When my husband, daughter and I turned into the parking lot for the Fox River Trolley Museum, I was skeptical. It looked like a graveyard for unwanted, rusted-out train cars. But our visit was one of the most fun, unique family outings we’ve had in a while. Read on to find out why.
Name: Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin, an outdoor museum devoted to electric trolley cars and featuring a 4-mile round trip along the Fox River.
Location: Along Route 31 in South Elgin, on the west side of the Fox River. The address is 361 South LaFox Street, three blocks south of State Street in South Elgin. The museum is on the east side of the road and is marked by flags.
Hours: On Sundays from Mother’s Day through the first Sunday in November, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Saturdays from the last Saturday in June through Labor Day, from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. (The last trolley leaves about a half-hour before the museum closes.) Also open on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. See the “Special Events” section below for info on holiday-themed events in October and December. Check the museum visitor's guide for more details, too.
Amenities: The museum has a number of shaded picnic tables and a vending machine that sells cold soda. In the ticket office, there are a few candy treats available for purchase, as well as souvenirs. There is no running water at the site. There are two portable restrooms. The museum says that County Park, a few hundred yards northeast of the museum grounds, features restrooms with running water, but I was unable to check those out in person. The trolley trip makes a stop at the Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve, which features covered shelters with fire places and grills, as well as dry restrooms. Basically, don't forget your hand sanitizer.
Price: I suppose you could wander around the museum grounds for free, but the real highlight is the 4-mile round trip on a trolley along the banks of the Fox River. One ride for an adult on the trolley is $4. Seniors are $3. Children ages 3 through 11 are $2. Children 2 and under are free. If you’d like to ride the trolley twice, you can add just $1 to your ticket, but that decision has to be made when you make your initial purchase.