that we learned that the curiously-divided car ahead of us was a former Jim Crow car with separate partitions for blacks and whites, decommissioned after the Civil Rights era (The segregated water fountains had been removed).

The fourth car was a converted phosphate hopper that provides a bumpier ride than the others. The train traveled up to Willow, a ghost town that was formerly a prosperous sawmill town until the Great Depression. There are about a dozen train cars parked there, some being worked on. Back in Parrish, the parked cars are more presentable and include a Tropicana refrigerator car and a Pullman sleeper whose compartments still have their bed springs and cloth covers from 1948. Although a bit musty and in need of restoration, it's open to the public. There are also special events such as a "Murder Mystery Dinner Train" and "Hobo Saturday."

[Peter Bates, 04/15/2014]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Yellow SubmarineYellow Submarine, Palmetto, FL - 8 mi.
Citrus ManCitrus Man, Terra Ceia, FL - 9 mi.
Braden Castle RuinsBraden Castle Ruins, Bradenton, FL - 9 mi.
In the region:
Dinosaur World, Plant City, FL - 33 mi.

Latest Tips Across Roadside America

Catch up on the latest discoveries from the road.

Explore Thousands of Oddball Tourist Attractions!

Unique destinations in the U.S. and Canada are our special obsession. Use our attraction recommendation and maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Save Cool Vacation Destinations! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

Florida Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, Woodland Park, Colorado (Apr 15-21, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings